Kenya: it hasn’t gone away

I have avoided blogging on Kenya for a while. I was hoping to blog some sort of possible solution and analyse it. Thus far, however, none has been forthcoming. There have been a series of negotiations between the President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga. The bones of an agreement seem to be there with power sharing and Mr. Odinga becoming Prime Minister. The failure to agree is complex problem. One problem is that the post of PM does not exist in the Kenyan constitution and Odinga is concerned that unless the constitution is amended he will be dumped at a later date by Kibaki (as has happened before).The talks have been suspended by the chief mediator Kofi Annan but he appears to feel that there are other ways forward. Dr. Condoleeza Rice the US Secretary of State has accused both sides of a lack of leadership and other African leaders have been applying pressure to conclude an agreement. Although the violence has subsided and Kenya has been troubled by violence on a somewhat smaller scale previously; normality has not been restored with major social and financial implications.

The best analysis of the problems I have found is here from Wachira Maina though I will not pretend to know his personal political position; it seems a fairly balanced analysis of the outstanding problems.

I hope the next time I blog on Kenya it will be happier news (Deus Volens).

  • lololololol

    A tuv solution lol send in the B Specials.True democrasy is the solution for this country as it is for any country.Oh and by the way Turgon/TUV a large dose of acceptance about the past recent and distant and a will for ALL to work togeather to achieve that.Its a tall order and they might not be everyones choise but if Ian an Martin can do it we all can.

  • Greenflag

    ‘The talks have been suspended by the chief mediator Kofi Annan but he appears to feel that there are other ways forward.’

    And Annan appears to have done the business. The Kenyans have apparently eschewed the Northern Ireland tribal approach to finding a political solution. Apparently 40 years of farting around with agreements that disagree and talks about talks etc etc and collapsing and recollapsing Assemblies is not the Kenyan style .

    Perhaps the DUP/TUV/UUP/SF/SDLP etc could send out a delegation to learn from the Kenyans ?

    Surely what made the Kikiyu President change his mind had nothing to do with the likely prospect of having a tribal opponent President Obama in the White House ?

    Anyway fingers crossed for Kenya – As for NI lets face it -unless you chaps get back to a decent daily body bag count nobody outside this island and even many on this island would as soon just assume yiz have all gone away 🙂 O happy day !

  • Jo

    Solution a or b?

    a – divide up responsibilities between the factions and produce a new political position to involve democratically elected representatives.

    Result: The saving of hundreds of lives.

    b – given the violence, irrespective of where it came from, declare that there can be no truck with terrorists, intern without trial, arrest political leaders and put the military on high alert.

    Result: the above solution at a is postponed for decades with an intervening war and thousands of deaths.

    Which would you go for?

  • Greenflag

    ‘Which would you go for?’

    If one had the foresight obviously solution a). In hindsight most people would also choose solution a) .

    In real life the ‘dividing up of responsibilities’ is easier said than done . In some cases such as the former Yugoslavia with perhaps 10 ethnic/cultural/religious groups it proved to be impossible.

    Could solution a) have worked in Northern Ireland ? An attempt was made at Sunningdale but failed for many reasons the most important one being a large majority of the Unionist population refused to countenance SDLP ‘extremists’ such as John Hume , Austin Curries and Paddy Devlin as Government Ministers . Now they ‘accept’ an SF Deputy First Minister? The jury is still out IMO on whether the present accomodation will last beyond Paisley’s term of office.

    Northern Ireland may well be more of a Yugoslavia than a Kenya . And it’s early days still in Kenya. We probably won’t know for a year or so whether the planned reforms make an impact with Kenya’s disadvantaged minority groups .

    The good news is that the Irish Government has now recognised Kosovo as a separate State while commisserated with Serbia over the ‘pain’ /loss of their ‘fifth field’ but has also urged both countries to cooperate together in seeking EU membership .

    Those Ulster Unionists of the TUV variety might yet take comfort from Mr Ahern’s ‘Kosovo’ decision as they contemplate an ‘independent ‘ smaller Unionist State in East Ulster . For surely that has to be the logical outcome of their ‘opposition’ to the current accomodation.?

  • Jo

    It might indeed. It’d be honest of them to adopt that as a policy line.

    I should think it would be unsuccessful at winning wide support…when in history did a small geographically concentrated minority ever manage to frustrate HM Government and the democratically expressed wishes majority of people on the island of Ireland….? 😉

  • Greenflag

    ‘when in history did a small geographically concentrated minority ever manage to frustrate HM Government and the democratically expressed wishes majority of people on the islands of Britain and Ireland….? 😉 ‘

    With a minor 🙂 alteration in the question I can double the answer to your question.

    Twice .

    ‘It’d be honest of them to adopt that as a policy line.’

    When you start expecting ‘honesty’ from politicians it may be time to also expect the arrival of Santa Claus with his full retinue of elves and reindeer on Dec 25th.

    I’ve been reading Henry Patterson’s ‘Ireland since 1939 ‘and must admit that for people south of the border it’s probably one of the best of recent books which gives IMO an ‘unbiased’ insight into recent Unionist political history . He also details the economic history of both States since Partition in a fair and balanced way . I’d recommend it as required reading for all those who may be interested in how Unionism in NI has ‘developed’ since 1939 . Patterson brings out the ‘myth’ of Unionist ‘unity’ and also throws light on the class differences within the Unionist community and the conditions under which those differences emerged .

    One of the themes which should find sme resonance in today’s NI is that as the threat of anti partition violence recedes Unionsm tends to fracture along class lines and a rural urban split with the Belfast suburbs and North Down differentiating from the rural areas west of the Bann .

  • Greenflag

    BTW – The Kenyan ‘solution’ has to be seen as a major diplomatic success for Kofi Annan .

    For those interested in an optimistic view of Africa’s future I’d recommend David Lamb’s book ‘The Africans ‘ .Written in the early to mid 80’s Lamb has some good insights on the continent . His chapter’s on Kenya and on Zimbabwe is worth a read if for nothing else than to show how quickly hope can be replaced with despair .

    Paul Theroux’s ‘Dark Star’ looks at the continent from the viewpoint of someone who was a Kennedy Peace Corps volunteer in the 60’s in Uganda and who returns 40 years later to see how Africa’s new governments have made use ‘developmental’ aid .