Kenya’s decline and fall

The streets are no longer burning, but smouldering corruption at every level of government threatens to rip the country apart. Once the pride of East Africa, it has now been judged a failure of a state, writes Daniel Howden.

More than 1,500 people died in violence which took the world by surprise when it broke out last year after Raila Odinga won the Kenyan election.

More than 1,500 people died in violence which took the world by surprise when it broke out last year after Raila Odinga won the Kenyan election.

Eighteen months after East Africa’s island of stability was brought to the brink of civil war by the fallout from a stolen election, there is a temptation to assume that if the country is not burning, it must be healing. That would be wrong, according to the annual index of failed states, issued yesterday, which put Kenya in the critically failed group, one place below Burma.

The appearance at 14th in the respected rankings compiled by the US-based Fund for Peace has shocked some in Nairobi but others are clear where the failures lie. “If a state exists to provide security, maintain its borders, provide food and a system of arbitration, then you can make the case that Kenya doesn’t do those things,” says Mr Mwalimu Mati of the Mars Group.

Read more of this story from the Independent newspaper (UK) >>

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2 Responses

  1. Just below Burma! Whoever thought we would sink so low. As for corruption, Kenya has always been full of corruption; but looking back now, the Kenyatta years were the best and truly great. Compared to now, it was so easy.

  2. Kenya is inexorably heading the way of Somalia. The biggest disaster to befall Kenya was the alliance between former KANU politicians and Mr Raila Odinga for the purpose of regaining power. The corrupt KANU elite was sanitised by associating with Mr Odinga but they also grafted their disrespect to the rule of law to Mr Odinga. The fact is poor people were then encouraged to attack other poor people just because they were a different group in the name of protesting electoral theft. These masses on both sides saw state failure that was largely due to the security forces being overwhelmed by the scale of the violence as well as partisan actions by elements of the securty forces where they clearly failed to protect victims. Bottomline is currently there is a sense that the government can not protect you or your property. Militias are now becoming the local answer to this void. What many casual observers in Kenya fail to notice is the growth of such groups like Mungiki that are gradually gaining a hold of the Nairobi, Central and Nakuru areas amongst the Kikuyu people. In my opinion this is the greatest threat to the Kenyan state as it exists today. The answer lies in reaffirming the rule of law for all and ensuring that crimminal actions disgused as elecoral protests, revenge attacks etc are punished and the perpetrators are seen to be held accountable. With that the raison d’etre of these militias will cease to exist and state instituions will regin the confidence of the masses.

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