Staying the Course: Post-Election Kenyan Politics

By Hirji, Zehra | Harvard International Review, Fall 2008 | Go to article overview

Staying the Course: Post-Election Kenyan Politics


Hirji, Zehra, Harvard International Review


After a shocking month of bloodletting that erupted in the wake of the December 2007 elections, Kenya appears to have recovered well. A new coalition government now represents both sides in the poll dispute. Meanwhile, safari-goers have returned in droves to East Africa's tourism mecca, gazing at gazelles just miles from the sites of January's murders and gang-rapes. But the peace may be just a veneer--a temporary solution that fails to resolve the underlying issues of political competition and corruption. Kenya has achieved stability by mutually bribing its leaders, an arrangement that has led to the most expensive government in national history. And its political class--the same corrupt bunch who have been in power for decades--do not seem to have learned any lessons from the recent crisis. Now out of the international spotlight, Kenya has returned to its old, increasingly unacceptable politics.

Indeed, Kenya's current government is a reprise of the group that won elections in 2002 under the banner of the National Alliance Rainbow Coalition, liberating the country from 24 years of dictatorial rule under Daniel Arap Moi. Then, current president Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga united in an attempt to defeat Moi's successor, signing a memorandum of understanding that gave Kibaki the presidency and Odinga the prime ministry. But Kibaki marginalized Odinga after the elections, stacking the cabinet with allies and consolidating power in the presidency.

Kibaki and Odinga next met in 2007, as rivals contesting the presidential elections. Exit polling gave Odinga a sizable lead, but the official tallies--which were disputed by independent observers--handed victory to Kibaki. Odinga protested, and the resulting violence between his Luo tribesmen and Kibaki's Kiduyu filled television screens around the world. Only in late February did the two sides, led in negotiations by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, agree to a power-sharing agreement. As in 2002, Kibaki would remain president, and Odinga would fill the newly-created position of Prime Minister. Unlike the previous election, however, Kibaki has kept to his word, and political disagreement has been muffled by a huge expansion in government privileges. The cabinet ballooned to a record-high 93 ministers, and government officials enjoy an untaxed salary of US$10,000 per month. It is an uncomfortable peace, with squabbles on everything from constitutional reform to speaking privileges--but so far it has held.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Unfortunately, Kenya's poor have reaped little from the reconciliation of their politicians. Kenya is one of the ten most unequal countries in the world, with a small coterie of crony capitalists growing wealthy on tourism revenues derived from Kenya's long-term stability and its status as the "pride of Africa." Meanwhile, poor Kenyans of all ethnicities are crowded into the filthy, dangerous slums of Nairobi, or the neglected outer provinces of the country. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Staying the Course: Post-Election Kenyan Politics
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.