Political Science

Michigan Academician, Spring 2001 | Go to article overview

Political Science


Vital Partnerships Between Government and Nongovernmental Organizations in Kenya. Jennifer Gibson, Alma College, Department of Political Science, Alma, MI 48801; oogiie@aol.com

The HIV/AIDS virus is spreading unchecked throughout the developing world, putting an unbearable burden on these already poverty-stricken countries. The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) estimates that there are over 34.3 million people worldwide living with HIV, 24.5 million of whom live in subSaharan Africa. There, where 14 million people have already died from the disease, AIDS now kills ten times more people a year than war. In Kenya, 13.95% of the adult population (ages 15-49) is living with HIV/AIDS and an estimated 180,000 died from the disease in 1999 alone. Life expectancy at birth in Kenya has dropped to 52 and is expected to drop even lower in the coming years. This paper examines grassroots efforts to address the spread of HIV/AIDS within Kenya, with particular emphasis on strategic partnerships between the government and grassroots organizations within Kenya. It first examines the numerous cultural and societal stigmas present in Kenyan society and assesses the success of vario us initiatives aimed at combating them. The paper then analyzes the need for and effectiveness of partnerships between the government and NGOs and sets forth several principles that are fundamental to the success of these partnerships. Finally, the paper examines the Kenyan government's strategic national plan to fight HIV/AIDS and assesses the obstacles to implementing the plan's objectives.

A Broader Perspective on Freshmen Reelection in the House of Representatives. Jeffrey L. Bernstein, Eastern Michigan University, Department of Political Science, 601 Pray Harrold Hall, Ypsilanti, MI 48197; jbernstein@online.emich.edu

Following the 1994 House elections, Newt Gingrich used a new strategy of assigning first-term Republican House members to prestigious committees. Moreover, in another departure from tradition, Gingrich put the most electorally vulnerable freshmen on these exclusive committees. His goal in doing so was to maximize their fundraising and therefore improve their odds of winning reelection. In this paper, I will provide a broader examination of freshmen reelection to the House. For example, conventional wisdom holds that the "Watergate babies" of 1974 were reelected in large numbers because they avoided national issues and concentrated on cultivating their districts. It also holds that the freshmen Republicans elected along with Ronald Reagan in 1980 did poorly because they viewed themselves as Reagan revolutionaries and did not service their districts as assiduously. These individual-year case studies are valuable, but a more general theory and explanation is sorely needed. Given the critical role freshmen playe d in the 104th Congress and the extreme importance that is often tied to their reelection, it is important that we examine more broadly the dynamics of freshmen reelection to the U.S. House. This paper will examine freshmen reelection to Congress since 1974 and attempt to form general theories of the determinants of freshmen reelection, both at the individual and class levels.

Making Courts Efficient: Rethinking Michigan's Trial Court Consolidation Experiment. James P. Hill, Central Michigan University, Department of Political Science, Mount Pleasant, MI 48859; 517/774-7415

In 1999, the National Center for State Courts (NCSC), a well known court evaluation organization, issued a seven-volume final report positively evaluating the results of six Michigan trial court consolidation projects covering a two-year period from 1996-1998. This report became the primary justification for the Michigan legislature's recent approval of expansion of this demonstration program, with the apparent goal of consolidating trial courts throughout the state. …

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