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  1. #1
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    Default post-election Kenya

    NAKURU, Kenya — Kenya’s privileged tribe is on the run.
    By JEFFREY GETTLEMAN
    New York Times
    January 7, 2008

    Over the past few days, tens of thousands of Kikuyus, the tribe of Kenya’s president, have packed into heavily guarded buses to flee the western part of the country because of ethnic violence. On Sunday, endless convoys of buses — some with their windshields smashed by rocks — crawled across a landscape of scorched homes and empty farms.

    It is nothing short of a mass exodus. The tribe that has dominated business and politics in Kenya since independence in 1963 is now being chased off its land by machete-wielding mobs made up of members of other tribes furious about the Dec. 27 election, which Kenya’s president, Mwai Kibaki, won under dubious circumstances. In some places, Kikuyus have been hunted down with bows and arrows.

    ...

    The election — and the unresolved battle about who won — has ignited old tensions in Kenya, which in a week and a half has gone from being one of Africa’s most promising countries to another equatorial trouble zone.

  2. #2
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Default Letter from Kenya

    This an email I received from a Kenyan friend of mine:

    "Dear Carl,
    >> Greetings.Your perception about kenya was right.We had always embraced peace untill after the elections were rigged.
    >> In the past 6 days i have seen what i failed to see in Congo.
    >> I have witnessed people being hacked to death.Tribes turning against other tribes.
    >> I have witnessed mothers carrying their babies on thier backs being shot in cold blood.
    >> The GSU(general service unit) a faction of Kenya police has been shooting youngmen and ladies unselectively.
    >> The scenes that i have seen in the Kisumu provincial Hospital Morgue are indeed ugly and disturbing.The akwardly pilled dead bodies,the gunshot wounds in them and the stinking blood that had oozed from their bodies onto the morgues floor are indeed sad memories.
    >> I saw much more that i can not be able to expalin in email.
    >> The shopping malls too have not been spared,gas stations have been burned down,pharmacies and all buildings belonging to particular tribes are no more.
    >> The effects of clinging to power by barbaric means are indeed costing the african people.This act is robbing the africans thier democratic rights.its maiming their brothers and sisters.Their sons and fathers are being killed for defending their rights.
    >> Indeed poor governance in african countries is root cause of evil.
    >> Best Regards,"

    Perhaps this is bigger than the newspapers are letting on.

  3. #3
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    Perhaps this is bigger than the newspapers are letting on.
    There's a decent blog at Allafrica from locals and expats. Adds that typical missing element from news reports.

    Like many Kenyans I watched with disbelief as my country slide into violence in the past week. One thing that shocked everyone was the speed at which things escalated.

    If you had told anyone one week ago as they stood in those long lines to vote that just seven days later the country would reeling from being plunged into violence, supermarkets would be forced to shut and there would be long queues for basics such as bread...

    ...that a church with mainly women and children would be burnt to the ground killing around 30, most people would have thought you were mad.

    So what are people doing? One important thing to repeat is that no one expected this and therefore, understandably, no one had a contingency plan in place for the country going up in flames. However, once the shock subsided, Kenyans swung into action.

    However, there was one big problem, communication. The severe lack of mobile phone airtime vouchers meant that information could not flow up from the ground. Many of us in Nairobi and other urban areas were running around looking for airtime vouchers which we can send directly to another mobile phone enabling them to make calls and send text. Another problem was that as these CBOs are, as the name suggests, embedded in their community, many of them were caught up in the violence and were displaced themselves.
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    CSIS, 8 Jan 08: Kenya in Crisis
    .....The way out of the crisis will ultimately depend on Kenya’s political class recognizing what civil society and the diplomatic community has made clear—that Kenya is indeed at the proverbial fork in the road. One fork leads to continued chaos and the loss of much of what the country has gained since the reintroduction of multiparty politics in 1992, and especially since the end of the Moi regime in 2002. The other fork leads to the consolidation of democracy, renewed economic development, and the continued emergence of Kenya as arguably the most significant country in Africa after South Africa and possibly Nigeria. As the anchor state of the region of greater Eastern Africa, Kenya matters. A stable and prosperous Kenya raises the prospects for peace and development in Uganda, Rwanda, Eastern Congo, and southern Sudan. Kenyans are being tested to the limit by the current crisis, yet if a deal can be reached, including with minimal constitutional reforms, Kenyans may in 10 years look back on the events of the first week of January 2008 as the time when their country turned the corner and became an example for the rest of Africa.

  5. #5
    Council Member Barnsley's Avatar
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    Default Kenya in Crisis

    I have to disagree with the basic assertion that the crisis in Kenya is simply the result of tribalism and corrupt politics. They are key factors and precipitated the current social unrest. However, there are far more fundamental and intractable issues at play and we over-simplify the debate at our peril.

    I have read quite a few pieces on the crisis in the international media, particularly the NYT and WP. I have found them all wanting.

    I suggest a visit to Richard Dowden at the Royal African Society's website, http://www.royalafricansociety.org/

    But I have been most impressed by an excellent Op-Ed piece in 08 Jan The Nation, a Kenyan daily newspaper. It is at http://www.nationmedia.com/dailynati...&newsid=114132

    Like the author of the op-ed piece, Macharia Gaitho, I am not surprised at the crisis in Kenya, it's been a long time coming, but the factors have been in place for many years. What we are witnessing is a concatenation of events, most beyond the control of Kibaki, Odinga or any current leader. If anyone is interested to know on what authority I speak and to read my argument in its entirety, it is laid out at my overly-pretentious and painfully wordy blogsite Mars and Aesculapius, Kleptocracy in Crisis.

    I am happy to defend my position with anyone who reads this and takes issue with all or part.
    Last edited by Jedburgh; 01-22-2008 at 02:01 PM. Reason: Edited content, added link.

  6. #6
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Hey Barnsley,

    Quote Originally Posted by Barnsley View Post
    I have to disagree with the basic assertion that the crisis in Kenya is simply the result of tribalism and corrupt politics. They are key factors and precipitated the current social unrest...

    ...I am not surprised at the crisis in Kenya, it's been a long time coming, but the factors have been in place for many years. What we are witnessing is a concatenation of events, most beyond the control of Kibaki, Odinga or any current leader.
    Welcome to the SWC ! Thanks for the links and your versions. They will lend to broader discussions in the Africa thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Barnsley View Post
    If anyone is interested to know on what authority I speak and to read my argument in its entirety, it is laid out at my overly-pretentious and painfully wordy blogsite Mars and Aesculapius Kleptocracy in Crisis[/URL].
    Well..That's indeed a bold first post

    Taking a quick gander at your User Profile certainly leaves a lot in question. I'd recommend going here and introducing yourself versus asking Council Members to visit your blog. Perhaps once we've been sufficiently smothered in discussion, we'll gain an appreciation for your advice and experience.

    Regards, Stan
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  7. #7
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Default Out of tune

    Vernacular music has also been used to raise ethnic tensions.

    Nairobi: Inflammatory statements and songs broadcast on vernacular radio stations and at party rallies, text messages, emails, posters and leaflets have all contributed to post-electoral violence in Kenya, according to analysts.

    While the mainstream media, both English and Swahili, have been praised for their even-handedness, vernacular radio broadcasts have been of particular concern, given the role of Kigali's Radio-Télévision Libre des Mille Collines in inciting people to slaughter their neighbours in the Rwandan genocide of 1994.

    Handa heard Kalenjin callers on Kass FM making negative comments about other ethnic groups, who they call "settlers", in their traditional homeland, Rift Valley Province.

    "You hear cases of 'Let's reclaim our land. Let's reclaim our birthright'. Let's claim our land means you want to evict people [other ethnic communities] from the place," said Handa.

    ...references to the need for "people of the milk" to "cut grass" and complaints that the mongoose has come and "stolen our chicken" The Kalenjin call themselves people of the milk because they are pastoralists by tradition and the mongoose is a reference to Kikuyus who have bought land in Rift Valley...

    a caller emphasised the need to "get rid of weeds", which could be interpreted as a reference to non-Kalenjin ethnic groups.

    ...two Kikuyu stations, Kameme and Inooro, played songs "talking very badly about beasts from the west", a veiled reference to opposition leader Raila Odinga and his Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) colleagues, who come from western Kenya, said Handa. Radio Lake Victoria played a Luo-language song by DO Misiani, which referred to "the leadership of baboons".
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    Council Member Beelzebubalicious's Avatar
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    Jedburgh,

    Thanks for the explanation. Can you please also edit my posts to make me sound a bit more intelligent? I'd like to be a bit more Kissingeresque, but I'm afraid I'm a bit more like Muskie.

    In an attempt to get the thread back on topic, I would like to ask all of you what you do if you could design a project or intervention to address the conflict in Kenya. Where would you start? Reconciliation? Root causes of poverty? Political reform?

  9. #9
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Default The Rot in Kenya's Politics

    Quote Originally Posted by Beelzebubalicious View Post
    In an attempt to get the thread back on topic, I would like to ask all of you what you do if you could design a project or intervention to address the conflict in Kenya. Where would you start? Reconciliation? Root causes of poverty? Political reform?
    There's an interesting short publication by Anne Applebaum at the American Enterprise Institute regarding Kenya's problem and a potential fix. I don't agree with 'mere' bad politics being the sole problem while ignoring the myriad of tribal conflicts in the region over far less, and having watched aid programs with 'strings attached' makes me wonder what that would accomplish, if anything.

    What was most striking to me about the violence in Kenya in recent weeks was not how much the country resembles Rwanda but, rather, how much it resembles, say, Ukraine in 2004 or South Korea in the 1980s. Perhaps the real story here is not, as one headline had it, about "The Demons That Still Haunt Africa" but about how Africa is no different from anywhere else.

    As any student of revolution knows, popular uprisings generally take place not in the poorest countries but in those that have recently grown richer.

    Thus there is nothing mysterious about the anger or the unrest, nothing that requires more Live Aid concerts or global outpourings of emotion, nothing especially "African" about Kenya's problems at all. Kenya needs a cleaner, more democratic, more rule-abiding government; it needs to eliminate the licenses and regulations that create opportunities for bribery; it needs to apply the law equally to all citizens.

    The West can help Kenya change these things by encouraging these values through the nature of the aid it gives and the strings attached to that aid.

    Ultimately, though, Kenya's political elite will have to decide what kind of country they want their children to live in. Yes, there are cultural factors, and, yes, Kenya is unique, but in the end politics, not culture, lies at the heart of the country's current problems.
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  10. #10
    Council Member Beelzebubalicious's Avatar
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    Stan,

    Interesting connection between Kenya and Ukraine in 2004. The author writes "how Africa is no different than anywhere else". I understand her point, that on some surface levels, there are similarities (economic growth, corrupt government, election fraud, popular uprising). However, the Ukrainian revolution didn't break out into widespread violence. No question, the povery level and desperation is not comparable. And culturally and historically, there aren't too many similarities that I can point to.

    Other than saying that people of both countries are frustrated w/corrupt and inefficient governments (politicians), there isn't a lot else that's very similar.

    What's your perspective, having spent significant chunks of time in both Eastern Europe/NIS and Africa?

  11. #11
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beelzebubalicious View Post
    Stan,

    Interesting connection between Kenya and Ukraine in 2004. The author writes "how Africa is no different than anywhere else". I understand her point, that on some surface levels, there are similarities (economic growth, corrupt government, election fraud, popular uprising). However, the Ukrainian revolution didn't break out into widespread violence. No question, the povery level and desperation is not comparable. And culturally and historically, there aren't too many similarities that I can point to.

    Other than saying that people of both countries are frustrated w/corrupt and inefficient governments (politicians), there isn't a lot else that's very similar.

    What's your perspective, having spent significant chunks of time in both Eastern Europe/NIS and Africa?
    Eric,
    I’ll start by saying I like Anne’s “thinking out of the box” style and appreciate she’s been around Eastern Europe a long time as an investigative journalist. I don’t agree with her current train of thought, but decided to post it because of your unique position with USAID and physical location, and my background in Sub-Sahara.

    I agree, the similarities are shallow; social and political upheaval in Africa is little more than a daily occurrence. Estonia’s revolution was in fact a ‘singing revolution’ with no violence or political agenda whatsoever. Much like The Ukraine, Estonians just wanted the Soviets out and this has little to do with ‘on the edge of your seat’ tribal conflict and/or differences.

    There’s reference made to the violent uprising being seemingly preplanned because it “seemed as spontaneous as it was shocking, with machete-wielding mobs hacking people to death and burning women and children alive in a country that was celebrated as one of Africa’s most stable.” I think had the author been in Goma in 1994 for 40 days, she’d look at the 560 deaths as a mere drop in the bucket and would also better appreciate just how fast tribal related violence ‘fires up’.

    I was interested in your view regarding this ‘carrot’ with strings attached approach. It has never worked with any great success when greed and corruption come into play. Why would it then work so much better in Kenya ?
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  12. #12
    Council Member franksforum's Avatar
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    Default Kenya: A political & economic profile

    This note outlines the main political developments in Kenya in recent years, and briefly surveys available economic and development indicators. This note will not automatically be updated, but to request an update, please contact one of the authors.

    http://www.parliament.uk/commons/lib...snep-04895.pdf

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    IPI, 12 Oct 11: Termites at Work: Transnational Organized Crime and State Erosion in Kenya

    The threat posed by organized crime is not confined to serious crimes such as racketeering, the global drug trade, or human trafficking. For many developing countries and fragile states, powerful transnational criminal networks constitute a direct threat to the state itself, not through open confrontation but by penetrating state institutions through bribery and corruption and by subverting or undermining them from within. This paper examines whether Kenya faces such a threat.

    Governments that lack the capacity to counter such penetration, or that acquiesce in it, run the risk of becoming criminalized or “captured” states. The research findings do not justify Kenya being labeled a criminalized state, but its foundations are under attack. Determined interventions are required to stem organized criminal networks from further undermining the state.

    Six categories of transnational organized crime are examined, pointing to significant increases in criminal activity with pervasive impacts on government institutions in Kenya. Rampant corruption in the police, judiciary, and other state institutions has facilitated criminal networks’ penetration of political institutions.

    The paper concludes with recommendations for steps to be taken at the national, regional, and international levels.

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Al-Qaeda –Mombasa Attacks 28 November 2002

    This AQ attack pre-dates SWC's debut, on a search there was no match for Mombasa, so this Israeli publication maybe useful:http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/mal...f/gj_ef007.pdf

    Publication appears to have followed the death in Somalia of Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, the head of AQ in East Africa; there are various sections, including the investigation into AQ communications and a strategic commentary.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 06-17-2011 at 09:53 AM.
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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Kenya: a small war simmers

    As much as the civil war in Somalia impacts Kenya, notably the Northern Frontier District, there is a need for a separate thread.

    Link to the non-piracy Somali thread:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=8468

    From which half a dozen posts have been copied across to this thread.

    Kenya has it's own problems, which were touched upon in older threads, notably after an election:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=4686

    The catalyst for starting this is a BBC report on an IED attack on a police patrol in a Somali refugee camp:
    The camp houses about 450,000 people who have fled famine and conflict in Somalia.
    The report implies Kenya is aware of the simmering pot the camp is:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-16247634

    Not to overlook that Kenya is receptive to facilitating the presence of US & UK military, partly for training and taking action in Somalia.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 12-20-2011 at 05:31 PM.
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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Rustlers in The Rift Valley kill 42 plus police officers

    A short BBC report on:
    At least 42 officers were killed when cattle rustlers ambushed police...The attackers used sophisticated weapons such as anti-personnel bombs and rocket-propelled grenades....This is the most deadly attack on the police in Kenya's history.
    Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-20294747
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    Default Kenya (catch all)

    Moderator's Note

    See Post 6 for an explanation why a new thread, in summary: As much as the civil war in Somalia impacts Kenya, notably the Northern Frontier District, there is a need for a separate thread (ends).


    Second grenade attack in Nairobi in as many days, Al Shabab sticking to their word it would seem. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/...79N5W220111024
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 11-28-2014 at 12:59 PM. Reason: Add Mod's note

  18. #18
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    Default Small war grows across and within Kenya's borders

    I know the taking of European hostages got attention here for a short time and last week's Kenyan military incursion too. The linked article gives IMHO a wider viewpoint - mainly affecting Kenya - and helps to understand what is going on. It starts with:
    ..A fractious mix of violence and politics is unsettling the relationship between east African neighbours and putting more pressure on Somalis living in Kenya. The Somali militia group known as al-Shabaab is often viewed as the source of the problem. But the roots of the turmoil go deep in Kenya's own history..
    Link:http://www.opendemocracy.net/daniel-...ape-of-tension
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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Light fuse and walk away?

    I know Kenya has had a close relationship with Israel, which was very clear after the Entebbe Raid and when a few years ago a SAM was fired at an Israeli charter flight, full of tourists from an Indian Ocean resort.

    Now there's this single strand reporting, which is almost a gift to Al-Shabab:
    Kenya's prime minister is seeking Israel's support in stopping reprisal terror attacks by an al-Qaida-linked militant group Kenyan troops are pursuing in Somalia.... for assistance in building the capacity of the Kenyan police to deal with attacks by al-Shabab militants....but al-Shabab could view Kenya's request as a provocation.
    Link:http://abcnews.go.com/International/...1#.TsF-4D0Uqsp
    davidbfpo

  20. #20
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    Default The most thrilling terrain for a war — or for a safari

    Aidan Hartley, a Kenyan farmer - near the Somali badlands - and journalist has written a short article on the terrain facing the Kenyan Army incursion, plus supporters:http://www.spectator.co.uk/columnist...ild-life.thtml

    He opens with:
    I am proud of Kenya for taking on Muslim extremists in southern Somalia. Rather wisely, the Kenyan military has so far prevented hacks from reaching the field. But for anybody in the outside world who cares, this is not a new battle. Operations against Somalis of varying types of fanaticism have been mounted since the 1960s.
    davidbfpo

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