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Unga Rev
October 10, 2012 4:41 AM   Subscribe

Kenya has another election coming next year, the first under their new constitution, and since the last one in 2007 was followed by violence that left hundreds dead, and hundreds of thousands displaced (many of whom remain so today).

In a country where massacres are still a somewhat regular occurrence over issues like grazing vs. farming lands, the majority of people still live on less than a dollar a day.

Not so with the political elite, who pay themselves better than any other country's politicians (by a factor of 6, as a ratio of their country's GDP). The Ministers of Parliament recently voted themselves a hefty bonus on top of their tax-free salary, and people are not happy. Kenya's government is already propped up by hundreds of millions of USD in foreign aid, in a country where corruption is rampant. Activists are finding creative new ways to voice their opinion as the next election looms, but many are expecting a return to the violence of 2007-8.
posted by allkindsoftime (5 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Thanks for this, allkindsoftime. You should write for CSM.
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:34 AM on October 10, 2012


Kenya's government is already propped up by hundreds of millions of USD in foreign aid

Wikipedia estimates Kenya's GDP in 2011 at USD 34 billion. The idea that so large an economy is "propped up" by a few hundred million dollars of foreign aid seems deeply prejudiced.

If those overpaid Kenyan politicians can talk the US or any other country into parting with hundreds of million of dollars of unneeded "foreign aid" for Kenya maybe they are indeed worth those bonuses?
posted by three blind mice at 7:15 AM on October 10, 2012


The idea that so large an economy is "propped up" by a few hundred million dollars of foreign aid seems deeply prejudiced.

Just to be clear, that's Al Jazeera quoting "official figures" (read the last line of the article I linked to above), not my editorializing. Also in the vein of clarity, they said its the government that is propped up, not the economy.

Although, there are hundreds of millions of dollars in aid money pouring into Kenya from private NGOs and the UN orgs alone, so there is some argument to be made that its having some effect, positive or negative, on the economy, based on the facts of the matter. Whether or not you like the term propped up is the debatable part, the flow of money is just the facts.
posted by allkindsoftime at 8:19 AM on October 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Kenya's government is already propped up by hundreds of millions of USD in foreign aid

Just wait 'til the Birthers get their hands on this
posted by chavenet at 9:03 AM on October 10, 2012


Yah, I'm in Western Kenya for on a Fulbright this year, and will (depending on circumstances) be around for the elections. Should be interesting.

We're just finishing the student elections today at the university; lots of REALLY LOUD campaigning over the last couple days, with some of the best-printed posters I've seen since getting here. For student government elections. Apparently, the campaigns are funded by the local MP's, who then use the student leaders to turn out votes for the regional elections. So students are being brought into the patrongage system of politics from very early on. Even crazier, apparently this is now extending to secondary schools: student class reps are now (by law) supposed to be elected positions. One of my friends who teaches secondary school says that the teachers are resorting to rigging votes to keep miscreant students from becoming class leaders...
posted by kaibutsu at 7:01 AM on October 11, 2012


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