Tag Archives: kleptocracy

Lessons and Reasons for Kenya’s governance missteps


The Kenya state is under the greatest threat of becoming undone because of lack of resolute leadership since independence of replacing the colonial legacy of corruption and tribalism with national values that benefit all.

The reason why democracy has failed to stop rampant corruption and tribalism in Kenya can be traced to lack of National values. If you look at countries like Botswana, Mauritius and South Africa that have successful democracies and economies since independence you will realize that the founding presidents made  conscious decision to promote national values. In Botswana  President Khama grew up in a family of  Chiefs . This experience helped the president in ruling. Here is how Foreign policy magazine illustrated this.

It is Botswana’s history of visionary leadership, especially in the years following independence, that best explains its success. Sir Seretse Khama, Botswana’s founding president, came from a family of Bamangwato chiefs well regarded for their benevolence and integrity. When Khama founded the Botswana Democratic Party in 1961 and led his country to independence, he was already dedicated to the principles of deliberative democracy and market economy that would allow his young country to flourish. Modest, unostentatious as a leader, and a genuine believer in popular rule, Khama forged a participatory and law-respecting political culture that has endured under his successors, Sir Ketumile Masire and Festus Mogae.

Although operating in very different circumstances, Mauritius’ first leader, Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, held to the same leadership codes as Khama. Ramgoolam gave Mauritius a robust democratic beginning, which has been sustained by a series of wise successors from different backgrounds and parties. Both Khama and Ramgoolam could have emulated many of their contemporaries by establishing strong, single-man, kleptocratic regimes. But they refused to do so.

Effective leadership has proved the decisive factor in South Africa, too: without Nelson Mandela’s inclusive and visionary leadership, his adherence to the rule of law, his insistence on broadening the delivery of essential services, and his emphasis on moving from a command economy toward a market-driven one, South Africa would probably have emerged from apartheid as a far more fractured and autocratic state than it did.

Too few African leaders have followed the examples of Mandela, Khama, and Ramgoolam. Ghana, Lesotho, Mali, and Senegal are all showing promise. But in many other African countries, leaders have begun their presidential careers as democrats only to end up, a term or two later, as corrupt autocrats: Bakili Muluzi of Malawi, Moi of Kenya, and, most dramatically of all, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. Other leaders, such as Sam Nujoma of Namibia and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, may be heading in the same direction.

What  be-deviled Kenya first government and continues to haunt Kenya is because Kenyatta government did not have any experience in ruling. Instead of abandoning the colonial structures and borrowing to an already existing Kenyan tribal  deliberative governance structure that was already democratic and built on market economy Kenyatta government continued with the colonial centralized structure. If Kenyatta for example could have borrowed heavily from Kikuyu governance  structure and tried to rule based on this values at the national stage the outcome would have be significantly different for everyone.

As it stands now Kenya needs a leader who can be bold enough to establish and instill using rule of law national values. These values must focus on eliminating corruption and tribalism. This leader must be focused on an enduring legacy.

 

Kenyatta government failure can be traced to corruption and tribalism, ditto Moi, ditto Kibaki , his government that held great promise became undone after Anglo-leasing scandal proved to everyone that there was no political will to slay the corruption dragon and what followed after that is that the political elites disintegrated on basis of tribal affiliation and the results was PEV.

Uhuru government too is failing to move forward because of the legacy of corruption and visceral tribalism that have pearmeated every aspect of the Kenyan life.

Tribalism has turned Kenya into a haven of hate. No one is a saint in this melee. Former reformers are now the most virulent tribalists. Yesterday religious leaders of virtue are today biggest apologists on behalf of corruption and tribalism. No institution is spared, no place is scared from this hate that if is left unchecked it will result in genocide.  Any little misunderstanding in todays Kenya can result despondency that state cannot contain and can or will morph into a civil war

Solutions are very simple.

  1.  Gathering of political will by executive branch to fight tribalism and corruption and be willing to suffer immeasurable loses during this fight. It is the executive branch that has the ability to set the agenda and to promote new values.
  2. Political will, political will and more political will to do the right thing no matter the consequences

A strong foundation based on shared national values have the ability of unlocking the big potential that our society holds. Without this foundation every success that Kenya has achieved in the last 50 years can be undone in a New York minute. Lay the national foundation afresh and because we do have capable human resource that if utilized in the proper way can give Kenya sustainable development and stability.

 

The talk that development can replace national values is unnatural for development cannot be sustainable if there no ethical values formulating this development. We cannot repeal the laws of natural justice but must follow these laws to the bitter end. What is lacking is leadership to promote and enforce these laws.

 

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