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The Crisis in Kenya

From: Journal of Democracy
Volume 19, Number 3, July 2008
pp. 162-168 | 10.1353/jod.0.0016

Abstract

Abstract:

The article examines the key reasons why Kenya, which had avoided the major conflicts that afflict Africa and considered as one of Africa’s more stable States, so quickly descended into violence and anarchy “in the typical African way” after disputed elections in 2007. While many were shocked that a country that has held regular elections since independence in 1963 and with the trappings of a functional democracy—a parliament, a judiciary and a vibrant civil society—could tread the path of failed states, this article argues that democracy is not just about holding elections but the mechanics and procedures of accountability in between elections. The article thus examines the deadly consequences of impunity, unchecked corruption, and woefully bad governance in Kenya, and how all these factors combine to feed and fuel inequality and injustice. In seeking answers to what went wrong in Kenya the article provides practical steps to making democracy work in the context of Kenya’s long search for equilibrium.