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Published 1st February 2008

Vol 49 No 3


Kenya

The soldiers wait in the wings

After another spate of murderous attacks and high level political obstruction, many see military intervention as a desperate remedy

Amid the latest round of killing in the Rift Valley, Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame suggested that intervention by Kenya’s military may be the only solution left: ‘I know it’s not fashionable or right for the armies to get involved in such a political situation,’ he told Reuters news agency, ‘but in a situation where institutions have lost control, I wouldn’t mind such a solution.’ That may not win General Kagame an invitation to tea with President Mwai Kibaki but it is a view echoed by many despairing Kenyans and foreign diplomats. Some authoritatively quote dates for the interventions, even the names and ranks of the officers involved. Looking at the options in Kenya, there are huge forebodings.


The spurned advisor at State House

Confidence at State House was knocked by their party’s appalling parliamentary results in the 27 December elections and the furore over the disputed presidential vote. For several ...


Military options

At the height of this week’s violence in the Rift Valley, senior Kenyan politicians on both sides of the divide began discussing the possibility of a military intervention. Yet it ...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

The notoriously fickle international opinion barometer has moved back into Afro-pessimism after a lengthy stint last year in the Afro-optimism zone. In fact, the key economic indicators in most African states are little changed from a year ago, when heady talk about the African boom was at its height: the African oil and gas bonanza; manic growth in Asian trade and investment; African GDP growth 2-3% ahead of world averages. And the credit crunch is yet to work through into Africa. It is the ...
The notoriously fickle international opinion barometer has moved back into Afro-pessimism after a lengthy stint last year in the Afro-optimism zone. In fact, the key economic indicators in most African states are little changed from a year ago, when heady talk about the African boom was at its height: the African oil and gas bonanza; manic growth in Asian trade and investment; African GDP growth 2-3% ahead of world averages. And the credit crunch is yet to work through into Africa. It is the political perceptions that have changed. The basic elements of the current crises were all evident a year ago: Kenya was preparing for a nasty election with both parties exploiting ethnic sentiment; Nigeria was about to hold a deeply flawed election; momentum was building behind Jacob Zuma’s populist campaign for the Presidency in South Africa, as power experts warned the government of crippling electricity shortages; and the Sudanese regime continued ethnic cleansing in Darfur. But many of the business brains didn’t see it coming. They had convinced themselves that Kenyans were happy with their government’s economic management, that Nigerians felt pride in their country’s US$50 billion forex reserves and that South Africans shared Western admiration for Thabo Mbeki’s pro-market economic strategy. They were wrong and this may be the year when ignoring the politics gets too expensive – even for the sovereign wealth funds.
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