Saturday, January 5

Kenya updates

With things seeming calmer in at least Nairobi the past day - hopefully more than just a lull - lots of bloggers/writers have taken the chance to put in their two cents on the situation, implications, solutions, etc. Some of the more interesting I've seen:
  • Jim Onyango of Business Daily Africa on business leaders saying elections are not credible and urging a solution. Before the elections, one of the reasons it seemed like Kenya wouldn't descend into chaos is that a lot of people are making money from an economy that relies on political stability. And I think it's one of the reasons why Kenya can still pull back from a deeper crisis (via Benin Mwangi at African Path).
  • The flip side of this, though, is that many Kenyans have been left behind by the strong economic growth in the past few years and income inequality has swelled. And a number of voices are pointing to this inequality as a main component of the current violent frustration in Kenya. See for example, What an African Women Thinks, Gathara, and William Wallis in the Financial Times. (Tribalism - the visible angle that has been the main narrative especially in the international media - is tied up with inequality. For example, Central Province, home to the Kikuyu tribe, is Kenya's wealthiest province; while Western Province, home to the Luo, is the poorest.) Many of the younger generation of Kenyan entrepreneurs and business folk do recognize the importance of addressing inequality. Finance-oriented blogger Bankalele for example: "I'll make money with a Kibaki win, but I feel that the country needs Raila to lead and tackle some of the serious imbalances in this country."
  • White African reminds us that all the blogging around the election aftermath, while important and exciting, is of limited use to the 97 percent or so of Kenyans who don't have Internet access (probably even lower in unstable times), and urges more focus on how to make technology help the average Kenyan.

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