2008 Presidential Election, Race and Racism
Professor Vernellia Randall
Speaking Truth to Power!

England: Obama could help put out the fire in Kenya

 

Send Letter to Secretary Hillary Clinton:
United States Must be fully Participate in United Nations Conference
 on Eliminating Racism (Durban Review).

 

 

Home March 13,2008 Hillary Clinton and Gearldine Ferraro     February 26, 2008 - Tim Russert;     February 21, 2008 - Bill O'Reilly;       February 20, 2008 - Bill O'Reilly;          January 30, 2008 - National Organization of Women - New York;          January 15, 2008  - MSBNC, Brian Williams and Tim Russert Discussion Forum
This site focuses on one issue: racial inequality. It does not endorse or oppose any party or any candidate.

 

Home                                                    x
Worst Person                               x
Institutional Racism                                    x
Inequalities & the Election                                  x
Race and Racism                              x
Racial Groups                                       x
World Perspective                               x
NAACP Questionnaire                            x
Primaries and Caucuses                             x
Site Map
This website is always under construction please email me  relevant links related to any of the candidates or to race and racism and the election.
RACIAL GROUPS
African Americans                                         X
Asian Americans                                                   X
European Americans                         X
Latino(a) Americans                                          x
Native Americans                                 x
Pacific Islanders                                       x
 
UNITS
Institutional Racism                                     x
01 Race and Racism                                     x
02 Citizenship Rights                                     x
03 Justice                                     x
04 Basic Needs                                     x
05 Intersectionality                                     x
06 Worldwide                                     x
 
 
 
 

 John Githongo
Financial Times (London)
Published: February 14 2008

 


There is a certain grim symmetry to the joke about the US getting an ethnic Luo president before Kenya does. The nearer Barack Obama (whose father was a Kenyan Luo) gets to the White House, the greater his potential impact as a mediator in his homeland. But the longer it takes, the more harm his countrymen will impose on themselves. As the proverb of his Luo kinfolk puts it: “When the village is on fire, its sons in the city must help put it out.”

In Kenya , a worst-case scenario is conceivable as the violence sustains weak leaders; that is why Africa cannot immediately help and nor can the Kikuyu-dominated middle class, save for a brave few speaking out under threat to their lives. Mr Obama has the “awe” factor to make a difference.

The speed at which Kenya has unravelled after rigged elections in December has shocked everyone – Kenyans most of all but the sturdy middle class in particular. A mixture of distress, fury and helplessness consumes the population. At least 1,000 people have been murdered and over 1 per cent of the population has been displaced. We must start facing the fact that the Kenya we knew has changed for good. We Kenyans have no option but to construct our second republic out of the ashes of the first, broken one. This means recognising some issues.

To many in the west confronted with images of machete-wielding Africans, what has happened may look like an atavistic uprising. In fact it has been a deadly elite-driven political game in which the machete carriers are pawns on a blood-soaked chessboard. The kings and queens include institutions such as the World Bank, western governments and others who have engaged with Kenya ’s polity in a manner that has often involved sweeping fundamental realities under the carpet. For the past four years some of these players insisted that :country-regionKenya ’s politics were merely noise that would be drowned out by the chugging of a vibrant economic engine. Those who used their credibility as purveyors of this alchemy are as responsible for the current situation as some of the leading belligerents now. They need to engage responsibly and with unity and clarity.

Kenya is gripped by a battle within its political elite that has led to a failed election. This has fractured the nation along historic fault-lines of resource inequality, ethnicity, generation and class. Potent grievances over the distribution of land, and over the perceptions that the president’s Kikuyu community feels entitled to rule, are stirred into the mix. It is a contradiction because the two ostensibly opposing forces have no fundamental ideological differences. Indeed, it is not clear that the mediation in :CityNairobi involves leaders who retain control of the situation on the ground.

There has been discussion of the military being called in to restore order – most notably by Paul Kagame, president of :country-region Rwanda . An increasing number of Kenyans contemplate this option as well, but are nervous because flames of ethnic polarisation lick at all our institutions, including the army. A military intervention would need to be invited, not forced, and would require a regional and international component for legitimacy. It is likely that the economic costs of the crisis will have a more profound head-clearing effect on the elite than the violence. Cash in the pocket is their primary preoccupation.

The failed election must be corrected. This will not happen without international participation. Prior to this, a transitional arrangement built on a constitutional amendment that reduces presidential powers could be crafted.

Any settlement that results from the mediation efforts of Kofi Annan, the former United Nations secretary-general, must be recognised as a stop-gap measure. Indeed, there are reasons to fear that both the main protagonists in the dispute have been damaged irreparably. What is needed is forceful action that halts the bloodshed for long enough to effect constitutional reform and review and implement the myriad abandoned recommendations regarding corruption and land allocation.

Who is best placed to apply the pressure? The African Union faces major challenges despite a good early start. In the :country-regionUS , Mr Obama is riding a favourable tide. At his other home his people are busy doing horrible things. He does not have to come himself. But he needs to engage with a ghost that is sweeping over his father’s grave leaving death and destruction in its wake.

The writer is former permanent secretary in charge of governance and ethics in the Kenya government, who fled to exile in the UK in 2005. He is now a senior associate member of St Antony’s College, Ox

 
x
 

Discussion Forum

This Page Last Updated:
Thursday, July 03, 2008  

You are visitor number
Hit Counter  
Since January 9, 2008

 

Submit for Periodic Updates
Update List

 CANDIDATES
DEMOCRATIC                   x
Obama                                                    x
REPUBLICAN                            x
McCain                                                    x
THIRD PARTY
McKinney                                         x

This website is always under construction please email me  relevant links related to any of the candidates or to race and racism and the election.
SELECT A CANDIDATE SURVEYS
Minnesota Public Radio                        x
WQAD  TV                             x
Australia - US Survey                                 X

 


Same level:
Africa: Obama Tame America for His African Ancestors ] Australia: Obama shops his grandma but won't save his skin ] [ England: Obama could help put out the fire in Kenya ] Britian: I am for Obama ] Africa: Why I Voted for Obama ] India: Dr Kings dream has come true ] Mexico: Obama alienta esperanzas entre los negros de México ] European elite infatuated with Obama ] International views on Obama are really a mirror ] England: Transfixed by the Barack Obama buzz ] England: Obama Embracing a European-Style Left? ] England: The refining of rhythmic rhetoric ] England: Is there a British Obama? ] Ghana: Obama and the Gap in American History ] Turkey:  Obama reverses course with major race speech ] South Africa: What change exactly will Obama bring to the world? ] Hugo Chavez and the Obama/Clinton Twins ] India: Obama as president will build 'close strategic ties' with India ] Ugandan commentator questions American whites' support for Obama ] Indonesia: Neither Washington nor Menteng ] Japan: Clinton, Obama, give GOP boost ] England: Two reasons why they must go with Hillary ] Canada: If Obama can be president, then an aboriginal can be PM ] Africa (East): Black president or “irrational exuberance”? ] Africa (East): The Emergence of Barack Obama, Part II ] Canada: Obama says issues, not race, will decide presidential contest ] Britain: Obama would prolong racial divisions in US ] England: Obama's army is united in desire for change, but less sure what it means ]
Child Level:
Home ] Up ]
Parent Level:
Worst Person in Campaign 2008 ] Racism and the Presidential Election ] Racial Groups and the 2008 Presidential Election ] Democratic Candidates ] Republican Candidates ] 3rd Party Candidates ] Primaries and Caucuses - Exit Polls ] The World Views ] Former Candidates ] Weekly Updates ]
Units:
[Race and Racial Groups] [Citizenship Rights]  [Justice and Race] [Patterns of Basic Needs] [Intersectionality Issues] [Human Rights]

Always Under Construction!

Always Under Construction!

Copyright @ 2008
Vernellia Randall. All Rights Reserved

 
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, some material on this website is provided for comment, background information, research and/or educational purposes only, without permission from the copyright owner(s), under the "fair use" provisions of the federal copyright laws. These materials may not be distributed for other purposes without permission of the copyright owner(s).

 


Last Updated:
Tuesday, April 07, 2009  

You are visitor number
Hit Counter  
Since January 9, 2008