Suspension of reality in Kenya – Patrick Basham

I saw Patrick Basham on CNN, a political scientist comment on Kenya and his view somehow resonated with my gut feelings.

  • There are fundamental differences between Raila and Kibaki
    • They may agree on the trivia. When confronted with fundamental issues more often than not there is a stalemate and a stand off.
  • Land reforms will not happen with this government
    • It does not help that the conflict in Kenya had to a larger extent had deep historical roots. A major issue is land reform. As Kenya stands now the squatters are still squatters. The Kikuyu refugees will return to their farms in the Rift Valley. The government will help them reconstruct their houses. The Kalenjin will apparently welcome them and beg for forgiveness. Worse still, the two communities are expected to live together like nothing happened. Whatever point the Kalenjin were making is a non-issue. That is a time bomb.
  • There is deep hatred and tribalism between the two leaders’ supporters
    • The mistrust and suspicions still exist between Kibaki and Raila. It is worse with their supporters.
  • The grand coalition is an affront to democracy
  • Simply grand coalitions do not work
    • The fundamental differences between the two political rivals will not allow for the coalition to work for the good of all Kenyans. It is just a matter of time.
According to Basham the grand coalition is not a solution in the medium term and the long term. The only solution will be to make the two sides commit to free and fair future elections. The free and fair standard is to be set by the international community.

Raila Odinga said on CNN that under the terms of the agreement he will be first discussing issues with the president before implementing them. However, ground rules need to be worked out to ensure there is harmonious co-existence. I secretly hoped this was worked out and ground rules set on who is doing what with all the clarity that could be written down. Could that be the calm before the storm?

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