STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
The Fiction That is Kenya
By Staff News & Analysis - April 09, 2013

Kenya's new president Will the new centre hold? … Uhuru Kenyatta comes to power on a wave of cautious optimism. But he must tackle a host of national shortcomings if he is to make a success of his new job … Uhuru Kenyatta, one of the richest men in the country, will be inaugurated on April 9th into the same office that his father Jomo held from 1964 until his death 14 years later. The loser and departing prime minister, Raila Odinga, won plaudits for accepting the court's ruling, despite the "dismay" he expressed at the elections' conduct. Though many of the 43% who voted for Mr Odinga feel aggrieved, most Kenyans have heaved a collective sigh of relief that the wide-scale violence and chaos that ruined the last election, in 2007, have mercifully been avoided. Yet the country remains badly split, largely along ethnic lines. – Economist

Dominant Social Theme: Kenya has had free elections. Now is its time to shine.

Free-Market Analysis: The Economist magazine's reporting is often fantastical. It treats countries as if they were people and politicians as if they were important. This "analysis" of Kenya's elections is a good example.

There is no reason for Kenya to exist. It is a conglomeration of tribes that meet in Nairobi and attempt to divvy up whatever industrial spoils are available. The British built Kenya, though the reason isn't especially clear. That goes for the rest of Africa.

If the British were trying to create more prosperity they failed miserably. The broken tribespeople and fractured families wandering around the slums outside Nairobi like ghosts, living on two or three dollars a day are a ragged testimony to that.

The slums surrounding Nairobi are some of the most extensive in the world. Owned by the government, they encompass millions who huddle here without electricity, sanitation or running water. Latrines are cleaned by hand. The big ambition is to get a job in Nairobi but there are no jobs in Nairobi.

Emaciated Kenyan men in shiny suits – their only suits – wander up and down the broad, cracked avenues of Nairobi talking animatedly on cell phones about God knows what … deals that never take place or imaginary business schemes that might yield them a meal or two.

It is an utterly ruined society, and the British ruined it when they crammed 50 tribes into one nation and attempted to create a "demos" out of an agrarian and hunter-gatherer patchwork. This is the society that The Economist is chirpily describing in its current edition. Here's more:

The stock exchange in Nairobi, the capital, responded bullishly to the judges' verdict, with its strongest one-day rally in five years when trading recommenced on April 2nd. The Kenyan shilling reached its highest point for six months against the dollar. In the city's glittering towers that have shot up in the past decade or so, traders spoke of Kenya reaching an "inflection point" presaging a drop in political risk. Foreign investors are expected to pile in. In the past, says Aly-Khan Satchu, a local financial pundit, it was political risk that held back the economy.

Business leaders, many of whom hail from Mr Kenyatta's Kikuyu tribe, the country's biggest and richest, see him as one of their own. His first two appointments after the judges' ruling were to inspect a port-development scheme worth $5 billion near the island of Lamu, at the northern end of Kenya's coast, and to meet the country's association of manufacturers.

By most forecasts the economy should grow by 6% this year, up from 4% last. Recent oil and gas finds, added to geothermal and wind-power projects, may help the balance of payments and improve its erratic electricity supply. On the other hand, Kenya's bloated government and the devolution required under the new constitution mean that money for even more essential infrastructure may be harder to find. The elections ushered in a bunch of senators and governors—posts that did not previously exist—whose costs may take at least 15% out of the national budget.

But Kenya's ratio of debt to GDP is a relatively healthy 45%, according to the IMF. And the country has a more robust tax base than most of its African peers, with revenues equivalent to 23% of GDP. With Mr Kenyatta in charge, the free-wheeling economy is expected to surge ahead.

Three worries may, however, continue to dog the country—and its new leader. The first is corruption, which wastes vast amounts of public money, including aid from foreign governments. It also fuels anger among the mass of Kenyans, who resent the opulence of the political elite. Mr Kenyatta's father, though revered as the founding president, is also held responsible for entrenching a system of corruption, greed and patronage that besmirches the country to this day. His son hails from an extended family that has long luxuriated in its wealth. To be sure, had Mr Odinga won, the scourge of corruption would have remained scarcely less potent.

Second, and more egregiously, the election did little to dispel the old bane of tribalism. Mr Kenyatta's victory was thanks more to his canniness in building tribal alliances that numerically outweighed those that Mr Odinga put together, than to any set of policies. Even Kenya's burgeoning middle class seemed unable, as voters, to move much beyond tribal identities.

To The Economist's credit, it DOES mention tribalism, above, but only as an "old bane." In fact, Kenyan society IS tribal. This is nothing new. What is new are glowering ebony men in Kenya's parliament wearing powdered white wigs and mouthing British political platitudes.

Some modern society. British reorganization has not brought anything to Kenya and has taken a great deal away. The political system has evolved in the only way it could, as a winner-take-all spoils system supported by tribal politics. The British knew that and deliberately installed the system anyway.

All over Africa, this sort of system is burgeoning now. It is a wild variant of a Western system, a political economy that has no reason to exist except that certain Europeans wanted it.

It won't end, of course. Having built "nations" out of tribes, the globalists running Africa are now busy trying to install a single central bank, a single African Union, etc. Shades of the EU, anyone?

And as we have pointed out before, the ambitions are even bigger than this. The top movers and shakers from Britain and the US want to do a deal in Africa. They want to turn Africa into the next China. Africa is supposed to buy American Treasuries and those Treasuries are then supposed to come back to Africa in the form of purchases of consumer goods.

In this way the African Miracle is supposed to be constructed, just as the Chinese Miracle was built and the Japanese Miracle before that.

The reason the West needs so many miracles is because after the miracle often comes dissolution and even poverty, just as the Japanese have found out and the Chinese may, too. Building a consumerist society based on Western credit and central bank money printing is not a recipe for long-term financial stability.

Nonetheless, this is what certain interests apparently have in mind for Africa and in particular Kenya, which is supposed to be the most "advanced" African country, and Nairobi, its most "modern" African city.

After Thoughts

God help Africa.

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