05/08/2010

Changes Coming to Kenya


You may have noticed, buried in the back pages of your newspaper, that Kenyans voted yesterday to support their new constitution.

Kenya, which borders Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania, is the fourth largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa and has long been known for its corrupt politics.

This move certainly has the potential to reshape the political landscape in the country and it is an opportunity to move away from ethnic and tribal rule, bring in democratic rule and also should help the country focus on development and battling endemic corruption

The proposed constitution retains a presidential system but places checks on the executive. The president will now be impeachable and key appointments have to be submitted to parliamentary approval. The post of prime minister will be scrapped. A senate is created to include representatives of 47 newly-created counties. There a limitation on the number of ministers.

What makes this all interesting for me is that I have been reading M. G. Vassanji's The in-Between World of Vikram Lall, a book about an African born Asian man's lfe growing up in Kenya from his early years as Mau Mau violence swirled around him, the country's moves to self government and the massive corruption all too familiar when newly independent countries struggle with managing power in politics.


It is a story of a family's struggle with those changes and it is a story about corruption.

I you are interested at all about how this country got into the state it found itself in, I'd recommend giving this book a read.

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