Friday, February 08, 2008

There is a sense of optmism that is pushing me to think that there will be a compromise. Today there was lots of speculation that a breakthrough has been found by Kofi Annan. But the body language tells us that there is still a long way to go.
We cannot afford to lose any other Kenyan because of the stalemate. We have exhausted the minutes and are living in borrowed time.

Next week is not far....but let us all maintain peace.


kenya blogs said...

I'm with you.

I sincerely hope that a genuine settlement will come out of this on going talks.

We can not afford to kill each other, neither can we afford to let our economy fall.

Anonymous said...

sasa, its kipara. catch me via email tafadhali i lost your email

Anonymous said...
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Robert said...
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Tembo said...

Good governance, economics and Kenya

Economists – and by extension development theorists – are locked in today’s troubled times in an identity crisis about their proper role in the world, that goes to the heart of the profession. At stake are the economic founts of good governance. Nevertheless, a bridge between economists is that: ‘through the promotion of constructive human relations, value is created.’

Without any pretensions to be an economist of any standing and perception, I would assume that ‘constructive human relations’ embraces far more than the immediate economic sphere, and indeed, all avenues of human interaction.

And this writer feels pretty sure that constructive human relations in the wider egalitarian meaning are the cradle of democracy. Democracy in its purest theoretical sense champions and protects equal rights for all of mankind; but in broad egalitarianism human beings are patently not born tabula rasa and equal in mental ability, if not physical prowess.

We are not homogenous clones or humanoids; far from it, our most defining congruity is that we are individuals with consciences, who can join our forces in democratic consensus. And we are certainly not machines powered unthinkingly by raw energy.

Through egalitarian means, economically we help each other out best, and leave something for the next person down the track – it is the decent thing to do in all circumstances, whether they be economic, social or political. These three spheres of human interaction anyway cannot be divorced from one another; an economic theory of necessity incorporates instruction from political philosophy.

Turning once again to homogeneity, while startling and groundbreaking scientific discoveries have been stumbled upon almost by accident in the course of meticulous but plodding experiments, it took genius to make the connections - whether or not these were reached in a flash.

What of this genius that leaps science forward, and then through its translation via technology to the factory floor, advances production on a higher human and physical scale? Is it an outcome of genetics, or intensive intellectual husbandry in the early years of life; or does its genesis lie somewhere else? Can it be fashioned through economics? Obviously not; instead we should recognize our limits, and create the optimum physical and mental environment that will nurture its flowering to benefit humanity.

As to machines and energy, this author interprets economists writing on the subject through his layman’s lens on natural law – no transcendence here – as restating that energy can never be created or diminished. Energy is all around us, all the time, and man’s collective genius initially taps and sets it to constructive work. Where it is sourced, and the technology with which energy is exploited, will be transformed radically over the course of this century.

Unfortunately, there are not any fresh insights here that might resolve the crisis at the heart of the profession, except to relate that it was once expounded – a quarter of a century ago, in a busy newsroom - that economics should be flexible, organic and evolutionary, not confined by cast-iron precepts. This writer would hope that the discipline matches up to a constant challenge.

Perhaps you might allow me instead as a social historian to refer back in recent history to Colonial Kenya with a population of around 3-5 million in the 1930s. Then the country was governed by the laissez-faire and non-interventionist policies of ‘Indirect Rule’, an infertile if not sterile soil for germinating economic development theory. Especially considering that the policy was formulated as much as a solution to budgetary deficiencies as a recipe for good governance; and how it was translated by overworked and marooned District Officers in the reserves.

Officials in Government House in Nairobi believed – finding little or nothing to the contrary in mainstream anthropology – that Indirect Rule would protect perceived native communal values against ‘detribalisation’ by the infiltration of pernicious foreign influences; while at the same time promoting hard work, thrift, and an appropriate modicum of education that would help the native advance a few steps closer to White civilization.

This was a hide-bound and fundamental misconception about their labour force that Kenya’s capitalist white settler farmers, at that time struggling with rock-bottom world agricultural commodity prices during the Great Depression, had few reservations in endorsing – at least, economically speaking. The blunder was compounded in the 1940s after the Second World War, and festered crucially to bring about the Mau Mau civil war in the early 1950s.

Such was the inauspicious nascence of economic development theory in Kenya. Most of the country’s African population of around 37-40 million still lives at subsistence levels, but on heavily overcrowded land, and the situation grows worse day-by-day. There is just not sufficient arable soil and grazing pasture to go round, nor are there enough white-collar jobs for hundreds of thousands of qualified applicants, to say nothing of industry in a country whose GNP is heavily dependent on tourism. Together with destitution in the towns and cities, these three inimical economic fuels have combusted and fanned seething popular discontent, with a political oligopoly controlled by grasping politicians; and atrophied good governance.

Thank you for bearing with me. Now we have arrived pretty much where we started out – full circle. Good governance and economic theory.