I just read this on the BBC and can’t stop wishing that it is all hype. The report quotes a number of Kenyans – mostly from the Rift Valley – who seem to be acknowledging that segments of the Kenyan population are arming ahead of the 2012 elections. And this time round instead of machetes and bows and arrows they are getting guns, machine guns. A Kenyan working for an NGO in Eldoret confirmed the BBC report.
I am assuming, or rather hoping that the Kenyan intelligence community is not sleeping on the job like they did in the run-up to the 2007 elections. If people are buying machine guns it can only mean one thing. If Kenya is ever to have a civil war it will be fought in the Rift Valley. Other political conflicts in Kenya have always been over the sharing of divisible goods – mainly payoffs in terms of good jobs and chances for sleaze among the many ethnic entrepreneurs that populate the Kenyan political landscape. But the conflict in the Rift Valley will be about a somewhat indivisible good – LAND. Those that own the land will not let go or share it easily, more so if they have machine guns. And those that think that the land was taken from them wrongly will perhaps also be willing to fight for the land, more so if they also have machine guns.
The contest in 2012 just seems to get messier and messier. Kibaki should consider calling a snap election and then stepping down. That may catch the plotters unawares and bring a decisive victory to one party or the other. May be then the government will be able to deal with all these issues – land, judicial reforms, security etc – without the many distractions that the current government faces.
And in other news, Jaindi Kisero (one of my favorite columnists) has a piece on the slightly positive signs the Kenyan economy has shown so far. If only the nation’s political class would get its act togehter…
I also found this discussion on the IMF and WB interesting.
One, more thing. Last week I attended a talk by Paul Romer on Charter cities. The idea is as exciting as it is provocative. I still don’t know what to make of it though. Read more about it here.