more from wikileaks

The Guardian reports:

The oil giant Shell claimed it had inserted staff into all the main ministries of the Nigerian government, giving it access to politicians’ every move in the oil-rich Niger Delta, according to a leaked US diplomatic cable.

Nice. Friedman was right. Firm’s only social responsibility should be to make profits. Forget about the population and the destroyed lives.

Also,

US diplomats fear that Kenya could erupt in violence worse than that experienced after the election in 2008 unless rampant government corruption is tackled.

America asked Uganda to let it know if its army intended to commit war crimes based on US intelligence – but did not try to prevent war crimes taking place.

Washington’s ambassador to the troubled African state of Eritrea described its president, Isaias Afwerki, as a cruel “unhinged dictator” whose regime was “one bullet away from implosion”.

Still (im)patiently waiting for the stuff on the Kenyan elections in 2007.

And lastly,

Apparently based on a conversation with Johnnie Carson, the US assistant secretary of state for African affairs, it said: “China is a very aggressive and pernicious economic competitor with no morals. China is not in Africa for altruistic reasons. China is in Africa for China primarily.”

Yeah right. Because the US involvement in Africa since the 1960s has been any different. At least the Chinese do not bother to be janus-faced about it [ok, that is a little too harsh, but you get my point].

The evolution of parliamentary sovereignty in kenya

It is an interesting time as far as the institutions of governance in Kenya are concerned. The country is seeing the entrenchment of parliamentary sovereignty. Real power in the country is slowing but surely shifting from the executive to the legislature. Kudos to KBC and the parliamentary authorities for allow this to happen.

I am of the humble opinion that democracy is meaningless without credible de facto (as opposed to de jure) mechanisms for horizontal accountability. Elections (vertical accountability) take place only every five years, and even then votes, in most places, are oftentimes easily bought with bags of maize and sugar. The real game remains restricted among the political elite.

Democracy is only stable and productive to the extent that elites can check each other and agree to a modus vivendi. That is how democracy emerged in post civil war England. That is how it has been sustained in most of the West (even during periods of limited suffrage). And that is how it will take hold in Africa.

The trick is to end the one-man-show syndrome that has characterized African politics for decades. Kenya is making that crucial transition as power sips from Ikulu to Bunge and from Harambee Avenue to Parliament Road (more on the causes soon).

Let’s not kid ourselves that horizontal accountability equals democracy. It is not. But my contention is that it is better simply because the tyranny of 210 is, to me, definitely more palatable than the tyranny of 1.