textual presence

Google has digitized more than 5 million books in a project that also enables users to track changes in scholarly attention to particular topics. I did a few searches and came up with these results. They obviously do not mean much and are only useful in knowing what scholars paid more attention to at any given time.

There was a time when Africa was cooler than Asia

 

 

 

 

 

 

Positive trends: investment outbids aid

 

 

 

 

 

 

institutions beat democracy?

 

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the ICC and kenyan politics ahead of 2012

Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and former Agriculture Minister William Ruto are arguably the biggest casualties of the ICC process. Mr. Kenyatta has been angling for the title of de facto leader of central Kenya while Mr. Ruto is the de facto leader of the Rift Valley Province.

Already within central Kenya cracks abound in the political mold. Ms Martha Karua and Mr. Peter Kenneth are rival contenders, with Mr. Kenyatta, in the Kibaki-succession game. Also in contention are the acephalous “Kikuyu underclass” which has felt sidelined and maligned by the wealthy ruling class from the region since independence. The Mungiki movement is a potential channel for this group to articulate their demands. The election of the likes of “Sonko” and Waititu in Nairobi may be a signal of things to come in 2012. The fight between the country club elite and the matatu generation appears almost inevitable. Should Mr. Kenyatta go down with the ICC process there will certainly be someone on the wings to take his position.

The situation in the Rift Valley is different. Mr. Ruto, like Mr. Odinga in Nyanza, hogs all the political power without any clear contenders on the wings. Should the Eldoret North MP go down with the ICC process, the Rift Valley caucus may end up divided and politically weakened, just like happened in Western Kenya after the death of Kijana Wamalwa. Possible unifiers in a post-Ruto era include Dr. Sally Kosgey and Mr. Samuel Poghisio.

What does all this mean for Kenyan politics?

Nobody knows.

Firstly, Kenya’s emboldened parliament will have to make the right calls as it continues in its march to become the sovereign in the land. If MPs choose to settle their differences over the ICC’s indictment of their men in the august house it will become a lose-lose situation. The new constitution will not be implemented as intended. Kenya may have to go through a snap election. And in the worst case scenario ethnic tension may explode into full out violence, again.

Secondly, president Kibaki must take charge. Even as he allows his lieutenants room to craft their means of political survival he must make sure that the impression that someone is in charge remains unshaken. The last thing the country needs is a feeling of a free for all situation.

And lastly, Mr. Odinga must not play petty politics with the ICC process. It is obvious that if everything works for Ocampo Mr. Odinga will be the biggest winner. But he must show restraint and calmness. The ICC process must not be made to appear to be a political witch hunt. In any case 2012 is still eons away in political terms. Plus he must consider the impression he will create if he is seen as completely throwing Ruto and Kosgey under the bus, two men who worked hard and delivered him the Rift Valley vote in the 2007 general election.

My take on the latest developments is mixed. On the one hand I like the move to end impunity. 1333 Kenyans died. Those who planned their murder should face justice. On the other hand I know that justice is political. And politics is messy. Perhaps the two principals (Kibaki and Odinga) could cut a deal with Ocampo to rescue their lieutenants in exchange for the latter staying out of politics (and perhaps serving a suspended sentence in Kenya) and contributing some of their wealth to the resettlement of displaced persons from the PEV chaos.

How I wish the whole nation wasn’t so fixated on this but on what Prof. Ndung’u of the CBK has to say about the state of the Kenyan economy or the latest projections on the state of the country’s financial, agricultural and manufacturing sectors.

I hope that Kenya’s captains of industry will not play politics but instead fund the right guys: guys who want macroeconomic and political stability so that more and more equities, access Kenyas and safaricoms can bloom in Kenya.

 

ocampo names six

Former Commissioner of Police Hussein Ali, Ambassador Muthaura (head of civil service), William Ruto, Henry Kosgey, Joshua Sang and Uhuru Kenyatta among the six.

Messrs Kenyatta and Ruto plan to run for president in 2012. Dues to Kenya’s highly charged ethnic politics, the two leaders’ respective ethnic voting blocks will be crucial in deciding who moves into State House come 2013. Mr. Ruto is the de facto political leader of the Kalenjin community while Mr. Kenyatta claims to represent the biggest chunk of the central Kenyan vote.

Messrs Muthaura, Kenyatta and Kosgey may find themselves forced to resign. None of them has commented yet.

Just hours from Ocampo’s big moment

Statement by ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo on Kenya

ICC-CPI-20101214-PR614

As you know, tomorrow I will file two applications for summonses to appear for six individuals we believe are the most responsible for the post-election violence.

I believe summonses are sufficient to ensure the appearance of all six suspects. But as ICC Prosecutor, I am requesting that clear conditions be imposed on them, namely:

  • To frequently update the Court on all their personal contact details and whereabouts;
  • Not to make any personal contact with any of the other suspects, unless through their legal counsel to prepare their defence;
  • Not to approach any perceived victims or witnesses of crimes;
  • Not to attempt to influence or interfere with witness testimony;
  • Not to tamper with evidence or hinder the investigation;
  • Not to commit new crimes.

In addition, they must respond to all requests by ICC judges; they must attend all hearings when required, and post bond if the judges so instruct them.

These conditions are strict. They are in accordance with the Rome Statute and ICC rules.

Let me be clear.

If the suspects do not comply with the conditions set by the Chamber, I will request arrest warrants.

If there is any indication of bribes, intimidation or threats, I will request arrest warrants.

I expect the suspects to indicate to the Chamber shortly their intention to surrender voluntarily.

Source: Office of the Prosecutor

TP Mazembe beat Brazil’s Internacional 2-0

Many of you may not know TP Mazembe, the reigning African club champions. The Lubumbashi (DR Congo) club surprised soccer football enthusiasts the world over by beating Brazilian champions Internacional in the world club championship semi final. They will play either the European champions Inter Milan or Seongnam Ilhwa of Korea in the final. This is the first time that an African side has reached the finals of a major international football tournament.

Check out both goals here.

countdown to wednesday begins

On Wednesday a few Kenyan cabinet ministers, wealthy businessmen and security chiefs – mostly from central Kenya and the Rift Valley – will be exposed as suspects behing the post election violence in 2007-08 that killed 1333 Kenyans and displaced hundreds of thousands. Needless to say, this will have significant political consequences.

The expected political realignments following the initiation of this phase of the ICC process will shed some light on what Kenyans should expect come 2012. It will also be a litmus test on how much the Kenyan political elite is committed to reforms and fighting impunity. Kibaki and Odinga will either have to defend or cut loose some of their most trusted lieutenants.

In other news Laurent Gbagbo is still refusing to relinquish power in the Ivory Coast. Moreno Ocampo should warn him that if any more people die as a result of his refusal to obey the electoral outcome he will be held responsible.

Elections have consequences.

 

exactly when did the rain start beating africa?

HDI divergence

The new HDI rankings are out. Some in the blogosphere have beef with the new geometric (as opposed to additive) method of calculating final scores. I don’t.

Aid Watch’s beef is that:

The biggest change in method was that the new HDI is a geometric average rather than a normal (additive) average. Geometric average means you multiply the separate indices (each ranging between 0 and 1) for income, life expectancy, and education together and then take the cube root (I know your pulse starts to race here…)

Now, students, please notice the following: if one of these indices is zero, then the new HDI will be zero, regardless of how great the other indices are. The same mostly applies if one of the indices is close to zero. The new HDI has a “you’re only as strong as your weakest link” property, and in practice the weakest link turns out to be very low income (and guess which region has very low income).

My two cents on this discussion is that the Continent looks bad irrespective of how we arrive at its HDI scores. It’s best performers are tiny Botswana and Mauritius. It’s biggest countries and potential engines for growth are the DRC, Ethiopia and Nigeria, need I say more? And per capita income has not changed in most places in half a century.

I rarely disagree with Easterly but on this count I do. Let’s not shift posts for Africa. The idea of “African Standards” is condescending and demeaning to Africans. Norway and Chad look like they are eons apart. If the numbers reflect that fact so be it.

I hope this year’s report embarrasses the African ruling elite enough to wake them up from their stupor (come on, I am allowed one wishful thought per post).

More on this here and here. For a summary of this see Blattman.

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.