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Posted on February 28, 2013

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Pictures From Ewart Grogan’s House in Nairobi, Kenya

Posted on February 27, 2013

In recent weeks I had the chance to visit Ewart Grogan’s house in Nairobi.  In 2007,  the whole house was taken block by block and re-assembled in the Karen Blixen Coffee Garden which is located in Karen near the Karen Blixen house museum.  For those of you who don’t know one of Kenya’s founding colonial fathers, you can click here.

Apart from the history, the food is excellent and it is a cool place to hang-out during the hot Kenyan summer.

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Latest Tweets for #kenyaelections

Posted on February 27, 2013


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Can IEBC Handle #kenyaelections in a Single Day?

Posted on February 27, 2013

# keelection #decision2013 Is it even possible for Kenya to complete elections on Monday?  According to IEBC it can take 6 min. for the average person to complete the new long ballots and 12 minutes for undecided voters to complete the ballot.

Expect long lines and court challenges to extend the voting.  It will be a miracle if the IEBC can complete the voting next Monday.

 

Vote Peace #kenyaelections

Posted on February 26, 2013

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The Second Kenyan Presidential Debate: Two Flawed Front-Runners = A Run-Off

Posted on February 26, 2013

#kenyaelections

I had the opportunity to watch the Second Kenyan Presidential Debate last night with my Kenayan friends.  As an American observer, it was obvious that the two front-runners, Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga, are both deeply flawed candidates at this point.

If Kenyatta wins, it will means the country will spend the next 5 years in The Hague at the ICC.  For Odinga, the hard question is:  What have you been doing about all of these problems the last 5 years as Prime Minister?

Barring some shocking outcome, it looks like both of these candidates will get around 45% +/- 1 or 2 %.  Expect Mundavadi to come in third with around 5%, and Peter Kenneth will most likely come in fourth with 2-3% of the vote.  However, it wouldn’t shock me if Kenneth comes in third due to strong support among Nairobi’s young urban professionals.

 

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Where is Kenya’s Potholes and Police Candidate?

Posted on February 20, 2013

As it appears that I will be hanging out in Kenya during the elections, I have decided to begin a series of posts with my thoughts on and ideas about what is going-on during this year’s Presidential elections.

One thing I have discovered recently is just how long-running Kenya’s big issues are.  I am currently finishing reading the book Lost Lion of Empire by Edward Paice.   The book tells the improbable story of one of the British pioneers of Kenya, Ewart Grogan.  While his story is fascinating, the biggest things that struck me are how the problems of Colonial period are still the biggest problems in Kenya today:

  • ineffective, if not incompetent governance
  • corruption at all levels
  • ongoing fighting over the unequal distribution of land and resources
  • the politics of ethnic division
  • lack of proper policing and security

All of the above problems only served to concentrate even more power in the hands of the elites during the Colonial period– a fact that Grogan took advantage off.  Today, it is still the wealthy and political classes that take advantage of those factors.

Today, when I look at all the candidates, all all see are huge (largely meaningless manifestos) replete with images of high-speed trains and skyscrapers.  With the word JOBS written all over the country in BOLD print, you have to be sure that somewhere on election day there will be some poor soul on election day that gets to the ballot and asks, “Where is JOBS? I don’t see his name here on the ballot.”  And you know what, that simple person will actually be right.  The programs on offer only serve to reinforce those key problems that have plagued Kenya.

That’s the negative.  What I see (hey, we Americans are optimists) is that there is a huge opening for someone who can offer real-world solutions… not pie in the sky.

What am I talking about?  It’s quite simple… begin with things that are doable.  I think there is a huge opening for a candidate who can forcefully layout a clear plan to do some easy things that would make a huge difference.  As a modest proposal, just let me present two.

  1. Clean-up Kenya’s roads.  Eliminate potholes and insure that proper infrastructure is in-place for Kenya’s transportation needs.  The economic (and even job) knock-on effects will be profound and long-lasting.  The President that eliminates Kenya’s potholes and traffic jams will become a hero!
  2. Fix the police and security.  It’s not rocket science.  Hire the right people and the right amount for the size of the population.  This also includes being active, if not proactive when a crisis occurs like the Tana Delta.  Where has Kibaki and the military been on this issue?  AWOL mostly… severe threats to law and order have to be met with police and military force in a decisive manner.  For example, why hasn’t there been a declaration and enforcement of martial law in the Tana region.  Security threats to the state should not be swept under the table.  While the Tana conflict IS about resources, it is also about a rise of religious extremism and  separatism in Kenya’s coastal communities.  Facts like those cannot be ignored and those people posing direct threats to the state need to face the consequences of their actions.

Fixing just those two things will bring a big boost to Kenya’s economy and whoever pursues such a policy would easily win a second term.

Why am I sure it will never happen?  The people who benefit are the people of the country, not the elites… there you go.

 

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