Friday, January 04, 2008

BusinessWeek Management IQ What's Next for Kenya?

BusinessWeek Management IQ What's Next for Kenya?

I would suggest people avoid doing business in Kenya at all costs. It only looked stable for so long because it was under a dictatorship. I think the comparisons to Rwanda are fair and probably prescient.
This comment really irked me. Here is a response that I liked.
Kenya has not been a dictatorship for 15 years (at the very least for the 5 post-Moi years). Kibaki is NOT a dictator. The democratic space that has been allowed by the Kibaki government is something to marvel.

Yes we did slip out of control for this past week. Yes we did have a flawed election. But in my mind what is the true measure of a democratic country is not that there are egregious of violence or electoral trickery, but on how the society heals and addresses the aggrieved.

Many countries have tribal riots including the US -- (I think your tribes are called "races") -- former Yugoslavia etc. Kenya will certainly not descend into a Rwandaesque situation. Rest assured that Kenyans will find a Kenyan solution to this very Kenyan problem.

At the end of the day do business with us if it makes commercial sense to you. Don't do us a favor, please. If you don't do business with us, I am sure in this global economy someone else will. I hear Beijing is pleasant at this time of year.

When you really look under the covers this is not about tribe, it is about poverty and resources. Kikuyus are an entrepreneurial community with very little land. They have migrated to other parts of the country where there were parcels of land that were economically idle. Unfortunately much of this migration was government subsidized when the government was run by Kenyatta so the other communities believe that the Kikuyus were being given preferential treatment. (It is probably true that they were.)

There have also been over the years numerous examples where Luos and their leaders have been less than honorably treated by leaders from other groups. The list goes on but let's begin with Oginga Odinga's (Raila's father) treatment by Jomo Kenyatta, to the assasination of Tom Mboya (there were riots and killings then too), to Raila's mistreatment by Moi, to Kibaki's reneging of the power sharing Memorandum of Understanding. This electoral fraud was simply the last straw.

So tempting as it may be for you to write us of as another example of Africa going-to-the-dogs take a moment to study what is really going on. We'll come out of this stronger as a nation, believe me. One nation too, indivisible.

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