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Kenya Suffers from State Capture

The long and perilous journey to democracy in Kenya is characterized by tensions and reversals. In many ways Kenya has not made any significant progress since the early 90s despite a lot of movement. Kenya has always struggled against the dominance of the state. The struggle over constitutional reform is one of the windows for understanding the larger struggles confronting Kenyan society. Since the constitution came into effect in 2010, nothing much has happened in terms of laying the necessary infrastructure widespread enough to guarantee the country and the people of Kenya realization of the aspirations articulated in the national charter. The struggle for constitutional reforms in Kenya had a long history. But even after its promulgation in August of 2010, the country has shown again that political liberalization is a high-risk activity that can produce unintended side-effects. Drawing on examples from other African states, it is clear that the processes of democratization and reform can be undertaken simultaneously, but that this twin-tracked approach requires institutional reforms not yet undertaken by a large number of African Polities, Kenya inclusive. The increased salience of ethnicity is better understood as the outcome of changes in institutional context and the decision-making matrix facing political leaders, rather than their cause. In addition to the historical roots and the short term trigger provided by the contested election, other prior interwoven processes contributed significantly to the Kenyan crisis that has refused to go away: elite fragmentation, political liberalization, and state informalization. Taken together, the mutually reinforcing processes of elite fragmentation, political liberalization, and state informalization radically altered the balance of power between the center and the periphery. Eve with a new constitution in place, Kenya still struggles with and suffers from executive control over coercive institutions that protect those at the core to the exclusion of those in the periphery, resulting in a an overprotected insiders and under-protected outsiders. The state has continued to lay an overbearing burden on the shoulders of the people of Kenya thereby arousing the appetite for a heated struggle for the country to undertake the desired institutional reforms. But the state is hijacked since the self-same political elite who are overprotected by the state are the same people expected or at least, in positions to lead the reforms process. The people are lost in this whole business. Nothing in Kenya today is people-centered; the state works for the rich and powerful who illegitimately control state power.  
Kenya Suffers from State Capture Kenya Suffers from State Capture Reviewed by Ibrahim Magara on February 08, 2017 Rating: 5

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