The paper 'Ghana's Current Political Situation' is a worthy example of a research paper on politics. Immediately an African country is mentioned, the first aspects that click into people’ s minds are poor governance, poverty, conflict, economic instability and hunger (Alemazung, 2010). These are the core features that dominate most of the states within the African continent at large. Various analysts and scholars have been studying the situations in Africa and they have introduced numerous arguments of which most of them are based on the colonial legacy for post-colonial Africa and the nature of colonialism.
In this context, colonial legacy refers to the inheritance of the state that belonged to the colonial administration from this administration by post-colonial rulers in Africa (Alemazung, 2010). This research paper will explore the current political situation in Kenya and prove that the current situation is a result of colonial legacies that the country inherited from its colonial master, Britain. Kenya, a country that is located in the eastern part of Africa has recently been making headlines in leading international daily papers because of the intense political situation in the country.
The country suffered a major blow in the 2007/2008 disputed presidential elections whereby local communities extended their hatred and political differences to use of machetes and other crooked weapons in solving their political indifferences in what was about to turn to genocide. Just like most of the African countries, the eruption of violence during the election periods is a common occurrence in Kenya communities attempt to have a president of ‘ their own’ in power. The country comprises of 42 ethnic groups even though four communities make a bigger proportion of the population than the rest and they are the communities that engage in cutthroat competition during the election period to a point of causing post-election violence.
These communities include Kikuyu, Abaluhyia, Kalenjin, and Luo (Murunga & Nasong'o, 2007). Political instability and mistrust amongst Kenyan communities especially during the election and after election period can be articulated to the system of ruling that the country’ s post-colonial leadership adopted from their colonial masters. Britain's colonial strategy is the main root of political conflicts not only in Kenya but also in other countries in the continent and in Asia where it created a very big gap between local communities who initially lived peacefully and harmonious.
Britain was using the ‘ divide and rule’ strategy whereby its governors and representatives in the colonies would make communities distrust one another to a point that this mistrust would intensify and ultimately prompt to tribal crashes. After independence, it was very unfortunate that most of her colonies did very little to close these gaps and up to date most of the communities fight as a result of these gaps that were created by their former colonial masters. Most of the communities in Kenya believe that they can only have social and economic progress if only they can have a president of their own, a phenomenon that makes many people perceive elections as a matter of life and death (Hornsby, 2012).
In Kenya, there is a misconception that members of the community that produces the ruling president tend to benefit more than the rest especially considering the situation in the country whereby winners take it all. This makes every community try its level best so as to have a president of their own.
As a result, communities make alliances so as to have the needed number to push one of their own into the top leadership. Elections in Kenya up to date are done on tribal blocks (alliances), an aspect that is a major threat to peace and unity of the country. In addition, Britain advocated for racism and tribalism in most of her colonies, an aspect that made some communities in her colonies presume that they are better and superior to the rest.
As a result, ethnic identification is a major problem in Kenya and in most the British former colonies. In Kenya for instance, when top job appointments are made by the president or other seniors, the first thing that people consider is the tribe from which the chosen individual comes from rather than his or her capabilities. This is a serious problem in Kenya that has immensely affected its economic growth because politicians tend to choose persons of their choice and from the communities that voted for them.
Therefore, colonialism, and more particularly its constructions of indirect rule or what scholars refer to as ‘ decentralized despotism, ’ gave rise to ethnicity as a key marker setting the limits of the boundaries of political community in ways that have in many cases endured in the post-colonial period (Rethinkingzim, 2013). Kenya has to adopt an integral state theoretical framework so that the country can enjoy long-term political stability, peace, and unity among its 42 ethnic groups. Political leaders must adopt leadership frameworks that are comprehensive, inclusive, embracing and non-marginalizing.
This would involve ensuring that all resources in the country are equitably shared with no favor to certain communities simply because it is ‘ one of their own’ who is in power. Politicians must work together and completely eradicate negative ethnicity because this is the root cause of instability in the country. They must change the mentality of their followers and prove to them that the interests of the country are important than any other personal interests. Moreover, political leaders have to shift from the traditional forms of politics which can only be termed as informal.
Politics that are characterized by high levels of selfishness towards oneself interests and that of the people surrounding him or her. In the recent past, Kenya has been making strong moves towards ensuring that all the communities are equitably represented in the country’ s governance though this has been a long journey with numerous hurdles. The introduction of a new constitution that clearly stipulated how national resources should be shared is one of the major steps that the country has made. The new constitution introduced the idea of devolved government (counties) which are almost similar to states making up the larger nation. In addition, the constitution laid down effective procedures that should be followed during elections and the general governance of the country.
The most important change that the constitution made was to reduce powers given to the president, a factor that is likely to create long-lasting political stability, peace, and unity among the citizens irrespective of their ethnic groups. Amicable and lasting peace can only be achieved in the Kenya among other African countries by engaging in a thorough and systematic understanding of the root or remote cause of the conflict, which would consequently provide the fundamental ground on which strategies for resolution, prevention, and intervention can be mapped-out by conflict resolution and negotiation experts (Hornsby, 2012).
Alemazung, Joy. (September 2010). Post-Colonial Colonialism; An analysis of International Factors and Actors Marrying African Socio-Economic and Political Development. The Journal of Pan African Studies Vol. 3, No. 10, 63.
Hornsby, C. (2012). Kenya: A history since independence. London: I. B. Tauris.
Murunga, G. R., & Nasong'o, S. W. (2007). Kenya: The struggle for democracy. Dakar, Senegal: Codesria in association with Zed Books, London, UK.
Rethinkingzim. (2013). Kenya, Zimbabwe, and South Africa: Violence and Transition in the Post Settler-Colonial States — by Brian Raftopoulos, Solomon Mungure, Nicky Rousseau and Masheti Masinjila | African Arguments. Retrieved 2014, from http://africanarguments.org/2013/07/19/kenya-zimbabwe-and-south-africa-violence-and-transition-in-post-settler-colonial-states-by-brian-raftopoulos-solomon-mungure-nicky-rousseau-and-masheti-masinjila/