Who owns Kenya? The election crisis is really a struggle over elite power

Patrick Gathara IRIN News November 3, 2017

The Supreme Court annulment of the August poll came as a real shock to a political and economic elite who had assumed the ballot would be a coronation of their chosen candidate. It was the first real attempt to use the 2010 constitution to challenge their power and status as, effectively, owners of the state.

The response was quick and effective: legislative changes to virtually make it impossible for the court to nullify another election, threats to the judges, and a dubious re-run poll to sanitise what the court had impugned. It has also included Kenyatta’s supporters extolling the benefits of a “benevolent dictator”.

It is within the context of this historically frustrated effort to bring the colonial state to heel that we must locate the current political impasse. It must not be made out to be about the Luo versus the Kikuyu (although there iwhether s an aspect of that), or Kenyatta versus Odinga (although that matters too), or election winners versus election losers (a much less convincing argument).

The real question is if the wenyenchi (the owners of the nation) will give up their control of the state to the wananchi (the people of the nation); whether they will allow the constitution to dismantle and remake the colonial state into one that works for all Kenyans.  Read full story.


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