The past 4 days have seen Kenya, the darling of East Africa, propelled into post-election violence, which some are now referring to as "genocide". The name, "Rwanda" keeps coming up in reports of this "unrest", which pits the majority Kikuyu (who make up ~22% of the Kenyan population) supporters of Kibaki against the 3rd largest ethnic group, the Luo (who make up ~13%), who support the opposition (Odinga). About 300 people are estimated to have died and tens of thousands have been displaced from their homes. The military has been deployed to assist in averting a humanitarian crisis but from CNN footage on the turmoil, they don't seem to be having much success in stopping the violence. According to a source in this allAfrica.com article, "Ordinary Kenyans who are dying never participated in the irregularities being cited in the electoral process. They only exercised their democratic right to vote."
The US and UK are "calling for compromise," African Union Chairman, President Kufuor, and Desmond Tutu are scheduled to visit Nairobi, as well as Condoleeza Rice and David Miliband.
This situation is more shocking specifically because Kenya has always been viewed as a stable democracy. No one would have been too surprised if our dearest "troubled giant" had found herself in this sort of mess after our 2007 elections but thankfully we didn't. Now it is up to the international powers-that-be AS WELL AS our own African leaders to put pressure on President Kibaki to put the people of Kenya first, even if it means stepping down while a full recount of the votes (under international supervision) is conducted. Unfortunately, the US and UK have stopped short of calling for this although they have noted that there have been serious irregularities in the vote-counting process (on both sides).
Why can't we get democracy RIGHT in Africa? Could it be because it wasn't MEANT for us? Then again, democracy hasn't always existed, and the democratic powers-that-be didn't get it right in one day/decade/century. Maybe it's time to start developing a theory of "Democracy LITE", that would account for our failure to get elections (government OF and BY the people) and power transitions right. All eyes on Ghana in '08 & South Africa in '09 to show us how it's done, mayhaps.