IRIN has one of these forehead-smacking no shit! articles up about how the violence in Kenya is about power, greed, and poverty, not "tribal hatreds."

NAIROBI, 9 January 2008 (IRIN) – The wave of violence that engulfed Kenya after the presidential election has been widely described as tribal or ethnic in nature. But analysts in the east African country point to basic economics as the true cause of the unrest.

Widespread violence and a humanitarian crisis were triggered by the 30 December announcement that incumbent Mwai Kibaki had won a  hotly contested presidential poll amid opposition claims of rigging and international observers’ reports of serious irregularities in the vote-tallying process.

“In the urban areas, there was a lot of senseless burning and looting, which was people taking out their economic grievances during a leadership vacuum. They just let loose and attacked any targets, burning their neighbours’ houses, regardless of whether they are PNU [Party of National Unity, Kibaki’s party] or ODM [Orange Democratic Movement, the opposition],” Macharia Gaitho, a political columnist, told IRIN.

While specific ethnic groups – there are more than 40 in Kenya – were targeted during the violence, the tensions that led to such clashes were not the result of ethnicity per se, but, according an editorial in the Sunday Nation newspaper, an almost inevitable consequence of the country’s economic system: “Kenya practises a brutal, inhuman brand of capitalism that encourages a fierce competition for survival, wealth and power. Those who can’t compete successfully are allowed to live like animals in slums.”

But, of course, admitting any of this would be, I dunno, Marxist or something –and therefore wrong, naughty, wash-you-brain-out-with-Dial-soap bad.

Oh yeah, and it would also mean admitting that, maybe just maybe, the developed world and the Bretton Woods institutions need own up to their share of responsibility when awful things happen in Africa.

Advertisements