Western democracy has failed in Kenya
Published on February 9, 2008, 12:00 am
Models of government based on Western politics have failed. They have not delivered tangible stability and economic growth in developing countries.
These political party models are adversarial, antagonistic and ideological.
The underlying belief is that people fall into a political spectrum running from Left wing radicals, through to Right wing reactionaries. In between, you have the mainstream of political thought in liberals and conservatives.
This spectrum is adversarial because Left wingers are ideologically opposed to Right wingers.
In Western democracies, this model works because of two important factors.
The first is that the populations of these countries are more homogenous than African countries
Second, due to more equitable distribution of resources, the differences between political factions remain ideological rather than life threatening. The differences are about what people see as a vision for the country’s future and not about its very survival.
In Africa, the fundamentals are different. Due to inequitable distribution of resources or lack of them, there is adversarial party politics, along ethnic lines. Tribes are pitted against each other in a zero sum game where the winners are perceived to have gained all the political and economic prizes. Others feel excluded, which becomes a life and death issue.
This is what triggered the post-election chaos.
The bloodletting and destruction of property is an economic-ethnic conflict.