Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

Africa for Pessimists - 2013 in Review


As usual, this year threw up its fair share of bad news, disasters and controversies. SIMON ALLISON explains the stories that have him most worried for the continent's future.

Kenya's compromised leadership

There was nothing wrong with the Kenyan elections, aside from a few inconsequential quibbles. They were generally considered free and fair, and turnout was excellent (88.6%). The problem came with the result: with a range of candidates to choose from, the majority of Kenyans plumped for the duo of Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto - two men united by little except their base pragmatism and their shared experience of being charged with crimes against humanity by the world's top court.

The pair's shared infamy comes from their alleged involvement in the post-election violence which devastated Kenya in 2007-2008. Ruto is supposed to have incited supporters of challenger Raila Odinga into the streets, armed with machetes and petrol bombs; Kenyatta is supposed to have done the same for supporters of incumbent Mwai Kibaki. These differences, which at the time proved fatal for more than 1,000 people, seemed to disappear as both politicians realized that the only thing between them and a lengthy stint in a foreign prison could be...

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