Failing states and ailing leadership in african politics in the era of globalization: Libertarian communitarianism and the kenyan experience

Journal of Global Ethics 4 (2):155 – 169 (2008)
Abstract
The article discusses the Kenyan post-2007 elections political crisis within the framework of 'libertarian communitarianism' that integrates individualistic self-interest with traditional collectivist solidarity in the era of globalization in Africa. The author argues that behind the Kenyan post-election anarchy can be analyzed as a type of 'prisoner's dilemma' framework in which self-interested rationality is placed in a collectivist social contract setting. In Kenya, this has allowed political manipulation of ethnicity as well as bad governance, both of which have prevented the building of a strong, impartial state. In Kenya, socio-economic disparities and historical injustices due to corruption, nepotism, cronyism and other forms of favoritism have maintained ethnic and other internal tensions, which exploded into open conflict after the disputed December 2007 elections. The author shows how the 'libertarian communitarist' politico-economic context lacks shared values and precludes forward-looking solutions for social justice that promote public good and national unity. Instead, a nation remains divided with its people set up in competitive positions, because there is public trust neither in partisan and self-interested governments nor in inefficient state structures with often (ethnically and/or regionally) biased (re)distribution of resources and unequal service delivery. The greed of the political elites and grievances of the ordinary citizenry maintain distrust across the nation and focus on past injustices rather than finding a shared agenda for future unity. The author suggests that in order to build up public trust, to strengthen the state structures and to gain national unity, it is necessary to focus on shared values and a forward-looking concept of justice, acceptable to all
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