The Kenyan Kakistocracy

If you’ve noticed an eerie silence coming from the direction of Kenya, it’s because many of us are struggling to believe that what the news is telling us. William Samoei Ruto, former deputy president and International Criminal Court indictee, has been declared president-elect of Kenya. Ruto garnered 50.5 percent of the valid votes cast, while Raila Odinga received 48.9 percent. Voters in countries like the United States and Brazil will be familiar with this feeling, waking up in the days after an election watching an unapologetically dangerous figure ascend to the most powerful office in the country. What will the future look like now?

When you work in political analysis, there is often pressure to remain “objective,” particularly when you are not white and you are doing extensive work on your own home country. If you spend too much of your time telling the truth about people, you face the risk of being consigned to the status of “native informer,” meaning your work is not given its own merit but becomes fodder for explaining “the Other” to the West. At the same time, the experience of countries like the United States shows how limiting this misguided objectivity can be. Some people don’t deserve the benefit of the doubt. Some ideas should be called out before they take root, gain power, and eventually guide the country. Objectivity, as framed in Western political thought, is a luxury that is primarily afforded by those who will not be directly harmed by the fallout of political outcomes.

— source | Nanjala Nyabola | Aug 17, 2022

Nullius in verba


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