Thursday, August 19, 2004

The State of the State in Kenya:Neo, Post or Recolonized?

By Onyango Oloo


I want to tell you– and this is a true and verifiable data­– that each cow grazing in the European Union receives in its four stomachs 2.20 dollars a day in subsidies, thus having a better situation than 2.5 billion poor people in the South who hardly survive with an income less than 2 dollars a day.
- Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela, March, 2004

Onyango Oloo Examines the Political Power Structures in Kenya

1.0.Who Will Control the State in Venezuela?

I found out that I share a birthday with Tipper Gore,Matthew Perry, John Stamos, Christian Slater, Bill Clinton, Johnny Nash, Ogden Nash, Orville Wright and a little Kenyan girl in Toronto called Malaika Wamboi.

Sean Penn and Malcom-Jamal Warner celebrated their 45th and 35th birthdays respectively, yesterday...

Happy Birthday to all of them!

I turned 44 today.

Can you imagine that!

One day you are an earnest bookish 12 year old boy in the old Kakamega District, reading the Famous Five series by Enid Blyton far into the night, illuminated by a hurricane kerosene lamp- you go to bed, wake up and find out that you are in Scarborough,Ontario shivering in the frigid fall as a 28 year old newly arrived Canadian resident; one weekend you are a thirtysomething newly single clean-shaven man once again locking lips leisurely with a sensual eager twentysomething athletic female compatriot from Kiambu in the evening on an almost deserted corner of Toronto beach front after dusk on a sweltery Caribana evening; the next week you are in your early forties fighting back tears in a rural homestead in western Kenya, staring at the green grass under which your two brothers, your dad and one of your sister are buried, all but one of them when you were thousands of miles away.

My son was like one of those advance voters- he called me last evening to wish me happy birthday because he knew he would be gone to day camp first thing this morning.

I would like to thank all those who wished me happy birthday- from my two exes who were teasing me about applying for housing in the senior citizens' home to the many well-wishers online who posted their greetings.

Ahsanteni Sana!

By far the best news this week for me has come out of South America.

And it has a DIRECT bearing on Kenya.

It has to do with this man:

His name is

Hugo Chavez

And these


Are some of his followers.

He is one of the most powerful political orators on this planet breathing oxygen at this very moment, as you can see from this March 2004 speech

Here is a small thumbnail sketch of Venezuela

Geographically, this where you will find Venezuela:

And this is how the country looks like:

Even before the big day, Hugo Chavez had put a Big Show of Force and warned the United States that he was ready for 100 years of War

Here is a clue as to nature of the so called Venezuelan opposition

Some of their dubious,“sketchy” methods

Check out this Manifesto in support of the Venezuelan people:

And this interview with Tariq Ali drives the point home:

I first saw the news of the results of the referendum on this Cuban web site :

Greg Wilpert is an American activist who lives in Caracas where he is involved in solidarity work. He has provided a very detailed account of the August 15 referendum

The Cuban government were prompt in issuing a statement of support :

Medea Benjamin is a member of Global Exchange and one the leading lights of Code Pink. She was also one of the international observers at Sunday's referendum and this is what she had to say :

This is a Special DUNIA Presentation on Venezuela recorded August 18, 2004

But the opposition has so FAR REFUSED
to face the reality of their LOSS

2.0. Serikali Gani?

Often when we translate the word “serikali” from Kiswahili into English, we render is as “government.”

And that is OK.

For the purposes of this essay,however, I want to use the word “serikali” in a very specific, restricted sense.

I want “Serikali" to mean the “State.”

And again, some people use the word “state” as a SYNONYM for “nation” or “country” and yet a “state” is not a nation, nor is a country necessary a nation. And I am not going to veer off into a tangential controversy about the differences between a “nation” and a “country” although the Kiswahili distinctions of “serikali”(state), “taifa”(nation) “jamhuri” (republic) and “nchi”(country) should suffice to explain the differences in these concepts.

Marxist-Leninists have had more than their fair share of taking turns, waxing poetic and prosaic on the subject of the state and it is no surprise that even in the African parlance, a good percentage of the leading theorists on the state are either Marxists or people influenced by Marxism-Cabral, Nkrumah,Mafeje, Shivji, Tandon, Mamdani,Ntalaja,Slovo, Cronin,Ihonbvere,Ake,Jordan, Marcelino dos Santos and others.

So I am not issuing any prizes for any one who will be the first to guess where this definition of the state comes from:

“...the state is a special repressive force."

That is what Lenin (echoing Engels) said.

But what did he mean?

Bourgeois ideologues have seized on the language and especially the concept of the “dictatorship of the proletariat” to give it their own liberal spin- essentially distorting these words to imply that Lenin from the get go advocated a COMMUNIST DICTATORSHIP led by a ruthless cabal of party appartchiks and their bosses in their dachas.

THAT, is the SUPERFICIAL, gross misinformed and jaundiced misintepretation of Lenin's depiction of the State.

With his typical Marxist candour, Lenin was moving beyond bourgeois opportunism and cant to call things by their real name.

By the way, as an aside, was Marx a Marxist and was Lenin a Leninist?

Just kidding. Inside joke. Ha.Ha.Never mind. Let us move on...

And what he was saying was this:

In a socially stratified society, there is NO SUCH THING as a “neutral” serikali that serves ALL of the citizens of a country equally.

There is NO equality before the law or equality of opportunity.

There is no social contract between the rulers and the ruled.

That is why I loved those KANU bigwigs when they said, “KANU ina wenyewe” meaning that there was a particular clique of politicians that really owned and controlled KANU.

Today one can say the same thing about NAK, LDP, KANU and other political formations-and we are only talking about parties.

Of course there is always the popular fiction rooted in Rousseau and other petit-bourgeois liberal philosophers that a state comes into being as a result of some mythical social contract. The contemporary version of this urban legend is that when “citizens” of a “democracy” go to the polls every four or five years, they “elect” a “government” than then proceeds to oversee the running of the “democratic state” on behalf of the “citizens” and “tax payers” who have given them a popular and legal mandate.

This illusion exists most strongly in advanced capitalist countries like Canada, Germany, Japan, the United States, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Sweden, France and so on. Given the maturity of monopoly capitalism, these societies can afford the trappings of bourgeois liberal democracy- civil rights and certain fundamental freedoms guaranteed and protected by law and even politicians being occasionally susceptible to popular pressure.

At the same time we do know that when push comes to shove, the various elites representing the dominant forces of capital in these societies will call the shots.

I will share three examples:

(a) The Canada-US Free Trade Agreement.

It was a very unpopular move on the part of then Prime Minister Brian Mulroney (and it eventually helped to seal his political fate a couple of years down the road). Yet this job killing pact between the two dominant fractions of capital in the USA and Canada eventually became law.

(b)The decision by George Bush and his New American Centurions to illegally invade, occupy and pillage the “sovereign state” of Iraq.

Bush ignored the popular din and then identified the key people he needed to corall among the corporate representative in the Congress to have his way. Related to that is the decision to pussyfoot around ENRON in spite of a popular outcry from the American people.

(c) Spanish PM making his nation as part of the Coalition of the Bribed and the Killing despite the fact that 90% of the Spanish people expressed their opposition clearly indicates that these cabals know that each “serikali” “ina wenyewe.”

But it is all done deftly and with a great deal of sophistication. As Chomsky has taught us in another context, people are often persuaded to participate in their own subjugation directly or indirectly through the manufacture of consent. And this gets to the poin where someone feels there are “free” if they can get their letter to the editor published in their local paper; if they can get to smash a pie into the pudgy face of the local mayor, stomp on a flag, scream at a uniformed police officer or spit on their trained canine colleagues.

Going back to Lenin's depiction of the state as a special coercive force, we find out that he derived that concept from the following passages of Fredrick Engels' Origin of the Family,Private Property and the State, which traces the concept historically:

"The state is, therefore, by no means a power forced on society from without; just as little is it 'the reality of the ethical idea', 'the image and reality of reason', as Hegel maintains. Rather, it is a product of society at a certain stage of development; it is the admission that this society has become entangled in an insoluble contradiction with itself, that it has split into irreconcilable antagonisms which it is powerless to dispel. But in order that these antagonisms, these classes with conflicting economic interests, might not consume themselves and society in fruitless struggle, it became necessary to have a power, seemingly standing above society, that would alleviate the conflict and keep it within the bounds of 'order'; and this power, arisen out of society but placing itself above it, and alienating itself more and more from it, is the state...As distinct from the old gentile [tribal or clan] order, the state, first, divides its subjects according to territory...This division seems "natural" to us, but it costs a prolonged struggle against the old organization according to generations or tribes. The second distinguishing feature is the establishment of a public power which no longer directly coincides with the population organizing itself as an armed force. This special, public power is necessary because a self-acting armed organization of the population has become impossible since the split into classes.... This public power exists in every state; it consists not merely of armed men but also of material adjuncts, prisons, and institutions of coercion of all kinds, of which gentile [clan] society knew nothing...."

This Marxist conceptualization of the State is very far removed from the familiar liberal and superficial fictions we often come across in texts churned out by run of the mill bourgeois academics the world over who have an ideological investment in keeping the true character of this apparatus of power and social control hidden from the very people it lords over.

It is very convenient for imperialists in the North and their surrogates in the South to lead their subjects on thinking they have some of say in the day to day running of the affairs of state.

To a certain extent, part of the seething anger by millions of Kenyans against Kibaki and his NAK cronies (an anger that I have myself, expressed several times) for “selling out” the aspirations of the Wananchi is thus completely misplaced because if you look at it from the perspective of the Michukis and Murungarus, they did not sell out anybody; their access to some of the state levers of power- everything from ensuring that Kibaki was the designated Presidential candidate to ensuring it was the Muthauras and Keriris handling the cabinet and public appointments in January 2003 were part of a consciously thought out plan to ensure that a certain faction or fragment of the comprador/petit-bourgeoisie in Kenya gained control over this or that segment of the state.

If for example, acceding to the Bomas Draft would thwart those plans they would put as many obstacles on the way to its passage as possible. Likewise for the LDP faction- if pushing for the Bomas Draft would increase its overall chances of being the dominant local player in the state then they would of course do everything possible to make this a reality.

Notice that these adroit factional manouvres have very little to do with democratization.

But why would someone want to control the Kenyan state?

Just before that,any more light on what constitutes the instruments of state coercion?

Apart from the OBVIOUS ONES like the police, the prisons, the courts there are other secondary ones like access to paid employment, the civil service and public sector, parliament,ideological institutions and instruments like the media and other affiliated structures.

In a so called “Third World” country with a dependent economy such as Kenya's, controlling the levers of state power is doubly crucial because the state is the ng'ombe ya gredi, it is the mrija from which these political business Anglofleecing Goldenbergers suck national resources from the state coffers to fatten themselves and their immediate families, friends, schoolmates, drinking and golfing partners and of course, the associated network of courtesans and get away drivers.

If you, dear most likely “liberal-democratic” Reader, put on OUR Marxist spectacles that we are very willing to lend YOU, then you then see how impatient are the Murungarus and Co who are so impatient with people who are standing in their way as they to consolidate their local aspects of state power- which as we will soon see, is a little bit more complex, a structure so wedded to the global imperialist project as to reduce the Kibakis to mere errand boys who are rewarded with paltry personal payoffs that only serve to undermine the willingness of Kenyan politicians to exhibit a backbone that would enable them to stand up to the World Banks and the IMFs.

What kind of a state is the one that exists in Kenya?

First of all, let us rule out what IT IS NOT.

Kenya is NOT and INDEPENDENT state.

Clearly the vomiting (or the vomited on) Edward Clays and their fellow Western envoys have all but demonstrated that our local misrulers take their orders from smug, often racist, foreign, unelected securocrats, bureaucrats and diplomats.

Secondly, Kenya is NOT a democratic state.

Can anyone say “Sulumeti, Njoya, Ringera na Kiraitu wanataka kukomesha katiba kutoka Bomas”?

Thirdly, Kenya is NOT a Wananchi's State- which definitely would have had a very different and definite set of priorities than the ones which sees today as Kibaki begs for food after blaming the weather while his ever fattening assistant minister urges us to arm ourselves with rungus, mikuki, mishale and njoras with which to club, pierce,slash and chop up the mice, rats and bats senseless and into tiny bits and pieces if we want to guarantee our next available source of abundant and non-imported protein.

Fourthly, there is nothing “progressive” about the state that exists in Kenya today-it would not let a young mother of twins wallow in a medical clinic in Nyambene, locked up in the clinic because she could not afford her treatment.

Summing up, whatever else it is, we know this about the current character of the Kenyan State:

It is a dependent,undemocratic, backward anti-people structure of organized overt and covert coercion.

Sometimes we call such States “neo-colonial”.

Why “neo-colonial”?

Why not “post-colonial”?

Why not “rogue”?

Why not “failed” state?

For a very simple reason.

The person who is writing is neither a garden variety petit-bourgeois liberal hack yapping about “transparency, good governance and accountability” nor is he a pompous academic jackass who has blown the final whistle on all prospects for “reform” in Kenya because all these polticians and activists have refused to play nice and just do their little “liberalism, democracy and human rights” TM meditation session.

Mainstream bourgeois scholarship is notoriously nebulous and imprecise when it comes to nailing down concepts and definitions about various social, economic and political phenomena.

For instance, if you ask an average, regular petit-bourgeois Kenyan sociologist to describe for you, in their own words, our country's social class structure, they will imediately blurt out such crude and mechanical words like “lower class” “middle-class” “upper middle-class” and even throw in the notorious “underclass” that mean precious little when you want to examine the relationships that large groups of Kenyans have to each other in terms of their economic functions and attendant power dynamics.

This is not the place to go into details showing WHY an impoverished dukawallah in Shauri Yako estate, Nakuru, is STILL a member of the Kenya petit-bourgeoisie while a highly paid webmaster at Nation Newspapers on Kimathi Street, Nairobi, remains a member of the Kenyan working class- their CLASS IDENTITY being underscored by their relationship to the MEANS OF PRODUCTION rather than by their income levels-even as we realize that the dukawallah is likely to close his duka to become a cashier at Uchumi or Nakumatt even as the unionized webmaster ponders over whether it is time to quit his day job to open a cybercafe/webhosting business.....

Demonize and trash it all you want but many political scientists and others who dabble in the social sciences ACKNOWLEDGE the enormous value the Marxist-Leninist approach has added enormously and tremendously to the study of human society-whether you want to talk about philosophy, politics, economics, social theory, literature, psychology, anthropology, linguistics and yes, sociology as well...

The notion of the “post-colonial state” in my opinion describes a historical juncture rather than the structure or character of a specific, historically determined type of state.

It is like describing an adult as a “post-child”-the only useful information you glean from that label is that said individual is way past childhood- but you will still have to look elsewhere to describe the ADULT in front of you.

Click on the link below to find out why some people have serious problems with the term postcolonial literature
for example.

Gayatri Chakravoty Spivak is one of the gurus worshipped in the postcolonial pagodas of Western academia precisely because she is seen as an “authentic” “Southern” post-modernist(how my skin crawls when I read or write this term) anti-dote to the Marxist-Leninist tradition. Today we will leave Ms. Spivak alone. The post-modernists will be skewered on another day, not today....

What is a “Rogue State”?

I think that the United States and the United Kingdom QUALIFY amply for this diagnosis of “Rogue State”, even though I suspect that the coiners of the term “rogue state” did not have these IMPERIALIST monopoly capitalist states in mind when they did that from their neo-conservative,Ivy League ivory towers.

And a “Failed State” to me would be more of a MORAL value judgment rather than an OBJECTIVE description of a certain political structure existing concretely at a given point in human history.

Why is Somalia a “failed state” just because it lacks a CENTRAL GOVERNMENT as opposed to Canada with its strong FEDERAL GOVERNMENT that has nevertheless SO FAR FAILED to solve the NATIONAL QUESTION in Quebec?

It is obvious that it depends on who is doing the FINGER POINTING and in whose interests.

3.0. Kenya as a Neo-Colony

That is why I am sticking with the term “NEO-COLONIAL State” to describe the kind of state we have had in Kenya since December 12,1963.

What is neo-colonialism, better known in Kiswahili as ukoloni mamboleo as opposed to ukoloni mkongwe(orthodox colonialism or just plain old colonialism)?

One of the most useful and enduring definitions of neo-colonialism does NOT come from Moscow, Beijing or Havana-but rather Accra, Ghana.

Many contemporary African political commentators who call themselves “Pan Africanists” and evoke the name of Kwame Nkrumah as their ideological(and allegedly non-Marxist) hero often overlook the STUBBORN HISTORICAL FACT that Kwame Nkrumah died as a Marxist-Leninist, becoming ideologically clearer AFTER he was turfed out of power in 1966 via a CIA engineered coup de tat(“change of state”).

It was towards the end of his brilliant life that this great son of Africa produced some of his most enduring contributions to modern political science.

Here is Kwame Nkrumah talking about Neo-Colonialism

For our purposes, this extract is key:

THE neo-colonialism of today represents imperialism in its final and perhaps its most dangerous stage. In the past it was possible to convert a country upon which a neo-colonial regime had been imposed-Egypt in the nineteenth century is an example — into a colonial territory. Today this process is no longer feasible. Old-fashioned colonialism is by no means entirely abolished. It still constitutes an African problem, but it is everywhere on the retreat. Once a territory has become nominally independent it is no longer possible, as it was in the last century, to reverse the process. Existing colonies may linger on, but no new colonies will be created. In place of colonialism as the main instrument of imperialism we have today neo-colonialism.The essence of neo-colonialism is that the State which is subject to it is, in theory, independent and has all the outward trappings of international sovereignty. In reality its economic system and thus its political policy is directed from outside.The methods and form of this direction can take various shapes. For example, in an extreme case the troops of the imperial power may garrison the territory of the neo-colonial State and control the government of it. More often, however, neo-colonialist control is exercised through economic or monetary means. The neo-colonial State may be obliged to take the manufactured products of the imperialist power to the exclusion of competing products from elsewhere. Control over government policy in the neo-colonial State may be secured by payments towards the cost of running the State, by the provision of civil servants in positions where they can dictate policy, and by monetary control over foreign exchange through the imposition of a banking system controlled by the imperial power.Where neo-colonialism exists the power exercising control is often the State which formerly ruled the territory in question, but this is not necessarily so. For example, in the case of South Vietnam the former imperial power was France, but neo-colonial control of the State has now gone to the United States. It is possible that neo-colonial control may be exercised by a consortium of financial interests which are not specifically identifiable with any particular State. The control of the Congo by great international financial concerns is a case in point.The result of neo-colonialism is that foreign capital is used for the exploitation rather than for the development of the less developed parts of the world. Investment under neo-colonialism increases rather than decreases the gap between the rich and the poor countries of the world...”

This was written by Kwame Nkrumah in 1965, almost forty years ago.

In order to update this analysis of neo-colonialism for 2004, we need to hear the echoes from the moving speech delivered in March this year by Hugo Chavez:

...the triumphant chant of the Neo-liberal Globalization, which today, besides an objective reality, is a weapon of manipulation intended to force us to passiveness faced to an Economic World Order that excludes our South countries and condemns them to the never-ending role of producers of wealth and recipients of leftovers.

Never before had the world such a tremendous scientific-technical potential, such a capacity to generate wealth and well-being. Authentic technological wonders that have made any place in the world to be always close with regard to distances and communications and have not been capable of bringing well-being for everybody, but only for a meager 15% living in the countries of the North.

Globalization has not brought the so-called interdependence, but an increase in dependency. Instead of wealth globalization, there is poverty wide spreading. Development has not become general, or been shared. To the contrary, the abysm between North and South is now so huge, that the unsustainability of the current economic order and the blindness of the people who try to justify continuing to enjoy opulence and waste, are evident.

The face of this world economic order of globalization with a neo-liberal sign is not only Internet, virtual reality or the exploration of the space.

This face can also be seen, and with a greater dramatic character in the countries of the South, in the 790 millions of people who are starving, 800 millions of illiterate adults, 654 millions of human beings who live today in the south and who will not grow older than 40 years of age. This is the harsh and hard face of the work economic order dominated by the Neoliberalism and seen every year in the south, the death of over 11 millions of boys and girls below 5 years of age caused by illnesses that are practically always preventable and curable and who die at the appalling rate of over 30 thousand every day, 21 every minute, 10 each 30 seconds. In the South, the proportion of children suffering of malnutrition reaches up to 50% in quite a few countries, while according to the FAO, a child who lives in the First World will consume throughout his or her life, the equivalent to what 50 children consume in an underdeveloped country.
The great possibilities that a globalization of solidarity and true cooperation could bring to all people in the world through the scientific-technical wonders, has been reduced by the neo-liberal model to this grotesque caricature full of exploitation and social injustice.
Our countries of the South were repeated a thousand times that the sole and true “science” capable of ensuring development and well-being for everybody, without exception, was synthesized in leaving the markets operate without regulation, privatizing everything and creating the conditions for transnational capital investment, and banning the State from intervening the economy.

Almost the magic and wonderful philosopher’s stone!!

Neoliberal thought and politics were created in the North to serve their interests, but it should be highlighted that they have never been truly applied there, but they have been spread throughout the South in the past two decades and reached the disastrous category of a single thought.

Through the application of the sole thought, the world economy as a whole grew less than in the three decades between 1945 and 1975, when the Keynesian theories promoting market regulation through State intervention were applied. The gap separating the North and the South continued to grow, not only with regard to economic indicators, but also in he strategic sector of access to knowledge, from which the fundamental possibility of integral development in our times arises.
The countries of the North with 15% of the world population count with over 85% of Internet users and control 97% of the patents. These countries have an average of over 10 years of schooling, while in the countries of the South schooling hardly reaches 3.7 years and in many countries is even lower.

The tragedy of underdevelopment and poverty in Africa, which historic roots lay in colonialism and the slavery of millions of its children, is now reinforced by the neoliberalism from the North. In this region, the rate of infant mortality in children under 1 year of age is 107 per each thousand children born alive, while in the develop countries this rate is 6 per each thousand children born alive; also, life expectancy is 48 years, thirty years less than in countries of the North.

In Asia, economic growth in some countries has been remarkable, but the region, as a whole, still presents a delay with regard to the North in basic economic and social development aspects.
We are, dear friends, in Latin America, the favorite scenario of the neo-liberal model in the past decades. Here, neoliberalism reached the status of a dogma and was applied with greatest severity.

Its catastrophic results can be easily seen and are the explanation for the growing and uncontrollable social protest that the poor people and the excluded people of Latin America have been expressing, every day more vigorously, for some years now, claiming their right to life, to education, to health, to culture, to a decent living as human beings.

Dear friends:

I saw with my own eyes, a day like today but exactly 15 years ago, the 27 of February 1989, when an intense day of protest broke out on the streets of Caracas against the neo-liberal package of the International Monetary Fund and ended in a real massacre known as “The Caracazo”.
The neo-liberal model promised Latin Americans greater economic growth, but during the neo-liberal years growth has not even reached half the growth achieved in the 1945-1975 period with different politics.

The model recommended the most strict financial liberalization and exchange freedom to achieve a greater influx of foreign capitals and greater stability. But in neo-liberal years the financial crises have been more intense and frequent than ever before, the external regional debts non-existent at the end of the Second World War amounts today to 750 billion dollars, the per capita highest debt in the world and in several countries is equal to more than half the GDP. Only between 1990 and the year 2002, Latin America made external debt payments amounting to 1 trillion 528 billions of dollars, which duplicates the amount of the current debt and represented an annual average payment of 118 billions. That is, we pay the debt every 6.3 years, but this evil burden continues to be there, unchanging and inextinguishable.
It is a never-ending debt!!

Obviously, this debt has exceeded the normal and reasonable payment commitments by any debtor and has turned into an instrument to undercapitalize our countries additionally to the imposition of socially adverse measures that subsequently generate powerful politically destabilizing factors for the governments that insist in their implementation.

We were asked to be ultraliberal in trade and to lift any barrier, which may obstruct the imports coming from the North, but the oral champions of free trade actually are the champions in the praxis of protectionism. The North spends 1 billion dollars a day in practicing what has been banned from doing, that is, subsidizing inefficient products.

I want to tell you– and this is a true and verifiable data­– that each cow grazing in the European Union receives in its four stomachs 2.20 dollars a day in subsidies, thus having a better situation than 2.5 billion poor people in the South who hardly survive with an income less than 2 dollars a day.

With the FTAA, the government of the United States wants us to reach a zero tariff situation in their benefit and wants us to give away our markets, our oil, our water resources and biodiversity, in addition to our sovereignty, whereas walls of subsidies for agriculture keep access closed to the market of that country. It is a peculiar way of relieving the huge commercial deficit of the United States, to do exactly the contrary to what they present as a sacred principle in economic policy.

Neoliberalism promised Latin American people that if they accepted the demands of the multinational capital, investments would overflow the region. Indeed, the incoming capital increased. A portion to buy state-owned companies sometimes at bargain prices, another portion was speculative capital to seize the opportunities involved in the financial liberalization environment.

The neo-liberal model promised that after a painful adjustment period necessary to deprive the State of its regulatory power over economy and liberalize trade and finance, wealth would spread over Latin America and the long-lasting history of poverty and underdevelopment would be left behind. But the painful and temporary adjustment became permanent and appears to become everlasting. The results cannot be concealed.

Taking 1980 as the conventional year of the commencement of the neo-liberal cycle, by that time around 35 percent of the Latin American population were poor. Two decades thereafter, 44 percent of Latin American men and women are poor. Poverty is particularly cruel to children. It is a sad reality that in Latin America most of the poor people are children and most children are poor. In the late 90s’, the Economic Commission for Latin America reported that 58 percent of children under 5 were poor, as well as 57% of children with ages ranging from 6 to 12.

Poverty among children and teenagers tends to reinforce and perpetuate inequalities of access to education, as shown by a survey conducted by the Inter-American Development Bank on 15 countries where householders in 10 percent of the population with the highest income had an average schooling of 11 years, whereas among householders in 30 percent of the lowest income population such average was 4 years.

Neoliberalism promised wealth. And poverty has spread, thus making of Latin America the most unequal region over the world in terms of income distribution. In the region, the wealthiest 10 percent of the population –those who are satisfied with neoliberalism and feel enthusiastic about the FTAA- receive nearly 50 percent of the total income, where the poorest 10 percent – those who never appear in high class society chronicles of the oligarchic mass media–barely receive 1.5 percent of such total income.

This exploitation model has turned Latin America and the Caribbean into a social bomb ready to explode, should anti-development, unemployment and poverty keep increasing.

Even though the social struggles are growing sharp and even some governments have been overthrown by uprisings, we are told by the North that the neo-liberal reform has not yielded good results because it has not been implemented in full.

So, they now intend to recommend the formula of suicide.But we know, brothers and sisters, that countries do not commit suicide. The people of our countries awake, stand up and fight!

-Hugo Chavez

One of my favourite authors is James Petras, originally from Brazil and a long time fixture on the anti-imperialist scene. He has been ruthless in critiquing the ideological renegades from the Marxist movement who have now gone over to the safe confines of the supposedly “more balanced” of civil society fence-sitting. A big thing in the NGO movement is the trendy trashing of the State-even as these formations dominated by middle- class elites survive on the largesse of Western States in terms of funding support.

Click on this link to read him talking about the centrality of the nation-state

Here is the PDF version of the same essay

He articulates the now familiar thesis of the “Recolonized State”:

Re-colonized States: The State as a Terrain for Struggle:

The starting point for any discussion of Third World States (TWS) is historical - most TWS developed socio-economic policies contrary to the IMF and WB prescriptions through out the period between 1945-1975. The basic reason had little to do with the existence or not of the U.S.S.R. The main reason was the social classes, political alliances and ideology that directed TWS policy and pressure from the mass movements. Throughout this 30 year period, the imperial states, specifically the U.S. pressured TWS to liberalize their economies, privatize public enterprises etc. Most TWS resisted these imperial pressures (now dubbed globalization). Two basic changes took place which altered this scenario: imperialist powers led by the U.S. launched a military offensive, utilizing mercenary client military-political forces in Southern Africa, Central and South America and Asia to destroy the economies and topple nationalist and socialist regime which rejected the liberal program. The second change was the ascendancy in the Third World of a new transnational capitalist class (TCC) (including top political functionaries) linked to international financial circuits, with overseas bank accounts and investments and largely engaged in export markets. This TCC, sharing the neo-liberal program of the imperial powers, became the dominant class in TWS and proceeded to implement policies privileging the interests of the imperial powers. The dynamic interplay between TCC and the imperial powers, produced, what is mistakenly described as globalization. What really emerged is the re-colonization of the Third World via the pivotal role of TCC in Third World States.

The TWS are described by globalization theorists as without any power, lacking the attributes of a state and incapable of resisting the forces of globalization. There are several problems with this approach. First of all it amalgamates all Third World States under the same rubric failing to distinguish those who, in the past with possessed different attributes from the contemporary neo-colonial states. Secondly it fails to take account of the fact that the TWS were active agents in developing the policies that facilitated the liberalization of the economies. Thirdly, globalization theorists cannot account for the variations in TWS policy with regard to the liberal agenda of the imperial powers. Fourthly, they overlook the importance of the new class configuration, TCC, which has gained ascendancy in the State and pushes the liberal agenda. Fifthly, the globalists understate the scope and depth of state intervention in the liberal economy and society, equating a weak state with the absence of a social welfare state. In fact, the neo-colonial state is as active, regulatory and interventionist as the populist or welfare state, but its activity, rules and intervention is directed to serve different class interests - foreign capital and TCC.

While the re-colonized states (RS) act on behalf of foreign capitalists, bankers and states, they require and retain substantial resources and consequential attributes that enable the RS to fulfill its mission. In fact, without a strong (re-colonized) state the imperial goals would be imperiled. Strength is measured in this context by the capacity of state actors and institutions to carry out fundamental structural changes and ensure their stabilization against the majority of the popular social movements, trade unions and political parties. While the re-colonized state appears weak before the demands of the IFIs, it is strong in translating those demands into national policies. In fact, the concept of weak state is of dubious value, since the re-colonized state shares the policies of the imperial state and is made up of the associates of the MNC - its own TCC - and therefore cannot be conceived of as capitulating to the IFI or being dominated by these so-called global forces.

The centrality of the R.S. in the liberal counter-revolution is evident in several inter-related policy areas.


The RS in consultation with the IFI implements its liberal agenda by privatization of the strategic and lucrative public enterprises. Privatization requires intensive state intervention including the making of political alliances, repression of trade unions and/or firing of militant workers, socializing the debts of the enterprises, securing the advise of overseas investment banks in organizing the sale, intervening to ensure that favored buyers have purchasing advantages, and eliminating any rate or price controls, if the public enterprise operated with fixed fees.

Imposition of Structural Adjustment Policies

Essentially SAP means far more than mere economic adjustment and structural refers to class power, wealth and control [14]. In this case, the RS is extremely important and active since SAP involves changing property ownership (from public to private, from national to private), imposing regressive taxes (increasing VAT against progressive taxation on the rich and foreign capital), reconcentrating income and property (regressive wage policies, freezing minimum wages, promoting agro-business at the expense of peasant agriculture, etc.), lowering tariff barriers (bankrupting national producers, allowing MNC greater shares of local markets, etc.), lowering social expenditures for health and education and increasing subsidies for exporters. SAP is a strategy for and by the ruling class TCC and foreign capital and against the great majority of local producers, workers and peasants. It increases inequality and poverty. To implement SAP requires a strong state willing to persist against the opposition of the majority, an ideologically committed state willing to shed its historical role as an independent entity and to reject the idea of popular sovereignty in order to implement policies via authoritarian means, by executive decree.

Who speaks of a neo-liberal regime speaks for a powerful state which imposes and implements its policies.

Flexibility of Labor

This is a euphemism for concentrating power in the hands of the employers and the RS. The new so-called Labor and Pension Reforms are policies that increase the powers of employers to hire workers on precarious contracts and fire them with little or no severance pay. It represents the total subjection of labor to capital, workers are excluded from any voice in hours or days worked, safety or health conditions. The precarious contracts give workers no job security as employment is based on short term contracts without vacations, pensions, etc. The privatization of pension funds put billions of dollars in the hands of private investment houses who receive exorbitant managements fees and access to funds for speculation and fraud, enriching the few and threatening the retirement income of millions. Implementing the regressive labor and pension legislation requires a strong state which can intervene against the popular sectors of civil society, and repress and resist strong trade union protests. Enforcement requires consolidating support among the capitalist class, and securing backing from the IFIs - which is readily available. A weak state would not be able to resist the pressures of the popular classes, it would make concessions. A strong state would ignore the protests and proceed to implement the regressive labor and pension legislation.

In examining the most important policies pursued by the RS it is clear that the scope and depth of state intervention is as strong as ever. The main difference is in the socio-economic direction of state activism and intervention: liberal neo-statism involves intervention to transfer wealth and property to the private rich especially foreign capital. The RS has not de-regulated the economy, it has established new rules governing incomes policy, pensions, labor relations, import-export policies, flow of capital, etc. The new rules, favoring the TCC and foreign capital, require a new regulatory regime, in which labor-capital populists-nationalists are replaced by representatives of the new liberal ruling class.

In the dismantling of the previous regulatory regime and social economy, and the construction of the new liberal economy and society, the re-colonized state plays an essential activist and interventionist role- albeit one operating under the dominance of the imperial state...”

Hassan Gardezi
has tried to apply Nkrumah's neo-colonial hypothesis to explain politics in Pakistan

Of late, there has been a lot of controversy about alleged irregularities in determining who was the rightful winner of the bid to become the third mobile operator and the second national telephone carrier- involving a lot of local,diasporic and international intrigues having to do with the corporate wheeling and dealing behind the scenes.

I was therefore entranced by this account of a Peruvian TELEPHONE COMPANY operating as a full-fledged neo-colonial entity

I first met Prof. Julius O. Ihonvbere about twelve years ago when he used to live in Church and Gerard area and lecture at the University of Toronto(he later on moved, first to the University of Austin in Texas and the Ford Foundation in New York). His discussion below on the

contemporary African states is worth a glance

The veteran Tanzanian academic, activist and commentator
Prof. Issa Shivji provides a continental overview of the struggle for democracy in Africa:

His Ugandan counterpart Mahmood Mamdani echoes similar concerns

A radical, US- based Afrocentric site has carried a piece that decries the neo-colonial tendencies in Kenya

In late 1981 a group of Kenyans with very pronouced socialist and underground anti-imperialist leanings came out with a clandestine pamphlet called “Cheche Kenya” Cheche is Kiswahili for Spark and it is not difficult to discern which historical movement they were trying to identify with. “Cheche Kenya” was one of the earliest written critiques of neo-colonial dependcy in Kenya. A year later the same pamphlet was republished by Zed as In Dependent Kenya. If you want to order the book
click here

ROK Ajulu is a Kenyan social scientist who has been living and working in southern Africa for decades,currenly in the Department of Political Studies, Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa. In his Thinking Through The Crisis of Democratization in Kenya: A Response to Adar and Murunga(African Sociological Review, 4(2) 2000, pp133-157 he takes on some of his compatriots regarding the nature of the Kenyan state especially the assertions that seem to take the Kenyatta regime off the hook when it comes to political repression.
You can access a PDF version of this essay through google

Sadik, a Kenyan online pundit writing in Mashada gavethis inside look at the evolution of the mainstream political parties:

Oduor Ongwen has been writing a great deal over the last ten years at least about the
political economy of regional trade agreements

Prof. Yash Tandon, the Ugandan born activist-scholar behind the creation of SEATINI in one of his many insightful inteventions warns against the revisionist illusions fostered by the apparent rift within the so called
Washington Consensus

4.0.The Internal Wrangles Within NARC are the Manifestations of the Last Howls of the Dying Comprador Canines

Kenyans should actually celebrate what is going on within NARC and by extension, all the other mainstream political parties and also the realignments within the mainstream commanding sections of the Kenyan civil society sector.

That is why last week I was figuratively putting on my dancing shoes as my way of greeting Makau wa Mutua's pronouncement of the death of the Kenyan reform movement.

We must appreciate two tendencies which are moving in opposite directions.

On the one hand, since the huge outcry that greeted the political assassination of Robert Ouko, the Kenyan people have been more and more adamant about expressing their opposition to state repression and have continued to take advantage of any opening of democratic space to push the agenda of national renewal forward.

At the same time the country's comprador and petit-bourgeois elite forces have viewed any loosening up of political tension as an excuse to cobble more insider deals among the wabenzi na mababi- from horse- trading about political power sharing arrangements(the infamous MOUs) to politic appointments( monopolized by the Mount Kenya Mafia and those elites outside those elites who are willing to play ball- cf. members of the Luo elite close to Raphael Tuju who seem, like Omamo and Ogutu in the seventies to be the primary beneficiaries of the NAK's faction worried marginalization of Raila Odinga and his colleagues in the LDP.

But even here it is getting bizarre.

Check out the following story in the August 18th edition of the Standard:
click here

That turf warfare seems to be almost identical to this one:
click here

and virtually indistinguishable from this one
click here

and not that different from this one:

click here

or this one:

click here

Some of my readers may be startled by what may, on the surface seem like far-fetched comparisions.

But they have common theme-internal wranglings within the Kenyan power elite, totally devoid of ideological significance.

Once, sometimes in mid 1988, when I was upstairs in my cousin's house in Msasani-Mikoroshini Dar es Salaam reading one of Hoxha's(Albanian ultra leftist strongman) tomes I came across this Albanian proverb:

“You can not fart higher than your ass.”

Meaning in the Kenyan comprador context, these petit-bourgeois elites are almost like the Canadian geese which fly south each winter- it almost a biological impulse for them to fight over their territories rather than push the agenda of the Kenyan people who elected them to parliament.

The clearest dereliction of duty of course is the way a very big chunk of them junked the people-driven constitution agenda as soon as they had acquired brand new 4WDs.

Another blatant pointer at their myopic opportunism is the way the idea of fighting corruption has now been subordinated to internal witch hunts under the guise of fighting corruption.

In the week that Ngugi and Njeeri were attacked Kenyans have not seen, let alone heard from the Internal Security ministry leading Oloo to unleash the rumour that CHRIS MURUNGARU IS IN IRAQ AS THE 4th KENYAN HOSTAGE having been kidnapped by a crack Saddam loyalist unit lurking in wait for the political pharmacist deep in one of the washrooms of the ever so exclusive Mount Kenya Sofia Resort in Kieni where you can get the popular Panya Grilled Ala Njeru Special on Thursday's after 6:50 but before 9:28 in the evenings for only 3,456 shillings without the chameleon appetizer...

I have publicly speculated about the possibility of a “third force” and one of my older friends and political comrades has wondered openly whether we have a night government(I would call them a government of jojuogi by jojuogi for jojuogi- a government of night runners, by nigh runners for night runners).

In my Liberia essay I did speak about the privatization of violence and the need to bring closure to the victims of the clashes by PROSECUTING the war lords responsible for Molo, Burnt Forest, Trans Mara, Likoni and elsewhere

Below is the relevant quotation:

“In the opinion of this writer, the present NAK faction in Kenya-of which President Kibaki is a member-has so retrabilized Kenyan society as to leave it EXTREMELY vulnerable to manipulation by past, present and future war lords who can be found among the present ruling circles as well as several of the former KANU chieftains.

In the 1990s, the east African country was rocked with a series of very violent politically motivated ethnic clashes in places such as Molo, Burnt Forest, Trans Mara, Likoni and elsewhere.

About two years ago, the Akiwumi Commission published its findings:
on clashes in the Rift Vally, the Coast,Nyanza, Western and the North Eastern province.

The report fingered several high profile politicians among them former powerful cabinet ministers like Nicholas Biwott and Julius Sunkuli and present powerful cabinet ministers like Karisa Maitha and William Ole Ntimama.

Yet even two months BEFORE he was elected President, Mwai Kibaki had begun singing the "forgive and forget" song that saw Mzee Jomo Kenyatta let foreign and local war criminals walk scot free after the horrors they had perpetrated during the Mau Mau war for national independence.

More troubling were revelations that well-conected figures in Kenya were themselves investing very heavily in "security enterprises" like Executive Outcomes and Sandline international. One of these individuals named is none other than one of the low profile sons of the former head of state that no one ever hears about....

The current internal conflicts WITHIN NARC are potentially very dangerous for the future political stability of Kenya and the deepening of the national democratic renewal.

I now want to advance three reasons why I think this is the case.

I am suggesting that we should not underestimate these three reasons, while not letting go of a wider progresive vision that locates the mobilization for the Kenyan democratic and progressive national project among the popular sectors and the more ideologically grounded forces within the broader forces fighting for change in Kenya.

One, these internal NARC dog fights are NOT based on ideology by and large but around paranoia about certain individuals who are seen by others either to be clinging on to power or trying to grab the same.

Two, these intra-factional tussles within the Kenyan rulic bloc are overlaid with heavy undertones and overtones of tribalism and regionalism which threatens to conjure up ethnic based responses like creating tribal militias to defend the interests of this or that community or region.

Three, many of the adversaries in NAK, LDP, KANU and even Ford-People have either being tagged to being actual war lords with their tribal militias waiting in the wings or are actually capable of morphing into ethnic war lords with entire communities waiting for their call.

These three reasons threaten to transform any worsening of the current impasse within the fractious and raucous neo-colonial comprador bourgeois Kenyan dueling factions into a full-fledged ethnic conflagration with tribal massacres, internal refugees and burning crops in abandoned fields taking place all over Kenya.

It matters little to the present writer if he is met with the usual dismissive and derisive charges of being an "alarmist." I am sharing an opinion and challenging my detractors to provide an ALTERNATIVE and CREDIBLE counter analysis that challenges the basis of my arguments, or refutes my position altogether. I do not claim to be an oracle or a twenty first century Jeremiah speaking grimly of a nation torn asunder.

All I am doing is making what I think are valid projections based on what continues to be very disturbing sabre rattling by war-like politicians who keep hinting darkly and smugly that they have their secret armies lurking in the shadows waiting to shock the wananchi with an abrupt eruption of a brutal fight to the finish to "settle" once for all who will be the top dog among these neo-colonial hounds...

As a matter of fact, I want to go ahead and WARN PUBLICLY, AHEAD OF TIME that if the Kenyan democratic forces do not move fast enough to anticipate, contain and transcend the fall out from the brewing crisis within NARC; if we do not move with sufficient speed and create an ALTERNATIVE, INDEPENDENT, NATIONAL BASE of LEFT WING political organizing, we may be all consumed with these internal NARC flames; we may actually be helpless witnesses as Kenya goes the way of Somalia, rather than a Liberia- with selfish and ideologically bankrupt Kenyan politicians opting to carve up Kenya rather than giving up and growing up from their narrow navel gazing and unquenchable narcissism in their mad quest for ephemeral power.

My call on progressive Kenyans, as always, is to urge all of us to redouble our efforts to create an alternative leadership.

6.0.Time for the Wananchi to SEIZE Political Power!

Kenya is crying out for a Hugo Chavez.

Who is going to take be our own homegrown Geraldine Moleketi-Fraser?

More importantly, where is our Mass Democratic Movement?

Where is our United Democratic Front?

Let me quote something from the link to the Tariq Ali inteview that appeared earlier in this essay:

But I think, from that point of view, the Venezuelan example is the most interesting one. It says:

‘in order to change the world you have to take power, and you have to begin to implement change—in small doses if necessary—but you have to do it. Without it nothing will change.- Tariq Ali.

We can whine about the repressive neo-colonial state until the cows come home.

The most important task is to actually mobilize across the country to overthrow the present NARC government in the process of carrying out a national democratic revolution.

It is really that simple. And that challenging because NONE of the elites will give up power voluntarily.

We are talking about millions of Kenyas confronting a brutal neo-colonial state without any arms and with hardly any support base outside the country. We are talking about mobilizing a populace which still believes in the Nyachaes, Railas, Kiraitus, Kibakis, Ntimamas, Mois, Ngilus Biwotts, Kombos, Kalonzos, Maithas and the other chieftains.

And yet that is now the ONLY option left for the Kenyan people.

Fundamental political change will NOT come through yet another multi-party election- 1992, 1997 and 2002 mock us in their aftermath. Drafting a wonderful document that lays out progressive democratic ideals is almost irrelevant if it is blocked at every turn by intransigient comprador- petit bourgeois elites who can not see further than their distended pot bellies.

Revolutionary change NEED NOT be BLOODY or VIOLENT- in fact, in most historical cases, the wananchi rarely choose bloodshed and violence as their first option. From my Liberia essay, you have seen how much I have been at pains to debunk the SHALLOW ROMANTICIZATION OF ARMED STRUGGLE.

So THAT is not what I am talking about.

I am talking about what Tariq Ali, James Petras and Hugo Chavez are all talking about- the entry onto the Kenyan mainstream political stage by the wananchi themselves, minus the usual gate keepers.

Here is a comment from a South African communist worth pondering over:

There were already the signs of all of what I'm talking about present prior to 1994, in the multi-party negotiations period and I wrote about it at the time in a piece... which I think I called "The boat, the tap and the Leipzig way". I was trying to typify/characterise what I thought were three different views about the mass mobilisation, popular involvement in this period of negotiations.

The position in the ANC, which I characterised as the boat position, was: don't rock the boat. Basically the royal road to democracy, to achieving our strategic objectives, was negotiations and nothing should be done to rock the boat in that process and, if we mobilised people in the midst of the negotiations, the apartheid regime would walk away or unleash its own mobilisation of one kind or another, the dirty war and so forth. So don't rock the boat. That was coming through from very senior quarters in the ANC, some of those elements in the ANC who were taking that position in the early 1990s, are very powerful inside the ANC at present.

The second position, which I characterised as the tap, was the attitude of: mass mobilisation is important, at particular moments, so it has to be turned on and off. In my view, Mandela typified that perspective. He had an understanding and an experience from the 50s, his own experience from the 1950s, of mass mobilisation being very much at the heart of the revitalisation of the ANC. As a youth leader in the late 1940s, it led a revolt of the activists against a rather moribund, middle-class ANC leadership at the time and that had spearheaded a decade on ANC revitalisation, of strikes, of stay-aways, of boycotts, many of the tactics of mobilisation which became so central in the 1980s again. So you had a feel and an understanding of that, but tended in my view to have a somewhat mechanical attitude to popular participation.

The third position at the time we called the Leipzig way, in the light of events in Leipzig, was that sustained and continued popular pressure was critical for the negotiations itself. Far from undermining the negotiations, it would serve two purposes. It was critical in exchanging the balance of forces in the negotiations process itself. We used to say at the time, obviously I was a leipziger, that what transpires in the negotiations was as the result of the balances of forces outside of the negotiating chamber.

And that wasn't a static reality. The regime,the apartheid regime at the time, understood that very well and was unleashing a very brutal, low-intensity warfare strategy against us, the assassination of key cadres, including Chris Hani But that was just one of the thousands of key cadres. It wasn't the negotiators, I was one of them, we weren't particularly targeted, it was the critical organisational link between the organisers and the massed ranks, which was our one strength at the time, but were being targeted for assassination. Then also the general unleashing of violence: random, terrorist violence against trains, taxi-ranks, schools, townships and so forth, to sow confusion and demoralisation and so on and basically to knock away the link between the ANC leadership and its one strength. We needed to mount, not our own counter-terror, but we needed to mobilise mass forces partly to defend ourselves in the face of this so that, and this was critical, so that they were themselves part and parcel of the negotiation process.
I would say that none of those 3 schools of thought within the ANC had a clear-cut hegemony over the process within the ANC itself. It was a contested perspective and there was mutual suspicion. The don’t-rock-the-boaters thought that many of us were endangering the negotiations process and delaying it with some of those strategies. We really felt that they were not understanding what we were up against. So there were waves of significant mobilisation in that period. I think that those waves were critical in actually bringing about eventually the negotiations and the relatively favourable outcome to those negotiations.

After the Hani assassination, there was a major mobilisation wave that occurred then in a response. That was clearly critical. Within three weeks of his assassination, the final outcome to the negotiations was then settled and the elections then happened in exactly one year and three weeks after his assassination. It was mass mobilisation that did it. What was interesting was that in the course of the mobilisation, the response to Hani's assassination was: we must go and kill whites and what are we negotiating for? The ANC was able to inject political leadership into that to say: no, the assassins want you to say that. We have got to now demand the immediate implementation of the process leading up to elections. We were well able to do that.
In doing that and also getting mobilised massed forces to take up the national negotiating demands, we began to find they were also taking up their own local negotiating demands. So they would take up the demand for one-person, one-vote elections and so forth, for a unitary dispensation and so on, but at the same time in their mobilisation they would raise issues around non-access to the local town hall for meetings or the treatment that the white police were meting out to the people in the township in this particular police station and so on. They began to find that for once, their counterparts, the white mayor or the white police commander or local white business (for example, there were boycotts of shops in this process) began to negotiate with them, something that they hadn’t particularly found before.

So in my opinion it’s very important to understand what happened in the 1990s, but to hold onto that as an understanding for the future: that the negotiations themselves were mass-based and there were local-level negotiations happening. The transformation of South Africa wasn’t just the product of two wise men, a DeKlerk and a Mandela, shaking hands on a deal and having the farsightedness to understand that South Africa…

-Jeremy Cronin, MP, ANC NEC member, SACP Deputy Secretary Genera

To end where we started:

If the present Kenyan state is a repressive, undemocratic neocolonial state maintaining a dependent, parasitic local “economy” that is subservient to the dictats of US led imperialist machinations in the region, then it follows that progressive Kenyans must struggle TO SEIZE STATE power in order to DESTROY the neo-colonial state and replace it with a NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC STATE whose main legal safeguard must be a people-driven KATIBA.

Get me now?

I will leave you with one of the main spokespersons for Katiba Watch, the lobby group agitating and mobilizing for the promulgation of the Zero Draft passed by the Bomas delegates as the new democratic constitution for Kenya. We spoke about the attacks on Njeeri wa Ngugi and Ngugi wa Thiong'o, the Constitution of Kenya Review (Amendment) Act of 2004,the public rallies, the reaction of the Kenya civil society formations and the role of Kenyans abroad:

an interview I conducted with Wahu Kaara

Onyango Oloo
Thursday, August 19th, 2004
11:30 am EST

I will now go somewhere without a computer, a phone, a television, a radio or a newspaper and savour the first day of my forty fourth year on earth for all its worth...