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Chapter 10 begins with discussion of Burke’s critique of Warren Hastings’s rule in Eleventh Report of Select Committee. Under Hastings, the East India Company fueled bribery, extortion, and fraudulence, which eroded the bond of trust between England and Indian natives. I then discuss Speech on Fox’s India Bill, one of Burke’s most illustrious speeches in which he outlined his plan to reform the maladministration of the Company. I explain why Burke both defended the prescriptive legitimacy of the Company and argued that the corporation should return to being a commercial institution, rather than continue to operate in the capacity of a public administrator. I also explore the six mercantile principles Burke proffers in the speech that he believed were necessary maxims of ethical and effectual commercial activity. Additionally, I demonstrate that Burke’s rebuke of the Company’s violation of Indian property rights disclosed his broader belief in the importance of private property in establishing a strong landed aristocracy and vibrant commercial culture. I conclude that Burke’s attack on the Company underlined his steadfast opposition to the concentration of political and economic power.
Chapter 8 covers the last decade of Kenyatta’s life and rule. As signs of Kenyatta’s age became more visible, the 1970s were not only marked by an increasingly tense struggle for succession, but also by a more acute “tribalisation” of politics. The assassination, in 1975, of the promising young Kikuyu leader J. M. Kariuki, whose dissident politics alarmed the government, signalled a clear descent into factionalism. This chapter shows that Kenyatta was unnerved by factional disputes and rising popular disaffection. Fears of a potential coup against his regime led him to tighten his control over state institutions. The succession of Daniel arap Moi upon Kenyatta’s death in 1978 confirmed that the core of Kenya’s post-colonial state was the president’s isolated status and unrivalled ambiguity, which is the central argument of this book. By expressing his preference for Moi as a potential successor, Kenyatta not only chose a non-Kikuyu, but an isolated political player, like himself ten years earlier. Far from preparing the ground for tribal inclusion in the top sphere of government, Kenyatta’s choice helped the institution of the president to prevail over a divided elite, to compensate for weak institutional ties through presidential favours, and to preserve parochial family interests.
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