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A free and open discussion is always limited. It depends on specific linguistic conventions, forms of expression and norms of social engagement that make mutual understanding possible. Together with Chapter 4, this chapter explores the nature and scope of plural and open discussions in everyday Mombasa. They identify the possibilities and limits on how people might engage in public based on the specific characteristics of discussion. This chapter focuses on street parliaments, which are gatherings that form on the ground both in the central business district and in residential neighbourhoods. Together, these chapters make an important contribution to understanding the openness of publics in Mombasa. They not only show how everyday publics existed in Mombasa, but also differentiate between forms of exclusion. They show how some forms of exclusion prevented public discussion from taking place at all, while others constrained its openness but were refutable or contestable, such as gender.
The concluding chapter considers this book’s implications for understanding popular politics in Kenya and the study of publics. It emphasises how potential change through public discussion in urban Kenya is more precarious than ever. Change does not neatly follow from intentional efforts to alter the terms of debate. Features that contradicted normative visions have been crucial to the power of publics to change shared imaginaries, for instance, material insecurity or elite networks. Further, social media has brought its own challenges. The conclusion finally reflects on the implications of this book for engagement with Arendtian scholarship on publics. Everyday publics in Mombasa show deeper and more varied insights into publics are possible when extending Arendt's ideas to take into account the implications of colonialism, anti-colonial struggles and postcolonial contexts. It also argues there is a need for serious engagement with the particularities of digital technology, and how they provide for a disjuncture between experience and control in publics.
The introduction sets out the context and framework for exploring popular politics in Kenya in the 2010s. It begins by juxtaposing a dynamic political communication landscape, with protracted and familiar repertoires through which political differences are understood. From here, it lays out the purpose of the book: to make sense of how, and to what extent, everyday publics explain continuity and change in shared political imaginaries in Kenya. It considers conceptual resources in Africanist scholarship on publics that exist to help understand the power of everyday publics on the continent, and suggests a revision of Hannah Arendt’s ideas of the power of publics as a way expand this scholarship to better account for the power of everyday publics. Finally, it also introduces Mombasa’s people’s parliaments, everyday informal gatherings that are the empirical window through which Kenya’s popular politics are examined.
Chapter 6 interrogates how controversies over land affected the convening of public discussion on the ground in Mombasa in the 2010s. Land conflicts are longstanding in Kenya, with particular tensions on the Coast. They have been a central tenet in narratives of historical injustice, and have been instrumentalised by political elite for electoral gain. Kenya’s 2010 Constitution brought new conditions, actors and ambiguities into debates over land and citizen–state relations. Ambiguities over land had very real and distinct effects on Mombasa’s street parliaments. None of the gatherings observed occupied a clearly recognised and uncontested ‘public’ space, and none were without the threat of eviction. This chapter argues that ambiguity over the gatherings’ legal right to occupy space in the city could protect the street parliaments from state control. Their spontaneous and informal nature helped them to adapt to dynamic contentions over land.
In Kenya, debates about sexual orientation have assumed center stage at several points in recent years, but particularly before and after the promulgation of the Constitution of Kenya in 2010. These debates have been fueled by religious clergy and by politicians who want to align themselves with religious organizations for respectability and legitimation, particularly by seeking to influence the nation's legal norms around sexuality. I argue that through their responses and attempts to influence legal norms, the religious and political leaders are not only responsible for the nonacceptance of same-sex relationships in Africa, but have also ensured that sexuality and embodiment have become a cultural and religious battleground. These same clergy and politicians seek to frame homosexuality as un-African, unacceptable, a threat to African moral and cultural sensibilities and sensitivities, and an affront to African moral and family values. Consequently, the perception is that homosexuals do not belong in Africa—that they cannot be entertained, accommodated, tolerated, or even understood. Ultimately, I argue that the politicization and religionization of same-sex relationships in Kenya, as elsewhere in Africa, has masked human rights debates and stifled serious academic and pragmatic engagements with important issues around sexual difference and sexual orientation while fueling negative attitudes toward people with different sexual orientations.
Local Content and Sustainable Development in Global Energy Markets analyses the topical and contentious issue of the critical intersections between local content requirements (LCRs) and the implementation of sustainable development treaties in global energy markets including Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, Latin America, South America, Australasia and the Middle East While LCRs generally aim to boost domestic value creation and economic growth, inappropriately designed LCRs could produce negative social, human rights and environmental outcomes, and a misalignment of a country's fiscal policies and global sustainable development goals. These unintended outcomes may ultimately serve as disincentive to foreign participation in a country's energy market. This book outlines the guiding principles of a sustainable and rights-based approach – focusing on transparency, accountability, gender justice and other human rights issues – to the design, application and implementation of LCRs in global energy markets to avoid misalignments.
This chapter re-evaluates the idea of the “electoral fallacy” – idea that academics and policy makers mistake elections for democracy, and in so doing exaggerate the importance of the polls. We agree that there has long been a tendency to place unrealistic expectations on the electoral process, but reject the argument that elections are unimportant when they don’t lead to political change. The great weakness of some critiques of elections that have emerged over the last twenty years – the fallacy of the fallacy – is that they have underestimated the impact of elections by misleadingly narrowing this down to the question of whether the polls result in a transfer of power. Elections have multiple, sometimes contrary effects. By creating space for politicians and voters to make reciprocal claims to patrimonial virtue they may encourage people to think of themselves primarily as members of more local communities, demanding a very personal and local accountability. But the rhetoric of campaigns and elaborate technology of elections may also encourage voters to think and behave as national citizens. In this way, electoral processes perpetuate existing forms of power at the same time as they highlight problems with, and impose constraints on, that power. Consequently, elections matter – even when they don’t change the government.
This chapter lays the foundation for what comes next by providing a summary discussion of the electoral history of each country. Intended partly to introduce names, events, dates and institutions that will be reappear in subsequent chapters, it also sets out a central element of our argument: that the history of elections has been shaped by a chronic tension between two alternative registers of virtue: a patrimonial register that revolves around reciprocity and personal relations; and a civic register that exalts bureaucratic order and emphasises the moral claims of national citizenship. The electoral histories shaped by that tension in the three countries may seem to follow different trajectories, yet they share significant features. In all three, electoral politics has continued to revolve around securing access to the resources controlled by ‘the government’; in all three, the same chronic tension persists – between elections as manifestations of civic order, and as sites for an intense local politics of clientelism and redistribution. Finally, all three continue to see high levels of electoral participation that shape political subjectivity. Widely understood as a site for moral claims-making as well as political competition, elections underwrite – albeit in a contingent way - the legitimacy of the state.
This chapter traces the history of election organization in Ghana, Kenya, and Uganda. It identifies a common pattern of technical and institutional elaboration, driven by a desire to produce procedurally perfect elections through the combination of new technologies and more professional personnel. The chapter argues that this elaboration has come at a significant financial cost, but that it has had some effect in shaping the subjectivities of those involved as electoral officials and of voters. Yet this determined attempt to promote civic virtue through electoral performance – which has attracted much support from donors - has always been challenged by forms of patrimonial claims-making that persistently intrude into the imagined order of the electoral process. Intimidation and bribery, as well as pursuit of particular interest, drive malpractice; logistical failures and errors encourage the suspicion that others may not follow the rules. Ghana, Kenya and Uganda may seem to offer different stories: Ghana’s Electoral Commission attracts international praise, while Uganda’s has been heavily criticised. Yet that difference may be overstated: there is widespread suspicion of the electoral management bodies in all three countries. The production of citizens and state through electoral performance may be powerful, but it is very far from unquestioned.
This chapter investigates civil society efforts to cultivate civic virtue through voter education programmes. We distinguish between five types of voter education: information, mobilisation, decision-making, comportment, and vigilance. Despite important differences within and between countries, we highlight how voter education efforts across all three countries seek to create "good citizens" who vote for "good leaders" by encouraging voters to internalize a civic, rather than patrimonial, register of virtue. This work has an important electoral effect and helps to imagine the Idea of civil society as a form of associational life that is of, and for, society and separate from, and capable of checking the state. At the same time, we show how, while these efforts have had some successes, they often inadvertently help to reinforce a patrimonial register – with voter education campaigns often undermined by a misunderstanding of the “problems” that need to be solved, by a failure to provide clear moral direction when other actors do not adhere to official rules, and by the complex and often contradictory roles played by civil society actors themselves. Thus, while voter education is broadly similar across all three countries, the impact is contingent on local contexts
In contrast to accounts of political mobilization that focus solely on patronage and/or co-ethnicity, this chapter argues that – to be successful – candidates need to speak to both the patrimonial and civic registers of virtue. Even aspirants who emphasise their claims to patrimonial virtue must make some claim to civic virtue and/or justify their deviation from that virtue as a necessary expedient forced on them by the nepotism or tribalism of their rivals. This need stems from the fact that both registers hold moral weight amongst the publics that politicians seek to mobilise, and is reinforced by “decampaigning” efforts whereby an aspirant’s rivals seek to attack their viability, capacity and virtue. The chapter shows how, understanding electoral campaigns in this way – i.e. as a struggle by politicians to speak to both the civic and patrimonial registers of virtue – helps to explain why campaigns are so vibrant and ground-intensive; why politicians give handouts, but also invest in projects, support particular policies, and stand up for local interests; why ethnicity can sometimes become so politically salient and divisive; and how violence and electoral malpractice can sometimes appear as justified (at least to certain audiences). Finally, the chapter underscores how politicians help to shape campaign environments through, for example, the divisions that they foster or salve, the institutions that they build or undermine, and the experiences that they imprint, but how their campaign strategies are also shaped by the political landscapes that they face – with socio-economic contexts, the structure of key political organisations, past experiences, and actions of others helping to ensure that certain messages resonate in some contexts but not in others.
This chapter discusses international observers and their efforts to improve the quality of elections. Elections are profoundly performative. They demand an audience, and since the late colonial period that audience has been in part an international one. Generations of political leaders, and civil servants, have sought to emphasise the disciplinary function of elections by reminding the public that “the eyes of the world” are upon them. The institutionalization of international election observation over the last thirty years has turned this gaze back upon the state itself: requiring and expecting behaviour in line with international norms. In the African context, though, international election observation has attracted more criticism than acclaim. We argue that this is because observers face two fundamental problems. The first is that observers’ very presence is part of the state effect of elections, conferring legitimacy, yet observers can only report critical opinions after the fact. This links to a second problem, which is that as observers respond to the numerous pressures they face they risk undermining their own credibility, especially among opposition supporters. Especially where elections have generally failed to deliver political change, this undermines the capacity of observers to encourage citizens and parties to play by the rules of the democratic game.
Chapter seven investigates what voters in Kenya, Ghana and Uganda think about different forms of electoral malpractice – what is seen to be morally wrong, and what can be justified? In particular, we focus on the exchange of money and gifts around elections – a particularly powerful lens through which to understand the complexity of moral claims making. We find that money is more likely to be handed out where political parties are institutionally weaker and politics has become more personalised, as in Kenya. We also find that the way voters think about the distribution of money is shaped by their understanding of the candidate and the meaning of the gift. Leaders who are seen to be authentic and who have a sustained relationship with an individual or a community can have their reputation bolstered by making handouts; in this context, gift-giving is usually seen as an act of generosity and evidence of “good” leadership. By contrast, those who lack moral authority are vulnerable to being accused of “vote buying” – a largely illegitimate activity in all three countries. In this way, a focus on gift-giving reveals why some leaders do not benefit from handouts, and hence why the individuals who hand out the most money do not always win.
Rusingoryx atopocranion is an extinct alcelaphin bovid from the late Pleistocene of Kenya, known for its distinctive hollow nasal crest. A bonebed of R. atopocranion from the Lake Victoria Basin provides a unique opportunity to examine the nearly complete postcranial ecomorphology of an extinct species, and yields data that are important to studying paleoenvironments and human-environment interaction. With a comparative sample of extant African bovids, we used discriminant function analyses to develop statistical ecomorphological models for 18 skeletal elements and element portions. Forelimb and hindlimb element models overwhelmingly predict that R. atopocranion was an open-adapted taxon. However, the phalanges of Rusingoryx are remarkably short relative to their breadth, a morphology outside the range of extant African bovids, which we interpret as an extreme open-habitat adaptation. It follows that even recently extinct fossil bovids can differ in important morphological ways relative to their extant counterparts, particularly if they have novel adaptations for past environments. This unusual phalanx morphology (in combination with other skeletal indications), mesowear, and dental enamel stable isotopes, demonstrate that Rusingoryx was a grassland specialist. Together, these data are consistent with independent geological and paleontological evidence for increased aridity and expanded grassland habitats across the Lake Victoria Basin.
This article explores the responsibility to protect (R2P) as an organizing concept for preventing, addressing and finding durable solutions to internal displacement in Africa. While the most innovative norms for protecting the forcibly displaced have been conceptualized in Africa, they have not durably addressed displacement, due to limitations in implementation. R2P has similarly faced criticisms emanating from a lack of clarity and distrust. Restated norms underlying frameworks for internally displaced persons (IDPs) and R2P complement each other, and can be operationalized simultaneously through a more credible regional approach, to encourage effective protection of IDPs in Africa. The article explores pillar one, pillar two and the non-coercive elements of pillar three of R2P, and its underlying moral principles, using Kenya as a case study of the process of seeking to secure state responsibility for the protection of displaced civilians victimized by mass atrocities.
The resistance of Plasmodium falciparum to antimalarial drugs remains a major impairment in the treatment and eradication of malaria globally. Following the introduction of artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT), there have been reports of delayed parasite clearance. In Kenya, artemether–lumefantrine (AL) is the recommended first-line treatment of uncomplicated malaria. This study sought to assess the efficacy of AL after a decade of use as the preferred method of managing malarial infections in Kenya. We assessed clinical and parasitological responses of children under 5 years between May and November 2015 in Chulaimbo sub-County, Kisumu, Kenya. Patients aged between 6 and 60 months with uncomplicated P. falciparum mono-infection, confirmed through microscopy, were enrolled in the study. The patients were admitted at the facility for 3 days, treated with a standard dose of AL, and then put under observation for the next 28 days for the assessment of clinical and parasitological responses. Of the 90 patients enrolled, 14 were lost to follow-up while 76 were followed through to the end of the study period. Seventy-five patients (98.7%) cleared the parasitaemia within a period of 48 h while one patient (1.3%) cleared on day 3. There was 100% adequate clinical and parasitological response. All the patients cleared the parasites on day 3 and there were no re-infections observed during the stated follow-up period. This study, therefore, concludes that AL is highly efficacious in clearing P. falciparum parasites in children aged ≥6 and ≤60 months. The study, however, underscores the need for continued monitoring of the drug to forestall both gradual ineffectiveness and possible resistance to the drug in all target users.
Digital financial technologies and innovations are opening up access to financial services to the poor. This is particularly significant in Kenya, where M-PESA has changed and revolutionized the nature and structure of the financial sector. There is, however, little understanding of the underlying mechanisms influencing the rapid diffusion and adoption of financial technologies in Africa. Following the systematic path approach to examine the emergence and diffusion of M-PESA, and analysing the functionality of M-PESA mobile money using the technology innovation system framework, this chapter contributes to the emerging literature on digital financial innovations in developing countries. The findings suggest that, despite mobile money being introduced at a time where regulatory frameworks did not exist, there has been enactment and improvement of regulations over the years. In fact, the regulatory infrastructure in the setting of Kenya has been found to have co-evolved and improved tremendously, with the co-evolution process generating alongside it useful institutional innovation and learning.
Do elections turn people into democratic citizens? Elections have long been seen as a way to foster democracy, development and security in Africa, with many hoping that the secret ballot would transform states. Adopting a new approach that focusses on the moral economy of elections, Nic Cheeseman, Gabrielle Lynch and Justin Willis show how elections are shaped by competing visions of what it means to be a good leader, bureaucrat or citizen. Using a mixed-methods study of elections in Ghana, Kenya and Uganda, they explore moral claims made by officials, politicians, civil society, international observers and voters themselves. This radical new lens reveals that elections are the site of intense moral contestation, which helps to explain why there is such vigourous participation in processes that often seem flawed. Demonstrating the impact of these debates on six decades of electoral practice, they explain why the behaviour of those involved so frequently transgresses national law and international norms, as well as the ways in which such transgressions are evaluated and critiqued – so that despite the purported significance of 'vote-buying', the candidates that spend the most do not always win.