Welcome to the AFRICOMMONS blog — by Ken Flottman
I write about and highlight news and commentary on East Africa, particularly Kenya, and link to resources for further study. As an American, I often look especially at US interests, relationships and activities in the area, and how those interests, relationships and activities impact the East Africans who live there.
I started this blog in 2009 as an outgrowth of my work in democracy assistance in Kenya and Somaliland in 2007-08. In my professional life I was a lawyer for Northrop Grumman Corporation in Navy shipbuilding. Northrop Grumman was gracious enough to grant me unpaid “public service” leave to work for the International Republican Institute, a nonpartisan government-organized, Republican Party-affiliated democracy assistance organization, as their Resident Director for East Africa.
My work in Kenya included the controversial 2007 Kenyan general elections, managing USAID-funded election observation preparations and an exit poll that became the subject of considerable controversy in its own right–see my separate page on that subject.
The December 2007 Kenyan presidential election was a catastrophic failure, rigged through the changing of vote tallies enabled, as best I understand, by bribery of election officials. A key purpose of the blog has been to investigate this disaster through the Freedom of Information Act and other research and to build a record in addition to sharing my own experience.
I had the unusual fortune of working for a democracy organization chaired by Senator McCain, in Kenya, during the time that Senators McCain and Obama ran for and locked up the Republican and Democratic nominations for President of the United States, respectively, and the “birther” movement was born in the United States.
Over the years I have become an engaged “Kenya watcher”, including additional consulting work and observation of the next Kenyan election in 2013, while moving from the defense industry to healthcare in my legal career. I published around the elections in The Star in 2013 and The Elephant in 2017.
Please e-mail me at africommons [at] gmail.com with questions or comments, and any suggestions to make this blog useful to you.