I have been at this blog a year last week, so it is probably a good time to reflect a bit. This is probably best done off line, but I’ll take a quick start at sharing some impressions. I have a lot of partially drafted or mostly drafted posts that have been set aside in the course of keeping up with breaking developments, with my time constraints as an amateur, so I’ll go ahead and fire this off a week late rather than refine it further.
The biggest development for Kenya in the past year was been the passage of the new constitution, without doubt. Most of the impact remains an expectancy, as the old political order and a new legal order crunch against each other.
This week we are seeing the limitations of the old order “coalition”, “power sharing” or “unity” government model in the face of the possible ICC indictments for crimes against humanity related to alleged leadership roles of the six suspects named by Luis Moreno-Ocampo. To the degree to which there is unity or commonality among the various players in the government, it is at a “least common denominator” level when it comes to imposing accountability–the one thing agreed on is that leading political figures should not be accountable. Things are getting ugly as it becomes quite clear that the idea of cooperating with the ICC was never a serious consensus commitment and the failure to establish a local tribunal or otherwise pursue prosecutions for the post election violence (or vote fraud) was not based on a belief that the ICC was a better route to justice.
Likewise we see that the old Government of National Unity is not prepared to act responsibly in moving forward in implementing the new constitution, presenting challenges and dangers as we look ahead to 2012.
Outside of politics, Kenyans have revived their economy and are moving ahead in spite of the baggage of the political system.
On balance, while the existing government continues to be overripe, I am more encouraged about the intermediate future for Kenyans than I was a year ago.
From the U.S. standpoint, the Wikileaks fiasco is superficially the biggest new thing and is going to dampen a lot of holidays for our public servants I am sure, but I am hopeful that things at least will not get worse. Our overall international reputation will get better as we do better, and I suspect that on balance people around the world will be left with a general impression no worse than whatever it was beforehand. To the extent that our policies are known, I agree with most of what my country does most of the time, but like any citizen of a democracy have my dissents. I personally don’t get to read any of the leaked classified documents because I have, for extraneous reasons, a clearance that would let me read them if I had a “need to know”–thus I am at a disadvantage to other readers of the international newspapers.