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Africa Update

Things in Kenya have certainly quieted down, but from all reports, the nation is in shambles. Many thousands have relocated to safer areas, which are those areas where their particular tribe is welcome. Violence has subsided, thank God, but this may only be because there isn't much left to burn or attack. The talks between the two sides of the disputed election continue and Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary General, is trying to mediate an agreement between the two sides, focusing on a power-sharing government between the two. President Bush is in East Africa right now, and he has called for a resolution to the crisis by forming a government run by both parties.

I'm not a political scientist, but it seems to me that a power-sharing coalition government isn't the answer to Kenya's problems. A power-sharing government won't work, because a two- or multi-party system of democracy isn't designed ever to work that way.

Can you imagine if we had the same problem in the United States? Could you see the U.S. president being from one party and the vice-president from the other? We tried that in the first three elections in our history and it didn't work. It won't work in Kenya either. The multi-party system exists to create discussion, intense debate and scrutiny among the parties and their adherents. It is a form of checks-and-balances. The one party is to do all it can to govern and the other is to all it can to raise questions, concerns and debate that will limit the other party's effectiveness. The only time the parties are supposed to work together is during a major national crisis, like World War II and 9-11. Plus they already have a power-sharing of sorts in Kenya, for the opposition party controls parliament, while the ruling party has the presidency.

Opposition parties exist to oppose their rivals. They just aren't supposed to kill them.

How can we think that what has never worked in this country, a mature democracy, can work in an emerging democracy like Kenya? It can't. The real problem in Kenya is the flawed election. The only answer in my mind is another election, or else the opposition party is content with being just that -- the opposition and rules what it can from its majority in Parliament. Rest assured, however, that if they do the latter, the presidential party will do all it can to obstruct and harass them, and vice versa. If the two do agree to share power, whatever that means, they will work from within to undermine, even sabotage, everything and anything that anyone attempts to do until a new election can be held in 2010.

The two sides have agreed to "review the election." What is that supposed to mean? Isn't that what they have been doing since December 27? You can read about the decision here.

Meanwhile in Zimbabwe, an opposition candidate has shocked the world by announcing his candidacy for president in March 29 elections. Simba Makoni, a former member of President Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, has broken ranks and decided to run. He has decided this in the midst of chaotic conditions there, which include 66,000% inflation, less than quality drinking water and severe shortages of just about everything. I pray for the peace of Zimbabwe as the elections approach and that my friends there will be spared the horrors of Kenya as people attempt to vote.

You can read about some of what is going on in Zimbabwe at this site. As I share this site, however, I do not want to be perceived as "taking sides" or being critical of the existing government. If you have other news stories or comments to make about Zimbabwe, feel free to use my site to inform my readers. The site I have referenced seems to have a large collection of stories about the latest conditions in Zimbabwe; that is the only reason why I reference it in this post. If you want to know what I think about Zimbabwe, you can reference a site I write for called A Better Zimbabwe.

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