Sunday, March 09, 2008

Kenya: back from the brink?

Here's the Register's editorial on the tentative and tenuous truce in Kenya. The troubles there demonstrate that democracy is not always a good way to bring stability to a country. It also shows just how deep the roots of ethnic and tribal identity go. Almost everybody thought Kenya was reasonably stable and something of a success story. But the dominance of the Kikuyu over the Luo and other tribes, with roots in the colonial era, turned out to be much more widely resented than almost anybody realized. When the Kikuyu president stole an election, the place erupted in violence, and now hundreds of thousands of people have moved to tribal areas (some of whom have never actually lived there) to get away from it.

There's no core U.S. interest in Kenya, and U.S. activity has been pretty minimal. People of good will hope the truce holds and there's a modicum of reconciliation, but it will be up to Kenyans to figure it out.

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