Africa buries her head in sand as looters drain coffers

By: masood ahmed

The most momentous news to come out of Kenya these past few days was not the celebratory roar by supporters of the winners of respective ODMs presidential nominations.

It was the deafening silence that attended the release of a report linking allies of former President Daniel Moi to massive looting that allegedly saw billions of dollars taken out for safekeeping and investment out of the country.

One searched in vain for clamour for action by politicians and citizens in general to, at the very least, establish the veracity of the Kroll Report. Instead, the Government Spokesman was on the frontline shooting the report down as hearsay and rumour. Former officials who were adversely mentioned were given opportunity to rebut the findings.

For all intents and purposes, the matter is going to end there, which is entirely expected given the country's history, class and political configurations.

About two years back, it looked as if the country favoured political and economic class aka elite was about to unmask itself. For a few days mud flew from all directions as representatives of factions that collectively constitute about one per cent of the population but collectively own or control virtually everything in the country accused one another of looting public resources.

Masses cooperate in silence

After Constitution Affairs minister Ms Martha Karua issued not so subtle threats to the occupants of glass-houses not to throw stones, the hullaballoo ended. It was a truce that political economy predicts is inevitable in a social formation such as Kenya. The potential costs of going at each other far outweighed certain benefits of cooperation hence the cease-fire among Kenya's elite.

Slightly more difficult to explain is why the fleeced masses cooperate in silence.

But it can be explained. Every head robber in the country stands atop a patronage and ethnic mountain that forms a strategic redoubt from which he can lob salvoes at detractors and throw smokescreens to confuse the general public and to excite supporters.

Even assuming the authenticity of reports about the fleecing of Kenya is in doubt, at the very least they should generate debate even about hypotheticals such as what the sums in question could do for the country. For starters, the money could retire a substantial part of the foreign debt if that is your priority. Two billion dollars could revamp and upgrade much of the country's tired and tattered infrastructure. The amount could do wonders in education and agriculture, among other sectors.

We are not only dealing with what if here. The hard truth is those and other amounts we have no clue about that were siphoned out, and in all probability are still being siphoned out, explain why the country's economy remains hopelessly small in the light of the citizens demands.

How could it be otherwise? The very capital that would have been invested to generate further growth was drained. And that is not hypothetical. The country's toothless and irrationally expensive anti-corruption authority has told us as much. And that is as much as it has done and can do. More than that it cannot precisely because the system that sanctioned it never meant it to have any bite. And were it to ever develop a bite despite its express purpose, it will run full tilt into the usual cauldrons thrown by beneficiaries of the present set-up and their hangers on, to the very lowest levels.

Discussion about Africa's prospects frequently alludes to the continent's unique economic characteristic. Africa is the only continent in this God's own wide world whose elite consistently registers a vote of no confidence in their birthplace. Africa exports a far higher proportion of its capital than any other continent. The culprits are not who you think: foreign companies and the like. It is the African elite who by its investment decisions telegraph to all that they have no hope it the continent's future.

Article Directory:

| More

Did you find this article useful? For more useful tips and hints, points to ponder and keep in mind, techniques, and insights pertaining to credit card, do please browse for more information at our websites.

Please Rate this Article


Not yet Rated

Click the XML Icon Above to Receive Press Release Articles Articles Via RSS!

Powered by Article Dashboard