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Quick Hits April 8

– One of the better written pieces on Mobitelea that I have seen. Too bad this issue was handled shoddily by ODM, they had a real opportunity to give this story legs. And I like that there is some finger pointing and Vodafone and the Brits as well – it takes two to tango.

– Interesting look at the growth of the Huffington Post.

– How good people turn evil…I meant to link to this a while back, when we were grappling with how people could hack and burn their long-time neighbours.

– Political assassinations of autocrats, good for sustained democracy? Hmm.

10 comments to Quick Hits April 8

  • I hope it is not bad manners to point out that the Minister for Transport and Telecommunications in 2000 was ODM’s DPM-designate, and that the then Minister for Finance won the Nambale seat on an ODM ticket. In short, it was terribly unlikely that ODM would handle it other than badly. The less said about PNU the better, especially since they have had access to the Parliamentary report for several years.

    Zimbardo isn’t great: there’ve been other experiments showing a significantly lower likelihood to engage in the sort of behaviour he was able to elicit, so, as the wikipedia article says, there are doubts about the generality of his conclusions. But I’m hopelessly biased: virtue ethics rulz OK, so dispositional explanations rule too.

    More to the point, rather a lot of the PEV was directed, planned, and paid for: people in the Rift Valley received texts urging them to finish the job; the HRW report has eyewitnesses to a meeting at which attacks on Turbo and Eldoret were planned; KNHRC have evidence that the assailants were paid for arson and murder. And, as David Anderson has pointed out, politics in Kenya has steadily gotten more violent since the 1990s, at least in part because the ethnic cleansers then have never faced serious legal difficulty.

    So there isn’t any great difficulty in grasping the immediate causes of the PEV, and there aren’t too many people who got up and decided to hack their neighbours to death on the spur of the moment. That is not the central case of the PEV. Hence the dilemma: if the invocation of Zimbardo is supposed to explain the PEV, then it’s redundant, because there are already good explanations in place; if Zimbardo is supposed to explain the spontaneous ethnic violence, it doesn’t explain the central cases of PEV.

  • Kamau

    Totally agree on the quality of Abdulahi Ahmednasir’s article. I’ve always found his take on Issues refreshingly insightful. Hopefully he has some political ambitions – he sure would make a fine policy maker. My fantasy political lineup would include some of his contemporaries – Kiai and Donald Kipkorir amongst others. Whether there’s a chance of this ever happening is another matter altogether.

    Back to Mobitelea, I doubt what legal recourse was left for ODM especially with all the Vodafone’s confidentiality meme. As “a true friend”, one would have expected London to step up to the plate and help unmask the true identity of Vodafone (K). I don’t profess to know much about how they conduct legislative business in London but if Washington is anything to go by, I bet the finance oversight committee MPs were bribed, I mean, lobbied like hell to play ball and go easy on any Vodafone investigation. Against this backdrop, ODM should have targeted where it hurts most. They should have used their megaphones, cult like following and readily available FREE PRESS to call for boycott of safaricom business. A massive customer switch to rival career (s) would have sent a clear message not only to powers that be but most importantly to Vodafone that they can no longer take Africans for dummies and expect a windfall off of it.

    Maybe it’s too late in the day to call for such boycott given that a sizeable number of Kenyans have a financial state too but this option should remain on the table since , surprise surprise, money talk is the only universal language that these wingnuts understand, whether operating in NY, London or Nairobi…aaaarrrggggg, how depressing…..

  • kenyabodycount

    I did not appreciate Ahmednasir’s round about way of saying nothing.
    Everyone knows that Mobitea is Moi Biwott telecoms of EA. In the interest of full disclosure, I am a fan of Mudavadi. He, like Vodafone, we caught between a rock and a hard place, but obviously Kenyans are much better off for what they did.

  • kenyabodycount

    The “corruption” was on the Vodafone side of the contract, kenyan officials had (in theory and in law) NO knowledge
    or/and control on who vodafone was fraternizing with.

    We could choose our wife, but we couldnot choose (and we were not even introduced) to her relatives

  • Jaxy

    In my opinion it should not be left upon ODM alone to blow the whistle, Ory . What about the established institutions such as the CMA that are overseeing the Safaricom share deal. What about Michael Joseph- How come no one is aking for his opinion. At least some people in ODM called foul . What about Amos Kimunya who deosn’t seem to mind the sale going on ?I Know the fault lies with both parties but at the moment it is under the jursisdication of the institutions that are in charge. Ministry of Finance and KMA.

  • Freshom from KTTC

    I disagree with the way Kibaki and Raila are treating Kenyan voter. through constant lies. We do not expect to be treated like this after giving them a job through our voting cards.
    Let them swallow their pride and give us the servises we asked for. Since December we did not have a cabinet and our lives have been going on as usual; cant we do without it!

  • Omozungu

    Off topic, but a question: early on I saw reports about large increases in sexual violence during the post-election violence. Has there been any sustained reaction to this? Confirmation of it? Groups speaking out about it? Was it meant as a political tool? Intimidation?

  • Ory Okolloh

    Omozungu, please contact wangechi-at-creaw.org – she should be able to give you specific answers. There is also a SGBV cluster meeting every thursday at the UNOCHA offices in gigiri that brings together all actors that have been working on this issue and perhaps thats a good place to also look for the information that you are seeking. I’ll try and get the contacts for you.

  • Omozungu

    Thanks Ory.
    Am I correct that the issue of sexual violence hasn’t received much press attention?

  • Ory Okolloh

    Omozungu, I think it hasn’t. You’ve inspired me to follow up on the issue, a post is forthcoming.