Alexis De Tocqueville was fascinated by American society and famously remarked in his 2 Volume Democracy in America "The very essence of democratic government consists in the absolute sovereignty of the majority; for there is nothing in democratic states that is capable of resisting it."
His notions of "civil society" have fed the concepts of a fair, industrious, democratic society - something that is exmained in the latest volume of the Dag Hammarsskjold Foundation's latest issue of "development dialogue" (No 49) which just thundered through the letter box.
Naturally, considering the news from Nairobi, Steve Ouma on " Civil society and the nation state - The case of Kenya" caught our attention.
He quotes Makau Mutua's *** speech to the Human Rights in East Africa shindig organised by the wealthy Ford Foundation in Nairobi in 2004 in support of his view that ...
"In Kenya...the emergence of civil society organisations in both form and character is fairly recent ...Without civil society , those in power turn into despots"
" The Kenyan background demonstrates the role of the civil society institution within the national democracy"
Views probably endorsed by President Kibaki (250,000 displaced in excess of 600 people killed up to press) as his Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula summoned Britain's High Commissioner Adam Wood to express displeasure.Officials are particularly irate at comments by beautiful, pouting, glamorous Sheffield MP Meg Munn, Parliamentary Undersecretary of State for the Foreign Office (Hansard) , that Britain has "not recognized" Kibaki's government.
"Our elections don't need a stamp of authority from the House of Commons," Moses protested to reporters.
However Mr Ouma's breezy,delightful optimism is hardly worth remarking on save he has introduced us to a useful, novel and one trusts a classification of Non Governmental Organisations (NGO) which as an ex-taxonomist ( well part time) we can recommend.
DONGO's Donor organisded NGO's
MONGO's My own NGO
GONGO's Government owned NGO's (!?)
FANGO's Family onwe NGO's
FONGO's First Lady NGO's (eg No Child Left behind ?)
*** Makua Matua SUNY DISTINGUISHED PROFESSOR AND FLOYD H. AND HILDA L. HURST FACULTY SCHOLAR , University at Buffalo Law School)
In 2002-03, while on sabbatical in Kenya, Professor Mutua was appointed by the Government of Kenya as Chairman of the Task Force on the Establishment of a Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission. The Task Force recommended a truth commission for Kenya. During the same time, Professor Mutua was a delegate to the National Constitutional Conference, the forum that produced a contested draft constitution for Kenya.
He will shortly be publishing Human Rights NGOs in East Africa: Emergent Themes, Challenges and Tensions
Meg Munn ( another wretchedly sunny optimist) chuntered on in the debate about Kenya ..."The fundamental issues that need to be addressed remain the same. All the allegations of fraud during the elections should be fully investigated. Those who are found to have acted illegally and contrary to the principles of democracy should be held to account (By whom, How, when ? Ed.). That also applies if they are found to have instigated or orchestrated violence, as has been alleged. The possibility of auditing the results of the election should be examined (Ho.Ho.Ho.), although we recognise that the original data may no longer be available. In the longer term, it is important that there is institutional reform to reduce the risk that the events of late December might be repeated."
The BBC report on Kibaki his PNU party and the Mount Kenya Mafia ..Defence Minister Njenga Karume, Nairobi university chancellor Joe Wanjui, and big time investors Nat Kangethe, accountant and never far from with Joseph Kanyago Chairman of Express Kenya, East Africa Couriers, East Africa Elevators (OTIS), Toyota Kenya Foundation and the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (KEMSA). and Nick Wanjohi ...not forgetting Naushad Merali from the Moi era - who bought the Vivendi Telecom International shares in KenCell at $230 million and sold them to Celtel the very same day for $250 million, making a cool profit of $20 million ....principal shareholder is is retired President Moi's Sameer Investments with Directors P.K. Jani and H. Da Gama Rose.... nor should we pass over long time Kibaki ally and financier of his election campaigns, Eddy Njoroge, the managing director of the Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen).
Kibaki's inner group also include the vice chancellor of the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. Others in this group include Alex Mureithi, the presidents’ nephew, Machira Gichohi, the Managing Director of the Kenya Dairy Board, Jean Kamau, a prominent lawyer working at the International Republican Institute and lawyer Lee Muthoga.
There is also the “Muthaiga Club” going back to 1992 and Kinaki's first stab at election, Julius Gecau who was connected with Kenyatta but fell out with Moi, Nat Kang’ethe of MCL, Saatchi and Saatchi, the international public relations firm, Eddy Njoroge the managing of Kengen, Peter Kanyago, a businessman and chairman, Othaya Development Group, George Muhoho, tha Managing Director Kenya Airports Authority, Duncan Ndegwa, former Central Bank Governor.
Lee Karuri an architect is also a leading Christian and with George Muhoho
a former priest (now MD Kenya Airports) represents it might be said their connections with the faithful.
There are also the Young Turks alumni of Nairobi’s Saint Mary’s School for the pampered children of the very rich including Alfred Getonga son of Simeon Getonga late Town Clerk of nairobi, the Presidents 2 son, Jimmy and David, and their ever present sister Judy Wanjiku.
To whom we can add, John Macharia, son of media tycoon S.K. Macharia of Citizen Media Group and director of Triple-A-Capital , George Thuo CEO of the City Hoppa bus company, and Mr Francis Michuki, son of Transport minister John Michuki.