Too much power in too few hands
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
For the moment, the news from
But "good" is a sickening word in the circumstances, wildly outweighed by the ungoodness that restoration should be necessary at all. Moreover, the methods of restoration so far show no reasonable signs of cutting out future repeat acts. Nor of obviating similar disasters in others of the world's flimsier democracies.
The nub of the problem is not the personalities of the players or the characteristics of the people behind them, or the concatenation of ethnic loyalties that now spill out of hiding. The nub is the set of conventions that have become attached to democracy.
Democracy originally conveyed the notion that people exercise power over their lives. Widely now, and especially in respect of newer democracies, the idea is that if the population is given a more or less free choice to fill in a winner-take-all headcount behind one of two contesting Big Men, voila! Democracy is fulfilled.
Kenya's (contested) election figures show 4.5 million votes for Kibaki, 4.3 million for Odinga. That split would have returned Kibaki and his people something more than 90% of
That, finally, is the difference. In