Potential Hot Spots: January 27, 2004

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: Corruption increases instability in developing nations. Kenya has conducted a successful democratic election and helped promote a peace deal in south Sudan. However, Kenyans know they must deal effectively with their own legacy of political and economic corruption or face the consequences. One of the consequences is inter-tribal violence. Tribes cooperate when they think they are getting a fair deal, and the rule of law is a way to a fair deal. The situation in most sub-Saharan countries is the gang in power favors its own tribe and cousin tribes. Kenya wants to move past that. Thats tough to do. Heres a telling example: Kenya has been investigating a racket allegedly run by a company called Goldenberg International. Goldenberg and some government officials are suspected of stealing around $600 million between 1990 and 1993. The company and its co-conspirators were moving gold and diamonds through Kenya. One western source pointed out that $600 million is more than ten percent of Kenyas annual GDP. However, the investigation has been repeatedly suspended because influential politicians (and perhaps influential but corrupt police investigators) dont want it to proceed. A Kenyan publication said that the investigating commission is being thwarted by members of former President Daniel Arap Mois government. Western reports also mentioned some leaders in the current government. The huge amount of money involved in the Goldenberg scandal has already affected Kenya economically. In 1997 the IMF curtailed loans because of corruption in Kenya. The IMF specifically mentioned the Goldenberg investigation. Tribal leaders are watching. Will there be a new Kenya, or just a new generation of klelptocrats? (Austin Bay)

 

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