Wednesday, January 02, 2008

No Demos = No Democracy.

This is a version of a comment I originally posted at Iain Dale's site about the chaos that is breaking out in Kenya at the moment, and the more general democratic failures in Africa.

One of the main problems that Africa has is a lack of nation states. Almost every country is an amalgam of several different and distinct ethnic groups which encourages politicians to pander to ethnic prejudices and encourages voters to overlook massive corruption as long as their local politician can divide some of the spoils to his own ethnic group.

Be honest, if the EU ever becomes a country and controlled most of the continents public sector revenues wouldn't you be more inclined to overlook a corrupt British politician if he brought home some of the wealth than you would if a current politician did so?

Botswana is an exception to the rule in that it is basically a nation state (there are small minority groups but they aren't numerous). Botswana is also prosperous and stable in spite of a sever Aids epidemic and I don't believe that this is a coincidence.

Update: Julia in the comments points out this map over at Laban's blog which illustrates the point about the ethnic mish mash that is Kenya:


JuliaM said...

"Almost every country is an amalgam of several different and distinct ethnic groups..."

There's a very illuminating little graphic over at Laban Tall's site on that subject today...

dearieme said...

But it's true of practically ALL countries at some stage in their development that there are multiple Peoples or Tribes or Clans or whatever, and that borders may reasonably be said to be "artificial". The last genocide-like action in Britain that I can think of was the attempt by Montrose's Irish troops to exterminate the Campbells in Argyll.

Ross said...

That's a good point, and I suppose it could be pointed out that the single most important factor in realigning Europe along nation state lines was the First World War.