NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan. 2 — Kenya was considered the most stable capitalist democracy in this part of Africa and a gold mine for imperialist exploitation, but the violence following the rigged presidential election last week has blown all that. Kenya is too important for world imperialism not to try to squash a power struggle between two politicians that could turn into another Rwanda. The two candidates are using tribal politics in their fight but in reality their thirst for a bigger piece of the capitalist pie is behind this conflict. The two men became enemies after Kibaki (the current ruler) reneged on a 2002 deal that would have given Odinga (the opposition candidate claiming fraud) the premiership in return for his support in the election.
Kenya’s importance to the imperialists is as a regional base for multi-national corporations like Barclays Bank, British American Tobacco and Unilever, among others who viciously exploit African workers. Its port of Mombassa is crucial to transport manufactured goods, fuel and military equipment for Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and southern Sudan. Financial Times columnist Michael Holman, wrote (1/1/08)): “For the outside world, Kenya has been the acceptable face of Africa: a safe destination for a million tourists a year from Europe, Asia and North America to the country of surf and safari; a reliable base, in a tough neighbourhood, for a burgeoning aid industry; regional headquarters for the United Nations; and — less well-known — a country whose military pacts with the U.S. and Britain have made it a crucial ally in the ‘war against terror.’ Kenyan politics, however, has never been healthy. It has been dominated by ethnic allegiances, stained by assassination, distorted by one-party rule until 1991 and, above all, oiled by endemic corruption.” These are central features of worldwide capitalism.
The U.S. government wanted the situation to remain stable enough to have congratulated Kibaki for his “victory,” even though it’s common knowledge it was fraudulent. Then, on Dec. 31, Washington effectively retracted that initial position with a fresh statement expressing concern about “serious problems experienced during the vote-counting process.”
The instability of world capitalism, with its imperialist wars, economic crises, corruption and fascist terror, is deadly for workers and their allies in Kenya, Pakistan, Iraq and more “hot spots” that will surely arise in the future. This instability sharpens the divisions among workers and their allies along tribal, religious and national lines. These contradictions cannot be solved under capitalism. The world’s workers are in dire need of rebuilding an international revolutionary communist movement that unites our class and allies based on our common interests to fight our common enemy: capitalism, imperialism and their crooked politicians.