Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Democracy ... but not for us

Several African commentators on last night's BBC Radio 4 World Tonight programme saw in the violent public response to Kenyan president Mwai Kibaki's theft of the election some cause for optimism.

With corruption in the electoral process so common in Africa, one noted that it had been just as prevalent in the recent elections in Nigeria, but the public reaction had been muted there. In Kenya, however, with the public and the opposition parties protesting volubly and openly, this was a good sign.

Much reliance, of course, has been placed on the EU election observers who have been quick to complain that the polls were doctored and that the electoral process lacked "transparency".

As with Pakistan, therefore, we have EU actors championing democracy for the people, against corrupt politicians. When it comes to the EU constitution Lisbon treaty, however, it seems that EU politicians are quite prepared to ignore the people and are going out of their way to avoid a popular vote.

One of our forum members makes the obvious comparison, which is hard to better. The only material difference between Kenya and the EU member states, it would seem, is that we are not rising up and slaughtering the ruling classes - yet.


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