Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Country profile: Kenya

Kenya is in the news due to the recent Violent protests against the outcome of Kenya's presidential election.

to help us understand the current situation let's step back and look at the big picture. This post will offer a profile of the country:

Source BBC News:

Country profile: Kenya

Situated on the equator on Africa's east coast, Kenya has been described as "the cradle of humanity".

In the Great Rift Valley palaeontologists have discovered some of the earliest evidence of man's ancestors.

In the present day, Kenya's ethnic diversity has produced a vibrant culture but is also a source of conflict.

After independence from Britain in 1963, politics was dominated by the charismatic Jomo Kenyatta. He was succeeded in 1978 by Daniel arap Moi, who remained in power for 24 years. The ruling Kenya African National Union, Kanu, was the only legal political party for much of the 1980s.

Politics: President Kibaki claimed victory after controversial elections in December 2007 and was sworn in for a second term in office

Economy: The economy has been recovering over recent years

International: Kenya has mediated in conflicts in Somalia and Sudan

Violent unrest - and international pressure - led to the restoration of multi-party politics in the early 1990s. But it was to be another decade before opposition candidate Mwai Kibaki ended nearly 40 years of Kanu rule with his landslide victory in 2002's general election.

Despite President Kibaki's pledge to tackle corruption, some donors estimated that up to $1bn had been lost to graft between 2002 and 2005.

Other pressing challenges include high unemployment, crime and poverty; most Kenyans live below the poverty level of $1 a day. Droughts frequently put millions of people at risk.

One of Africa's more politically-stable countries, Kenya has been a leading light in the Somali and Sudanese peace processes.

With its scenic beauty and abundant wildlife, Kenya is one of Africa's major safari destinations.
The lucrative tourist industry has bounced back following the slump that followed bomb attacks in Nairobi in 1998 and Mombasa in 2002. And in 2006 tourism was the country's best hard currency earner, ahead of horticulture and tea.

Full name: The Republic of Kenya

Population: 34.3 million (UN, 2005)

Capital: Nairobi

Area: 582,646 sq km (224,961 sq miles)

Major languages: Swahili, English

Major religion: Christianity

Life expectancy: 48 years (men), 46 years (women) (UN)

Monetary unit: 1 Kenya shilling = 100 cents

Main exports: Tea, coffee, horticultural products, petroleum products

GNI per capita: US $540 (World Bank, 2005)

Internet domain: .ke

International dialling code: +254

President: Mwai Kibaki

Political veteran Mwai Kibaki claimed victory in controversial presidential elections in December 2007. His swearing-in for a second term in office prompted a wave of unrest across the country.
His rival for the post of president, opposition candidate Raila Odinga, rejected Kibaki's victory and accused the government of rigging the result.

International observers also expressed doubts about the poll, and called for an independent enquiry.

Mr Kibaki first came to power when he won a landslide election victory in December 2002, promising to fight endemic corruption and to address Kenya's economic woes.

His election victory marked the end of almost 40 years of Kanu party rule, and it was third time lucky for Mr Kibaki, who lost two elections in the 1990s. The constitution barred his predecessor, Daniel arap Moi, from standing. Mr Kibaki's National Rainbow Coalition (Narc) won a parliamentary majority.

Economic recovery has accompanied Mr Kibaki's leadership. Economic growth in 2006 was 6.1%, compared with 0.6% when he took over.

But despite the tough talk about graft, his government has become mired in a major corruption scandal. Former and current ministers have been implicated in an alleged scam involving shadowy deals and large sums of public money.

The president was thwarted over another key policy when voters rejected a proposed new constitution in 2005. Mr Kibaki had portrayed it as modernising measure; critics said the charter left too much power in his hands.

A respected economist, Mwai Kibaki served as finance minister and vice president in the 1970s and 1980s. He left Kanu in 1991 and founded the Democratic Party.

Mwai Kibaki was born in 1931 and hails from Kenya's largest tribe, the Kikuyu. He studied in Uganda and Britain before joining the push for Kenya's independence in the 1960s. He became an MP in 1963.

Kenya enjoys a more diverse media scene than many other African countries, with a large middle class providing a base for substantial advertising revenue. The Kibaki government came to power promising further media liberalisation, but some incidents since then have alarmed observers.

In 2003 there was a crackdown on unregistered newspapers. Months later, a court criticised the information minister for harassing the popular private radio station Kiss FM. Then in March 2006 armed police, acting on government orders, stormed the offices and presses of the Standard media group.

Kenya has one of Africa's liveliest media landscapes
The raid shocked many Kenyans and alarmed Western donors. The government said the action was aimed at protecting state security.

There is a tradition of a relatively independent press, although newspapers often had to practise self-censorship during the era of Presidents Kenyatta and Moi. The print media is dominated by two major publishing houses, the Nation and Standard, both of which also have substantial broadcasting operations.

Most Kenyans rely on the broadcast media, particularly radio, for news. Until recently the liberalisation of broadcasting had a limited impact outside Nairobi but some private radio and TV networks now have wide coverage of much of the country. TV viewing is substantial, but few Kenyans are regular internet users, owing to cost and access problems.

Full-time FM relays of the BBC World Service are on the air in Nairobi (93.9), Mombasa (93.9) and Kisumu (88.1), and some BBC programmes are also rebroadcast by private Kameme FM. The Voice of America has an FM relay in Nairobi and Radio France Internationale is relayed on FM in Mombasa.

The press
Daily Nation - published by the Nation Media Group, the paper claims to have three quarters of the Kenyan newspaper market. It is widely regarded as being independent and balanced

The Standard - privately-owned daily, and Kenya's oldest newspaper

East African - English-language weekly published by the Nation Media Group
Taifa Leo - Kenya's only Swahili-language daily, published by the Nation Media Group

Kenya Times - Kanu party paper, daily
The People Daily - owned by veteran politician Kenneth Matiba

Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) - state-owned, channels in English and Swahili

Metro TV - KBC-operated Nairobi station targeting younger viewers

Kenya Television Network (KTN) - first TV station to break state broadcasting monopoly; available in Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, Eldoret, Kisumu

Nation TV - Nairobi-based, operated by Nation Media Group

Citizen TV - privately-owned

Stella TV (STV) - privately-owned

Family TV - Christian

Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) - state-owned, services in English, Swahili and 15 other indigenous languages

Metro FM - national music-based station operated by KBC

Coro FM - KBC-operated Kikuyu-language station in Nairobi

Capital FM - private, music-based

East FM - private, targets Nairobi's Asian listeners

Easy FM - operated by Nation Media Group, relays in Nairobi, Eldoret, Kisumu, Mombasa, Nakuru, Nyeri

Kiss FM - private, music-based

Kameme FM - private, targets Kikuyu speakers in Nairobi and central highlands

Radio Citizen - private, also operates Kikuyu-language Inooro FM and Luo-language Radio Ramogi

Rehema Radio - private, Eldoret, programmes in Kalenjin

News agency
Kenya News Agency - state-owned, English-language

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 10:07 AM   1 comments links to this post


At 12:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good analysis trevor.Though BBC contradicticts its self by saying this is a tribal crisis,In my opinion it is kenya vs Injustice and corruption.40 different tribes voted in unison and it is not Luo(Raila) vs kikuyu(kibaki).We are tired of being labeled corrupt and dark that is why kenyans vote for hope. We hoped n kibaki in 2002 and he raped and robbed us. Now we hope else where and will continue doing so untill we get it Right.


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