chapter  5
34 Pages

Kenya: The State, Donors and the Politics of Democratization

ByWachira Maina

There is a vast and growing literature on associational life in Africa (Mamdani and Wamba-dia-Wamba, 1995; Harbeson et al., 1994; Hyden and Bratton, 1992; Diamond, 1993; Rudebeck, 1992). Much of this literature is an important and seriously needed corrective to the afro-pessimism prevailing in policy circles in the West. Having despaired of revamping the supposedly derelict African State, researchers and some policy-makers have turned their attention to social movements and groups, optimistic that these, if re-invigorated, may organically lead to stronger and more democratic states in the continent (Bratton and van de Walle, 1997: 255, Diamond et al., 1997). On this conception, the movements and groups loosely termed civil society are both sanctuary and missionary. They not only nurture but are also the refuge and repositories of democratic forces in Africa. More crucially, they carry the evangelical mission of rescuing the African State from otherwise inevitable perdition.