Dropping Like Flies

It is all too easy to spot sea changes in Africa, only to later see them reduced to the status of tidal flux – a routine shift that is reversed within a heartbeat.

But while the presidential race in Kenya remains too close to call, something interesting is happening in the parliamentary seats. Chris Murungaru, David Mwiraria, Gideon Moi and Nicholas Biwott have all lost their seats. Counting has been suspended in George Saitoti’s constituency. These men represent the very worst in Kenyan politics. Some have been linked to the vast corruption scandals that have dogged the Kibaki regime. Others have been linked to much, much worse. Now it seems that the voters they once took for granted are turning against them. Ten cabinet ministers have also lost their seats, according to local media, including the deputy president Moody Awori.

It seems that the voters have found their voices. For too long – as in so many other African countries – there has been a widespread fatalism, a belief that the political elite could not be stopped. Voting out Moi’s Kanu regime in 2002 changed little. Most of Kibaki’s ministers were refugees from Moi’s kleptocracy. Now they are dropping like flies as voters realise that things can change.

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