As the year draws out its final hours we’ll take a moment to reflect on 2010. It may be interesting to see how it compares with the watered down year of 2009 – the non year.
2010 was ushered in with predictable noise and pomp as the good people around the world threw off their caution sending million dollars up in smoke in spectacular displays of fireworks – there would be plenty of time later to worry when their meek governments announced plans to cut public spending and shed thousands of jobs.
The natural environment became a feature of the new year almost immediately when severe winter weather battered Britain in early February disrupting transportation for the second year running. In April there were several eruptions of the volcano Eyjafjallajokull in Iceland. A huge evacuation effort was undertaken to rescue the local population. Subsequent eruptions sent huge pillars of smoke and ash several miles into the sky prompting the closure of all UK airspace as well as that of many western European countries on safety grounds. The ensuing transportation crisis was unprecedented.
When the UK held a General election in May there was no clear winner. Gordon Brown of Labour was portrayed as a loser attempting to cling to power but in the end David Cameron and Nick Clegg formed an historic Tory – LibDem coalition government following other Serekali ya Msetos patented in Kenya and Zimbabwe. The UK coalition government seems to be on a collision course with Unions over planned cuts to government spending and huge job losses at a time of sluggish economic growth.
In August the people of Kenya held an historic referendum which delivered to the Nation a new constitution. This ground breaking document which swept away the old Lancaster House independence constitution was a culmination of decades of activism and political wrangles and its adoption promised to usher in a new age of democracy and freedom to the people of Kenya.
Wikileaks – now there was a breadth of fresh air. If you ever wondered what your bossom buddies really thought and said about you behind your back – wonder no more. Even superpowers have human weaknesses – US Embassies world-wide were shown to be hot beds of rumour, gossip and scandal. Friends patted their allies on the backs whilst secretly plotting against them. They ridiculed some of their best friends and made very serious allegations against others. There must be a lesson here about the safe-keeping of secrets.
The International Criminal Court Prosecutor Moreno Ocampo was in an out of Kenya more times than ever without seeming to make any headway on the main objective – to bring all those suspected of having a hand in the post election violence to trial. More than 1500 Kenyans lost their lives and close to 400,000 were displaced following the disputed elections of 2007. To date no senior official has faced justice for their part in the worst disturbances in our country’s history. In December Ocampo announced what came to be known as the Ocampo list – naming six individuals who would be travelling to the Hague suspected of having played significant roles in the PEV. The list was promptly denounced as a political stich-up. Ocampo had named six suspects three each from the two opposing sides. Whilst these names came as no surprise, Kenyans – and especially those living as internally displaced persons in camps were angered at the names that had been omitted – those individuals and groups who should bear ultimate responsibility for 2007/8 – Those who vowed to win by any and all means.
At the close of 2010 the economy in Kenya is growing faster and we are witnessing impressive changes in the country’s infrastructure. The government does not blow its trumpet and some may be unaware of the huge strides being made. Outlook remains positive with hope of better things once Southern Sudan becomes an independent Nation in its own right. Politically there is an air of optimism in the country even as we grapple with the ghosts of 2007. There are elections scheduled for 2012 so there will be plenty of money sloshing about. It is a good time to be in business.
Here is something else that I think I will really miss
Are there any lessons to learn from this year – time will tell.
A Happy new year and best wishes for 2011