Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya

Volume 1, Issue 1, June 2009

Sirkku Hellsten
Pages 127-150

Afro-Libertarianism and the Social Contract Framework in Post-Colonial Africa
The Case of Post-2007 Elections Kenya

This paper examines the shortcomings and possibilities of the social contract approach in relation to the Kenyan post 2007 elections political crisis. The author applies philosophical analysis to a practical situation, using Kenya as a case study in the context of the challenges of post-colonial nation-building. The author reflects on the “Afro-libertarian” politico-economic framework, in which communitarian and communal traditions with egoistic and profit-making individualist libertarian market rationality are tangled in a fragile, patrimonial state, with strong sub-national loyalties preventing the building of a united nation and a strong state. The thesis of the paper is that if sustainable peace, social reconstruction and national unity are to be achieved, there is need to have an adequate understanding of the moral dimensions of the concept of “social justice”. The focus has to be on the building of an impartial state, with a clear national agenda and strong ethnically and politically neutral institutions and processes.

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