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‘Governance’, Peace and Security


Behaving badly

One of the government's biggest jobs is to clean up its act and to restore people's faith in democracy. For decades, Kenyans have become used to corruption and neglect at the highest level of government. Money has disappeared from budgets - instead of developing schools, hospitals and roads it has ended up in the back pockets of officials and politicians. In Transparency International's 'corruption perception index' Kenya ranked 122nd out of 133 countries.

"Mostly the aid money goes to the rich people. The politicians want their salaries increased but it is ourselves that will pay them."
Catherine Nthiwa, a mother of three who runs a shop in Kibera in Nairobi. Home to about 500,000 people, Kibera is Africa's second biggest slum.


Visit On Camera for photos and stories from teenagers that live in Mathare valley, another neighbourhood in Nairobi.

Kibera in Nairobi
© Crispin Hughes/Panos Pictures

Good Governance

In discussing the way forward for many African countries, 'Governance' - or keeping the house in order - has become a new buzzword. Many argue that development will not take place unless governments and businesses clean up their act. Without good governance, ordinary people will not be able to live freely, aid will be wasted, and investors will take their money elsewhere.

Good governance needs ...

  • Click on the two files to download an activity to help you think about what are the characteristics of good versus bad governance.
  • Cut out the statements and place them on the venn diagram. You may decide some don't fit either good or bad governance and need to put them in the middle where the circles overlap.
  • Think about what needs to change to turn the characteristics of bad governance into good!
Governance   Venn diagram

Terrorism strikes

Better governance is more likely to make the country more secure too. But Kenya was badly shaken by two acts of terrorism. In 1998, 213 people died when terrorists detonated a car bomb outside the US Embassy in Nairobi. Three Palestinian suicide bombers attacked the Israeli-owned Paradise Hotel in Mombasa in 2002, killing them and 13 other innocent bystanders. Another 80 Kenyans were injured. Both attacks were linked to Al Qaeda terrorist cells operating in Kenya.

This man is surveying the damage after the bombing in Mombasa, 2002.
  • What's going through his mind?
  • What hopes do you think he has for the future?
  • What questions would you like to ask him?
After the Mombasa bomb
© Sven Torfinn/Panos Pictures

The Mombasa attack struck new fear into the hearts of Kenyans. Many felt that they were victims of a war that wasn't theirs. The impact on the country's reputation was damaging too. Travel warnings led hundreds of tourists to change their holiday plans and go elsewhere, and some investors got cold feet. People began to ask - how could terrorists operate in Kenya? Is Kenya a soft target for terrorists? And why us?

Discuss in groups:

  • In what ways were people’s reactions and the impacts of the terrorist attacks in Kenya similar to those in London in July 2005?
  • Were there any other countries indirectly targeted by the bombs in either Kenya or London?
  • Do you think Kenyans are right to think they are victims of somebody else's war?
  • Would you say the same for Londoners?

Visit Newsround for an overview on terrorism.

For news stories and images of the terrorist attacks on Kenya, visit The Guardian.

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