Political Clientelism and Sustainable Development: A Case of Kenyan Forest Policy

Political Clientelism and Sustainable Development: A Case of Kenyan Forest Policy

Zedekia Sidha (Rongo University College, Kenya)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3247-7.ch013

Abstract

This chapter examines the dilemmas faced by policy makers and bureaucratic executives in implementing sustainable development policy objectives. The dilemma stems from the fact that while on the one hand, implementation of sustainable development goals requires momentary sacrifices by some segment of the population for the long-term benefits of the whole population, on the other hand, those entrusted to make implementation decisions are in office only for a short period of time thereby constrained to pursue policy objectives that maximize short-time benefits and minimizes short-term costs. To discuss these challenges, the chapter employs the case of Mau Forest Complex conservation efforts in Kenya. It is advanced that political clientelism is the main explanatory factor for both Mau Forest distraction and failure of its conservation efforts. It recommends employment of the incremental model to public policy implementation for forest conservation efforts, as well as political sensitivity and intense grassroots mobilization.
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Background

In his seminal address on 16 March 2016 on deforestation and challenge for sustainable development in Africa, Dr Kofi Annan noted that “the world could miss out in the fight against climate change and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) if the current scale of forest destruction continues” (Yeboah, 2016, p. 1). Forest plays an important role in absorbing carbon dioxide from the environment and changing it’s into clean oxygen thereby mitigating the effects of climate change. They also cool the air and add moisture to it.

Additionally, it absorbs pollutant nitrogen dioxide into the soil and changes it into harmless nitrogen. In total forest have the potentiality of absorbing 10 percent of the global carbon emissions. The binding tree roots play crucial roles in land stabilization, the slowdown erosion thereby preventing soil depreciation, the reduce sedimentation thus protecting rivers, rivers, lakes, and fisheries. They also help in purifying water by absorbing pollutants in it thus allowing fresh water to flow into the rivers. In addition to the preceding, the tree roots also prevent flooding and landslides by regulating water movement and holding the soil together. They are also homes to rare animal and plant species (Salim & Ullsten, 1999).

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