For the past twenty-five years Kenya has progressed while much of Africa has stagnated. Instead of the economic disasters, underdevelopment, and serious food shortages that have plagued its neighbors, Kenya has enjoyed an expanding economy and agriculture. And instead of a corrupt and incompetent public administration, Kenya has established several successful rural development programs run by public servants with integrity and professional commitment.
What accounts for these Kenyan successes? In this innovative study, David Leonard illustrates the way public policy is made and implemented in Kenya by focusing on four public officials who have had a great impact on rural development. He skillfully weaves his analyses of Kenya's political, economic, and administrative systems into evocative biographical portraits of Charles Karanja, General Manager of the Kenya Tea Development Authority, Harris Mule, administrative head of Finance and Planning, Ishmael Muriithi, head of the Veterinary Department, and Simeon Nyachae, Cabinet Secretary and chief of the Civil Service. The result is a fascinating glimpse of Kenyan political life from the inside, set in the context of the historical and social forces that have shaped that country's government.
David K. Leonard, Professor of Political Science and Chair of the African Studies Center at the University of California, Berkeley, is the author of Reaching the Peasant Farmer: Organization Theory and Practice in Kenya (1977). He is also the editor of Rural Administration in Kenya: A Critical Appraisal (1973) and the coeditor of Institutions of Rural Development for the Poor: Decentralization and Organizational Linkages (1982). Having taught for many years at African universities and served as a management advisor to the Kenyan government, he now consults for the World Bank, the United Nations, and the U.S. Agency for International Development.