IKUNDA: We Should Not Just Move on After A Crisis
Not too long ago there was the Suguta valley massacre of the Kenyan police trailing cattle rustlers. Recently we have the Pokot and Turkana inter-ethnic fight that has left many dead along the Turkana Baringo counties border at Nadome. Is there a way out of this?
I have been to some of these zones courtesy of some NGO engaged research work on matters to do with economy, development, society and political engagements. Just as been relayed from the media some of these are scary to visit even in times of peace. At times you have to negotiate with heavily armed civilians for you to do your work. Indeed you would not believe you are in the same country moving around there. It’s simply another world.
I have a feeling and this is borne out of research that whenever large parts of the population are not engaged in mainstream economic activities with the rest of the country and the world there is bound to be enormous problems. Ethnic or clan based politics is part of the many problems you see in these frontier areas but their economy is also a problem.
I don’t see where children and borne to poverty and have a little possibility of going throughout schooling changing their lives from the established culture which may be a setback to their future. There is huge potential for meat industry in this country, but have a look at the supply and marketing chains. Indeed even the parastatal that would be in the forefront to process and market the produce has been in a mess for as long as we can recall.
Survival for the fittest
In an area not connected with the rest of the world economically and infrastructurally, you don’t expect the stagnation not to breed problems in a world full of malice. If you have no chance of changing your lives, everything is welcome. We seem to feel that so long as it does not affect us we are ok as a country. I mean the only times we seem to remember some areas like these volatile zones exist is whenever there is a massacre or during the electoral cycle campaigns.
Well I know that there has been devolution and the equalization fund but we ought to know that it will take a lot of investment to make sure that’s some of these areas are mainstreamed properly. Moreover our politics on only focusing on tribal kings and potentates is a hiccup to serious changes on the ground.
The other day I had a week long review of street families which seem to be growing in the streets of Nairobi. A casual chat with the children and mothers would reveal a population that would do anything to survive. Do we worry that the growing mass of people in the country who are in dire poverty and unemployed poses a great threat to our future? I mean like these children if lured by illicit groups like Al-Shaabab and ISIS, what would stop them? This is the same scenario on the conditions and culture that exist in some of these marginalized zones. It is the game of the survival for the fittest. It will require radical cultural and economic re-engineering to stop recurrence.
By Harrison Mwirigi Ikunda
The writer is a Researcher and Consultant
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