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Kenyan minority rights a Pipe dream


Date Posted: 11/26/2013 1:53:24 PM

Posted By: duketrix  Membership Level: Silver  Total Points: 184

With Kenya commemorating 50 years of independence (Jubilee celebration) in a fortnight or so, wounds which may seem healed from the outside, are fresh from the inside. Many citizens usually forget how they are initially duped by politicians, as in previous governments, who never had Kenyans’ interests at heart. Much as Kenyans suffer the usual bout of amnesia after every electioneering period, this time the wounds scorch a bit more.

Even with the promulgation of a new constitution on 17th August 2010, under the Bill of Rights (Chapter 43), that should bring Kenyans together and safeguard their rights, very little is being done. Although the Constitution Implementation Commission was set up under Mr. Charles Nyachae, the process of implementing what we have so vehemently fought for has dragged tremendously. Now, more than ever, Kenyans should arise and find out how and when the rain started beating.

Kenya is said to have 42 tribes. However, it is more believable to say there are only two tribes, the rich and the poor. What is worrisome is that the rich have been allowed to lord over the poor in all spheres of society. One example is in land ownership. The poor strive to eke a living, own ‘a plot’, live in slums or as squatters, and IDPs continue to languish in destitution as certain families own large swathes of land. Unofficial estimates place the size of land owned by the Kenyatta family at up to 500,000 acres of land, which is approximately the size of the former Nyanza province. While some benefit of doubt may be given as to how the land was acquired, unequal distribution of land and resources is an issue that should be tackled with the urgency it deserves.
The General Elections (and even by-elections) have also been used by

politicians and prominent businesspersons to ensnare the rights of Kenyans. Handouts are dished out to women and youth who form the largest voting population in order to influence voting patterns. Former Naivasha MP and current NACADA chairman, Hon John Mututho can be used as an example. He is renowned for the Alcoholic Drinks Control Act 2010, popularly known as the Mututho Law. On a recent talk show on one of Kenya’s television channels, he revealed how prominent business people traversed his constituency at night with millions of shillings to bribe residents not to vote him back. Clearly personal interest won over public interest.

Will there ever be a Kenya where the poor would be able to walk in the streets without harassment by the likewise poor police officers? Will there ever be a situation where the minority would be able to shop 24 hours like the elite without being viewed as threat to security? What about justice in the courts? Will law breakers ever be punished according to their offences and not according to their status in the community?

The state of security in the country is in dire straits. The Westgate Mall attack of September 21 2013 indicated the cracks within the security apparatus and its leadership. The wounds of the Baragoi attacks on police are still fresh. Even more recent is the siege of a village in Turkana. Much more effort has to be put in to protect the citizens of Kenya. The poor and the minority groups are short-changed. Infrastructure and other vital amenities favor some people over others.
Some schools are far-flung and underfunded but are still expected to prepare students to compete with others from some posh institutions. Kenya is 50 years old but some pupils conduct their classes under trees. Children unable to afford adequate schooling are greatly disadvantaged compared to their counterparts who have ignored public schools for private ones.

The medical sector is in near shambles. We still have patients in some government hospitals sharing a single bed. Many walk for miles to get to the nearest hospital with some dying on their way or even at home, simply because they cannot afford treatment. There are numerous quacks in the industry as well as medical practitioners who use government supplies to equip their private hospitals to make more profits. This should be conclusively dealt with. The government should also be able to adequately supply and equip hospitals.
“The monkeys are the same, only the woods change” said Hon Mwangi Kiunjuri. Nothing holds truer than this common cliché in leadership circles. Unless corrupt elements are removed and fresh blood injected in our governance, the ‘minority majority’ will continue to be used and dumped. Be that as it may, the former MP for Gatanga and former presidential candidate Hon. Peter Kenneth put it rightly, “The process of installing the right people in government should start bottoms up.” It starts with the ‘minority majority’ to exercise their right wisely in order to secure theirs and their children’s future.

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