Sunday, January 6, 2008
The country has indeed gone to the dogs.
It is worse than Zimbabwe where the infrastructure has not been damaged. The inept way in which the Kenya security forces have handled this election aftermath leaves a lot to be desired. As Africa descends into chaos, think of how the previously dominant economies of Zambia, Cote d'Ivoire and Zimbabwe were reduced to ruins. People thought it would never happen to Kenya but it is happening before our very own eyes. Can you imagine, this morning Baghdad celebrated New Year in style when Nairobi could not. It is safer in Iraq and Somalia than it is in Kenya !!
The Security Forces should have deployed long back and made it quite clear that looting and lawlessness will not be tolerated. They should have done it the way the US National Guards managed to control the riots in South Central Los Angeles and New Orleans and prevented these from spreading nationwide. Instead, they allowed the criminal elements and the unemployed thugs to take over and this is what made the ordinary people to take to the streets as well after the bungled election results that have now turned into a farce. As it is, they are now unable to control the masses hence the order of shoot to kill. And the body count is definitely an underestimate.
Kisumu was deliberately left unprotected in order to let the Central Business District to be reduced to rubble. This is what has happened to the city centre. It is a shell of its former state. Instead of playing catching up from where it had reached, the clock has been put back 40 years and it will never be the same again. In fact, it is worse than the pre-independence days. The same applies to other towns and cities.
Don't be fooled that this is a Luo versus Kikuyu struggle as the politicians would like us to believe. it is a conflict between the haves and the have - nots. It is unfortunate that the politicians have pitted the poor Kikuyus against the poor Luos and the other tribes who have been enjoying an uneasy struggle with existence staying side by side in the slums of Mathare, Korogocho, Kibera, Mukuru Wa Njenga and elsewhere. These people irrespective of their tribes, were united in poverty and were doing their honest business, it is their leaders who have let them down.
In fact the Kibaki Presidency, I dare say, has been hijacked by the self-seekers and the 'poor man' is being used as their pawn to ensure the continued domination of the economy by a few greedy fellows. You can even see that the script he was reading from as he was sworn in illegally for a second term in office was written for him and he simply repeated it verbatim like a parrot.
The previously sane voice of Industrialist Chris Kirubi formerly Chairman of the Kenya Association of Manufacturers interviewed on the BBC this morning was full of praises of how Mwai Kibaki found a moribund economy in 2002 and transformed it into a vibrant one with a growth rate of 6-7% and a strong Kenya Shilling. A Raila Presidency would have served them just as well if not better. What they forgot is that their companies cannot do business when the masses have revolted. True, the economy may have been strong but now it is hurting and will continue to hurt. The sensitive tourism sector will be the first to suffer after Mombasa was torched, followed by the service sector and manufacturing. Unless calm and sense returns to the country and a way forward is charted to ensure that in future, no slum dweller or the unemployed will ever be forgotten again as being insignificant. They have just shown that they are not to be taken for granted.
I am sure Yoweri Museveni in Uganda, Paul Kagame in Rwanda and Joseph Kabila in the Eastern Congo are beginning to curse themselves for not finding an alternative route of imports and exports through Tanzania away from the troubled Kenya Uganda Railways and the Mombasa - Malaba Corridor.