One Year On: Unsafe, Petrified & Still Waiting.
This month marks a year since President Uhuru Kenyatta took the wheel of the bus known as Kenya. Though the dark cloud that has proven to be the pairs ICC trial continues to follow them like a noon time shadow they have managed to appear unscathed and unaffected choosing instead to concentrate all their energy into delivering on the numerous promises they made in their manifesto and in the months leading up to election day and again in his inauguration speech.
Still waitingThe then candidates promised among other things state of the art Stadiums in every county, inclusion of the youth and women in government, then they uttered the words that made all the nations standard one pupils squeal with joy and wait with rapt attention and anticipation: they promised each standard one pupil a laptop – words too ostentatious even on paper. A fool hardy utterance considering some schools- if you’d even call them that- in the country have neither desks nor chairs or even blackboard. Some rural students would be lucky to have lessons conducted indoors under a roof of some kind, let alone the electricity that may be needed and the courses that most teachers would have to take on how to use the laptops
This however is the least of the roadblocks to better more efficient education in the country;
1. There is dire need for more teachers per school given that there is a minimum of 50 students per classroom all eager and ready to learn from one over worked teacher.
2. These long suffering educators are rarely paid on time if at all for their mind bending and exhausted toil. And when they are paid they are paid what one would call peanuts- barely enough to live on.
As a result of this lack of love between the government and its teachers the latter has often resorted to taking to the streets in protest, and once they are appeased with ‘agreements’ to do better they return to work only to realise 6 or so moths down the road that their voices were barely heard and that their pleas had once again been ignored. The endless cycle will then repeat itself the only difference being the date on the calendar.
As with the import of everything large or in bulk in this a tender was given out to an Indian company Olive Telecommunications Pvt for 26.2 billion- I didn’t know we had that kind of money?! - The tender was later cancelled temporarily by the high court’s Justice Weldon Korir. The government should pull the plug on the whole idea and put focus their considerable energy on stemming the rise in insecurity and avoiding a foreseeable financial crisis.
Unsafe & Petrified
One of the top and most insomnia inducing thoughts on a presidents mind would be the safety of his people if this is so then Uhuru Kenyatta must be one sleep deprived and perturbed man. The shock and horror that was the Westgate attack last year unnerved and petrified Kenyans to their core, making us on a whole more careful- at least for a week or so. But Kenyans do many things well, one being getting back to normal after a traumatic event. And that is exactly what we did; we got back to work, school and normal life returned and we began to enjoy the peace that safety brought.
But that feeling of peace, that security blanket was to be ripped from our collective bodies when terrorists and the terror they bring struck us again, unaware, and peacefully content one Sunday morning last month, when, what can only be described as extremist when suspected Al Shabaab came guns blazing to the Joy of Jesus church in Likoni Killing four instantly (the death toll later rose to 6) injuring several others including a baby Satrin Osinya whose mother was shot dead and who survived due to his older brother Gift’s quick thinking and fleet feet.The scares and incidents kept coming as grenades were found in and around Nairobi and indeed the rest of the country. From the death of a man from a grenade of his own creation to bombings in Eastleigh by far the countries business hub for the Somali community.
As a result of the rise in insecurity the president has taken a page from the book of all presidents that came before him country or year notwithstanding Kenyatta talked tough and promise more vigilance, CCTV cameras on the streets, Surveillance Equipment and Vehicles for police.
In a bid to crack down on recent violence they raided Eastleigh to flush out illegal immigrants and criminals. The move that lead to the deportation of 86 Somali refugees from the country and the conversion of the Safaricom Kasarani grounds into a police station where men and women are apparently held together has caused an international outcry from human rights organizations.