Why I cannot have a merry Christmas

By Roseleen Nzioka

As we wish each other good tidings during this festive season, I cannot but help asking is it really and truly a merry time in Kenya?

There are many things going wrong in this our motherland. But for me there are two on-going issues in Kenya that are deeply disturbing and make it hard for me to truly enjoy Christmas. One is the haunting issue of internally displaced Kenyans and the other is the murderous mutilation of young girls’ genitals in the name of initiation.

Images of internally displaced Kenyans are haunting especially when the TV and newspaper cameras focus on the children and the frail, old and sick people wallowing in misery in the IDP camps scattered across the country.

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Yet amid all this misery one group of people has decided to take full advantage of these Kenyans in dire straits to display what Francis Muthaura would call "manifest nonsense."

None other than our very own self-seeking, self-serving Kenyan politicians are busy trying to outdo each other in presenting the IDPs gift items of food and clothing.

The IDPs are spending their third Christmas in desolate camps, abandoned by the same politicians who drove them out of their homes three years ago. Promises have been made in the past to resettle them but they remain just that, promises.

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The politicians drive into these camps with their government-maintained fuel-guzzlers plus hordes of security detail, enjoy the photo opportunities and then driving out to go indulge in whatever it is they indulge in that makes them so greedy, unfeeling, fake, self-centered, (you can add to the list).

Am hoping that the new deadline of resettling these Kenyans by December 2011 materialises, otherwise we have no business ever wishing each other merry Christmas when our brothers and sisters are battling to scrape through each day.

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As for the continued practice of female genital mutilation, the government is squarely to blame for being lax in meting out punishment to the perpetrators of this act which is outlawed and therefore punishable under the laws of Kenya.

I shall not tire to speak out against female genital mutilation (FGM). It has no justification whatsoever and the government must know that it cannot escape responsibility. The anti-FGM community organizations are doing their best to offer alternative rites of passage for girls who come from communities that still practice FGM. However this is clearly not enough. We need to see justice take its course alongside sensitization of communities to stop the practice.

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