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Why Kenya could be among failed states

By Alexander Chagema | Published Thu, February 23rd 2017 at 00:00, Updated February 22nd 2017 at 20:07 GMT +3

Government apologists are quick to the draw defending the Uhuru regime.

But the clock is inexorably ticking towards the August 8, 2017 rendezvous; the day of judgement and gnashing of teeth. Citizens are patiently waiting to draw blood from impervious cheats who until then will be living an illusion. Some believe they are indispensable.

Trumpeters of the current government's achievements increasingly sound like stuck phonogram records on which the stylus cannot move onto the next groove.

The stylus is stuck on the line that goes something like; SGR, development record, examination fees, electricity; SGR, development record, examination fees, electricity, ad infinitum. It has become so common one can tell to the last word what a set of leaders would say once a microphone is stuck within picking distance of their mouths.

For those blinded to the truth, here is the shocker. The Fragile (formerly Failed) States Index 2016, a United States think tank, says Kenya is a failed state.

Kenya is ranked at position 20 out of 178, only 16 points adrift of Somalia which tops the ranks of ignominy ahead of other failures like South Sudan and Central African Republic.

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While Somalia scored 114 points, Kenya scored 98.3, yet the country’s leadership has the effrontery to send Kenyan soldiers to that human abattoir to stabilise it. Attributes of a failed state include a weak dysfunctional central government, collapsed public services, rampant corruption, a non-performing economy and rising incidents of crime.

In February alone and within Nairobi, the police have congratulated themselves for prematurely despatching no less than 11 criminals to the next world to answer for their indiscretions.

Yet even as they give us the statistics on the gunning down of street criminals, they are mute over the atrocities being committed against defenceless citizens who have the curse of finding themselves on the borders of Marakwet, Baringo and Turkana counties.

Police killings of eleven criminals within 20 days, sporadic raids attributed to cattle rustlers in Baringo and Turkana counties; Al Shabaab’s free run of the area along our border with Somalia where they raid and murder innocent Kenyans are indicative of leaky security.

Even within the ranks of the supposedly disciplined police, morale is so low and frustrations so high officers are turning their guns on colleagues; Speaker Justin Muturi’s driver was killed by a colleague a few days ago.

In Tassia, a police officer recently shot dead his colleague and took his own life. In Embu, a warder killed a colleague the other day and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

That the police are quick to put down atrocities committed against civilians to cattle rustling beats common sense.

Often, you’d hear hundreds of heads of cattle have been stolen. How anything so cumbersome can disappear where we are regaled by tales of improved security and tired clichés like ‘no stone shall be left unturned’ is baffling.

Kenya faces security threats not just from cattle rustlers, hardcore criminals and insurgents in the name of Al Shabaab, but daring neighbours like Uganda who send an occupation army to Migingo Island and Nairobi remains mum against such aggression. Retired President Daniel Moi and the late Jomo Kenyatta would never have countenanced such nonsense.

Kenya holds the world record of not having had a functional health service sector for 81 days today and the top leadership is unfazed.

Elsewhere, I have heard stories of health ministers taking responsibility for a hospital surgery gone awry. Transport ministers take responsibility for train derailments and atone for it by voluntarily resigning.

Those are the attributes of true leaders. They are one with their people; they feel their pain and share their frustrations. What do we get here instead? Leaders so insensate they go after dying Kenyans not with food, but calls for registering as voters.

The Government avers no Kenyan has died of hunger. I will not belabour the point but given the rate at which hunger is spreading, and unless the Government gets out of its lethargy, thousands of the voters' cards they are enamoured of shall be useless: their owners either too frail to vote or having turned their toes upward.

It hurts to see the suffering of Kenyans who put their faith in Jubilee in 2013, having been misled into believing Jubilee signalled a new dawn.

Instead, it has been gloomy dusk, a whole five years of hollow rhetoric.

The automobile Kenya is in a rut. Its engine has been revved up so hard it’s overheating.

The mechanics we hired are clueless, perhaps just used to the simple, straight engines of yore; they have no idea what sensors, computers boxes, power steering and variable valve timing are.

They are the type that taps power from the nearest positive current wire to feed another wire that has gone dead and before you know it; your car becomes a funeral pyre.


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