MATTERS SECURITY; THE HARD REALITY

baby ceplinFrom subtle terrorists to petty offenders, from high end suburbs down to the slums we are sitting ducks surviving at the mercy of experienced criminals and delinquents. As the sun rises and falls so do they sharpen their skills waiting to capitalise on our laid back attitudes which the security agencies do little to mitigate. There is a serious void mainly due to our attitude of forgetting so fast all in the name of ‘moving on’ and a clear lack of being patriotic. The rain started beating us when we succumbed to politics fodder, so drawn were we that overtime we neglected the very security basics and inquisitiveness. We never report cases of those suspicious characters in our neighborhoods. I know ‘suspicious’ is an amorphous word which is neither here nor there but that is not an excuse. We can not afford not to be on the look out watching over our personal security and by large that of the country. Our nation’s safety should come first at any one time, we have no other place to call home.

When the immigration officials and security agencies at the border started auctioning our country, we watched from a distance without raising an eyebrow, in other words we invited trouble. Martin Luther puts it this way; “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” Take a look at the impatience we display when going through security checks, call it our peculiar ways of living.More fundamentally the problem lies with the men and women in blue who are unfit, under equipped and demoralised. We churn out people from Kiganjo still trained on challenges we faced back in the 80’s such as cattle rustling when we as a country are grappling with serious villains ready to die for an ‘ideology’. Its self defeating for a county commissioner to give a directive on shoot to kill of suspects, you never kill the messenger, in any case it will encourage more martyrs. Recall there are thousands of indoctrinated youths out there, killing them is only confirming to them that their ‘war’ is ‘justified’ as ‘virgins wait them in heaven.’ Police main focus should be in digging out as much information as possible from the suspects, that will help in nailing the people who call the shots in this ideology.

Am made to believe Kenya Police does not have a digital database that can be used for intelligence and profiling of criminals. Someone joked that our police behave like robots, they have no skills of telling nor identifying suspicious characters from a crowd. In global security circles some people go through more security checks than others’ they call it profiling. But castigating the police wont help the situation, Our bigger worry should be directed to the government of the day. Does it have a strategy on combating crime or is it just a knee jerk reactor, these piecemeal actions by the security agencies only seem laughable on the eyes of terrorists. When we arrest tens of youths and later release them the following day for idling when terrorists invade and kill christians in a church, there is a problem. There is even a bigger problem when everybody speaks for the government on twitter.For instance on the Likoni tragedy, accounts run by our security forces gave conflicting information some saying police were 100 metres from the said church and they tried to pursue the attackers in vain whilst the other quarter reported to have engaged them!.

As a country we must rise to the occasion and smell the coffee, Al shabab and the rest have a serious narrative that they are selling to our unemployed youths.We must counter it first by heavily investing in intelligence, make police act on the intelligence, building capacity in terms of ratio of police to citizens, address their welfare, establish forensic labs, well funded civilian police, winnow rogue men and women in the force, roll out Nyumba Kumi initiative in a more clear way and embrace technology but more importantly as Kenyans we must be patriotic enough. Having said that, this is not a war that can be won through a military solution alone, there is need to reach out to the communities affected, make them feel part of Kenya by addressing their day to day grievances.If we win their trust so will we win this war but the opposite is also true.

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BALLOONING UNEMPLOYMENT

ImageDisillusioned youths are dotted all over the country,  burgeoning unemployment rates have jumped over the roof. Kenya’s education system is doing little if any to address the mess. Every year colleges and universities chunk out thousands of clueless graduates, confused of their posterity and worse still half baked.The system emphasizes more on exam passing, training students to be job seekers overlooking a fundamental aspect of encouraging them to be job creators, worse still its totally hands off with the realities of respective workplaces. When these students knock at the offices seeking internships and jobs, its a cultural shock since they possess no skills or experience.

The country is neither doing enough in terms of creating jobs. In 2002 the NARC government promised to create 500,000 jobs every year but this promise has remained just as a promise. Our skills are also very skewed as the system opts for the so called white collar jobs at the expense of technical careers. The irony is, even when we discover oil deposits in Turkana County and other parts of the country, companies involved struggle to get local electricians or people gifted in machine handling. We can’t all be bankers, accountants or company secretaries, we at one time need a plumber or an IT geek to fix something.

 

Every time I visit my rural home, I meet many fellow youths living hopeless lives, relying on their mothers’ meal even after clocking 30 years and the only skill they specialise in, is imbibing alcohol. Alcohol helps them to be out of touch with their wasted lives, its too scary for them to reconcile their childhood dreams with the reality. Since they must survive, they result in joining criminal gangs that terrorise residents. And as insecurity reaches unprecedented levels in Nairobi and all over the country, let us not be surprised. There is a big correlation between unemployment and insecurity.

Its a discourse that we must have as a country sooner than later. The future is brink, rich – poor gap is widening in as much as the middle class is also burgeoning. Our biggest hurdle is managing the population, every year a million babies come to birth entitled with big dreams and a good life. The challenge is in educating Kenyans to have as few kids as possible or rather having a family they can comfortably provide for. On the other hand any quintessential politician is busy advocating for tyranny of numbers so that his/her time of ‘eating’ can be prolonged.Surprisingly, that gullible Kenyan will fall prey to this advocacy forgetting that the said politician does not care whether you have the means to raise that kid decently or not.

Am inspired by one artist by the name Juliani who is doing rounds all over the country empowering youths with information on farming. In other words he is encouraging them to start farming and earn a living out of it instead of relying on being employed. The campaign is dubbed ‘Farming Is Cool’, but that is just a drop in the ocean, we need more Julianis and government to create policies and avenues to offer youths with knowledge and rotational funds. Insurance companies should also step up their game and create customised products that can resonate with that hawker in Gikomba whose biggest worry is the frequent fires that mop out all their investments within few hours.

As President Uhuru said, corruption is what cancer is to the body, its consequences are unfair competitions and distorted markets. The government must do more to address this issue which in one way or another serves as a hindrance to a level playing ground and job creation. Our priceless heritage is at risk, poaching is at an all time high, our wildlife is at the hands of selfish cartels determined to make a ‘killing’ out of them. Our ecosystem is fragile, from L.Turkana to the rivers flowing from Mt.Kenya to the Mau forests,in tandem with the sceneries that come along with them unfortunately will be a thing of the past. What that means is tourism revenues will shrink in the long run, the economy will shrink even further and that will coalesce to a man eat man society adding more mess to the unemployment effects.

“To a man, a woman is fun to be with … until she gains weight. To a woman, a man is fun to live with … until he loses his job.” ― Mokokoma Mokhonoana. Its that scary.

 

 

KENYA’S CHOCKING ART

monumentFew weeks ago a section of Kisumu residents poured into the streets condemning a statue that had been erected by the Hindu community to celebrate their 100th year presence in the town. Kisumu just like any other big town in Kenya is witnessing a growing cosmopolitan which consequently calls for more tolerance. Contrary, the so called christian protesters, became agitated as they felt the monument was not religious, not even the efforts of former P.M could calm them.

Ideally a statue depicts a people who upholds culture and values. In any case, monuments across the world stand tall to spell the length of a community’s history and illumine revered personalities and deeply held beliefs. From the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen, Denmark to Lions of Delos in Denmark to Statue of Liberty in Los Angeles, United States, tourists from all walks of life converge to watch them. Little if any is talked of the great men and women behind the artistic work.statue

Away from statues and closer home, am one of the perturbed Kenyans due to the state of our local art that has been abhorred and chocked for a long time.I sensationally remince with nostalgia the Art & Craft classes where we did everything from drawing to carving.This reminds me of my brother who in fact was more astounding in his drawing as compared to me, though that did not negate the love I had for the subject.Being one of the kids who grew not to develop a special interest in the sciences, I hold the belief that not everyone should dream to be a neurosurgeon, doctor or pilot. We should encourage our kids for instance to delve into professional photography, if not the lucrative and vibrant media industry and not just remaining in the usual ‘mainstream careers’ which are not only rigid but over flooded.Parents’ biggest role should be in helping their kids discover who they are and helping them decode their potentials.

Graffiti is another unexploited venture that is worth of enormous foreign exchange courtesy of cultural tourism. Of course it should not be done in a haphazard way as it will be an eye sore. It should be managed like they do in New York, Berlin, London or any other developed city in what they call ‘legal walls’ which are commissioned to beautify and help a city breathe life.

We are a generation that would not think twice when given a choice to either pull a duvet and watch a movie as opposed to frequenting a theatre hall, both are great ways of unwinding but the latter is more thrilling and real. We need more Lupita and Otongolos, drama & film schools and market to absorb the talents. We simply can do more to encourage that budding musical band, the industrious artist waiting for the next exhibition season, the captivating poet and the rest.George Bernard Shaw summarised it this way,”without Art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable”. I rest my case.