Recently a US based research organization classified Kenya as among the group of failed states and on top of the list was Somalia. A country that has been faced with violence and war for almost a decade or so, a place where the language on rule of law, democracy, peaceful co-existence, harmony is just but a rumor but the language of iron machetes, guns, grenades and blood is a common phenomena to all. Hopefully, Somalia will relinquish its current position soon due to the newly established Federal Government of Somalia under the leadership of Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as president and Abdi Farah Shirdon as the Prime Minister and also assistance from the Africa continent and world at large.
But the question that still lingers in my mind is; is Kenya really a failed state? For a country to be classified as a failed state there are various factors that are normally considered such as the Legitimacy of the state, Security, Declining public services, Human rights, Demographic pressures, External Intervention, Uneven Development, Refugees & IDP’s, Poverty & Economic Decline, Group grievances and last but not least Human Flight. Allow me to interrogate most of these factors so as to check whether as a country we are a failed state or not?
As a country we do have a legitimate state which was duly elected on 4th March 2013 and thereafter given a clean bill of health by the Supreme Court despite the massive electoral irregularities such as failure of the BVR Kits and the electronic tallying system. Despite the legitimacy of the state, as a country we still face another issue of not being fully accepted by the international community due to the well known ICC issue that surround both our President and his deputy. But can that make us a failed state?
Security is a big issue in our country. Actually the President needs to declare it a national disaster. Every now and then we wake up to news concerning ethnic clashes from Bungoma to Tana River and parts of Northern Eastern. People are killing each other as if it’s a new game. Most of our Sundays wouldn’t end without grenades being hurled into churches, bus stops or Mosques. Killer gangs and Juvenile gangs are mushrooming in most of the informal settlements and our young girls are raped every now and then. Our top police officials (Chairman of the Police Service Commission and Inspector General) are still in limbo of who should have more powers over the other. As a result security in our country is still in question and our safety is definitely not certain.
Declining of public service is still another issue that we are facing. Under the new government the Ministries have been reduced through merging most of the Ministries that were in the former blotted cabinet. Unfortunately this has not solved any issue because the personnel have not changed their minds or their ways of doing things. This is well articulated when one visits any of the Public Hospitals. Most of our human rights are not well adhered to fully, such as freedom and security of persons, labor relations, assembly, demonstration, picketing and petition.
Demographic pressures are also challenges that we grapple with but they are swept under the carpet by our leaders. We have a large group of retirees who are not able to sustain their living and those whom they depend on, happen to fall under the category of the working class but a large percentage are unemployed. There is also the challenge of external threat from the Alshabab and cattle rustlers from our neighboring countries. There are external influences from certain global financial institutions that issue ultimatums for any assistance they offer us.
When we ushered in the devolved system of government we were all optimistic that uneven development will be an issue of the past but lately it seems it’s only going to be a pipe dream if the current budget estimates from our counties are anything to go by. Our leaders have selectively ignored what is of priority such as solving the issue of IDP’s who are still languishing in torn tents, the issue of poverty increase where basic amenities to some people is a big issue and the current wave of industrial strikes.
We are told that if you happen to see your father walking naked don’t start shouting and calling the villagers to come and see his nakedness but rather cover him. Unfortunately our father enjoys walking naked and despite our efforts to cover him, the villagers have already noticed his nakedness and now they are exposing us by calling us a failed state. Fellow country men my question still lingers, is Kenya really a failed state? If so should we all join the band wagon and expose its nakedness or should we continue to cover it?