By: Roble Domains
Northern Eastern region is always a victim of the Kenyan state’s criminality. The region suffers the wrath of successive regime’s all the way from Kenya’s independence. This is a region that exists in the kenyan map but least exists in the country’s prosperity. More painful is that the woes of the region is not by default but by design of the country’s political elite time and again.
A country that entrenched draconian laws in its constitution to legalize marginalization and unequal entitlement among its citizens on the basis of regions cannot claim that its constitution is a symbol of national unity. There can never be the claim of national integration when a section of the citizenry have remained subjects of both colonial and post colonial opression including but not limited to denial of government services I.e the red tape beaurocracy involved in the award of National identification cards to the Kenyan Somalis. Which still remains a nightmare yet limited only to them and not any other kenyan community. Just for reminder , there has once been a regional satellite immigration office in Garissa for issuance of passports, that office no longer exists whereas all other regions enjoy such.
Travelling by road from Garissa to mandera is the biggest disaster any traveller can witness owing to the terrain and medieval road network. The worst any traveller can bear not only in kenya but the world I bet. This road deserves mention in the upcoming UN summit and be included among the world wonders. Marginalisation taken to unimaginable scale. This and many more economic absurdity were made legal by the draconian Sessional Paper no. 10 of 1965. Which meant our economic sabotage was legal in the constitution, a document that ought to be a symbol of national unity. As if that is not enough there was the indemnity act that gave state agencies the the authority to inflict torture and opression on the people of NFD , Painful, weren’t they?
Furthermore , Northeastern Kenya is the only region that suffered physical state brutality , mayhem and extrajudicial massacre of catastrophic proportions I.e The infamous wagalla massacre which resulted in the killing of more than 3500 kenyan Somalis in Wajir’s Wagalla location executed by the kenyan security with official executive orders. There has also been similar state owned genocides in Mandera and Garissa. This historic state atrocities against the Kenyan somalis remain unadressed decades later.
The TJRC report which recommended compensation and judicial adress on the same has since been nipped in the bud.
Whereas, Kenya is a sovereign state, it is yet to be one that embraces equity, equality and justice for all its citizens going by the sorry disregard successive regime’s have accorded the people of Northern Kenya. We the Kenyan Somali are so uncertain about our basic human rights the extent to which am uncertain of what the repercussions would be following this article. We are made to feel or rather treated as second class citizens in the only country we call home. In history there were times our then leaders demanded secession when they couldn’t stand the heat of the moment. It is to this effect that they were subjected to torture and terror. Now the question that begs answers is why this multi-faceted criminality against a section of the citizenry and a region of the country?
The only time the region by slight chance sighed with relief is when the current constitution of kenya 2010 was promulgated giving birth to devolution which for the first time accorded the region some economic consideration. But to the dismay of the world , there is a brewing scheme orchestrated by the national political elite to deprive us of the little gains that came with devolution.This year, there was a revenue sharing formulae debated by the Kenyan senate which almost bundled NEP counties into economic oblivion.
It was a revenue sharing formulae that targeted a one man, one shilling mantra. In what seems like a well planned sequence of events the revenue formula was by design preceded by the 2019 census whose results were deliberately skewed against NEP counties , warranting a court case against the same. This again brings forth the question, why supress our census numbers, just to bring forth a one man one shilling revenue sharing formula to deprive us of the little we gain from devolution? Why has the country’s ruling elite gone to borrow the archaic Sessional paper no. 10 of 1965 subtly though? For how long shall the patriotism and patience of NEP be paid with marginalization.
Worse enough , the country is on the verge of yet another new constitutional dawn. This has been heralded by a BBI report which if subjected to a referendum will be rubber stamped into law. As usual the bitter bill goes to NEP. The BBI report finally has adopted the skewed Revenue sharing formula previously rejected in the Kenyan senate of one man one shilling. Once again, in the 21st century NEP’s economic marginalization is getting entrenched in the constitution of Kenya. Whether or not the Kenyan constitution will be a symbol of national unity if the BBI becomes law my guess is as good as yours .
There were outbursts by certain laggards like Moses Kuria who said that there was nothing forthcoming from NEP other than taking the entitlement of other hardworking Kenyans and that it is a large land mass with no people. What he outrightly disregards is the fact that the people of northern kenya run the economy of this country, the multi-billion economy in Eastleigh is purely dominated by the people of Northern kenya. The Somalis equally run major economic hubs in almost all big towns in this country. He should therefore know that it is not tea and coffee farmers only who contribute to the country’s GDP. If attention is given to detail the somali community adds more economic value to the country equal if not more than his backyard which is still caged in colonial agricultural legacy of tea and coffee. Given the fertility of the soil and the reliable rain pattern in his backyard what would the Somali’s draw from such highlands? They would bring forth diverse sustainable agricultural outcomes to say the least. My point is Mosses should do his maths properly before engaging in bar talks .
Finally the country’s key political players should know that what the people of NEP read in the BBI are only two .
1. An expanded executive – which is not our business anyway.
2. Economic marginalization of NEP going by the unfair revenue sharing formulae of one man one shilling.
There is absolutely nothing else new in the proposed document. We are thus made to believe that the plan is to waive funds from NEP so as to finance the expanded executive. We cannot be the sole losers in the supreme law of the land . There is no such other region except northern kenya whose all counties are losing by a great percentage.
My plea to president Uhuru is that he should not go into history as the president who reintroduced economic marginalization of Northern Kenya . Hon. Raila Odinga too should not claim to be building bridges by advocating for the demise of devolution in northern kenya. The deputy president going by his adress in the BBI report launch emphasized on other shortcomings of the BBI but deliberately downplayed the mighty issue of all northern counties or rather pastoralists being the biggest losers.
Northern Kenya, we are on our own as usual.
February 27, 2020
November 19, 2019