Imagine, if after independence, having claimed the Northern Frontier, the government actually endeavored to build roads and schools and equitably share resources in the country? Well, they say, the Southern part was more agriculturally productive, thus deserved the roads and the requisite infrastructure for us to move the coffee and tea. But imagine if the successive governments (Moi, after 1982, Moi after 1992, Kibaki after 2002 and Kenyatta after 2013) had actually laid down a road network, hospitals and schools up in the North after taking care of the South.
I can only imagine that the largely Cushitic people of Muslim faith would have felt a part of us and we will not be looking up North with a casual detachment. Like it is another country. Presently, the only statistics that the North Eastern folk are better off is they have less HIV infections, and this is largely attributable to their religion. Kenya would be like Tanzania, more homogenous and the Christian-Muslim problems would have been stifled. Also, in the wake of terrorism, they would have a workforce from within themselves that can be dispatched to work there until we steady things up a little.
It had been a while before we were attacked. But we all knew it is a matter of time, before al-Shabab struck again. This time around, at least 17 people have been confirmed dead, their lives cut short mercilessly. They are possibly young men and women in pursuit of education that would have helped the community and in deed the society rid itself the dangerous ignorance that endangers our lives.
There is no guarantee that there will be no more attacks into the future. As a country we are so flawed, so recklessly and unacceptably unpatriotic. Few people have the mental agility to connect corruption to insecurity. As I write this, a building has collapsed in Roysambu. Luckily, it was under construction, many lives would have been lost unnecessarily and we know why the building collapsed. Someone was definitely trying to cut corners. And as I write this, the whole government is scandalized by the stinking mess that thieving adults have left temporarily as they are being investigated. Kumbe the monies the kids of these rich politicians flaunt is possibly stolen from us. Why do adults have to be thieves.
The billions stolen can buy cancer equipment for our hospitals, pay doctors, nurses, teachers and doctors well. It can build them houses and afford them medical insurance. It can build key infrastructure in agriculture and the educational sector that can help alleviate poverty in the country. Yet, most of these alleged thieves are men in their 50s, who will die, sooner or later but the damage they wrought the country cannot guarantee their progeny a good future. Because when you steal, you run down the very country you want them to live and destroy their future.
I wonder how the men who ran down Mumias Sugar Factory sleep easy with conscience. I mean there are many elderly farmers whose livelihoods depend on the sugar industry. You can sleep in that humongous house, own property worth billions, stash more billions in a Swiss or Luxembourgian accounts but know there is a an old man who cannot take his daughter to school. There is an old woman, perhaps a single mother who cannot buy her son bread and butter. In the meantime, all her two-year sweat is that rangerover you are driving with a socialite.
Few rich men have a conscience. Look at the kind of laws the rich come up with. At some point slavery was legal. So was colonization. So was apartheid. Yet, the damage they cause us should awaken the brute animals in us and storm their posh homes and run them out of town. Rich men are scarcely likely to be affected by the evils of the society such as terrorism (their kids are probably studying in some University in the West), they do not go to Gikomba to shop nor do they use public means of transport. These are the things that susceptible not just terrorism, but police harassment, pollution and anything in between.
But the millions of our taxes they steal, if redistributed well can ensure a more equitable society with fewer criminals. What is better, to have a few Kileleshwas, Rundas, Muthaigas and Kilimani and more Mathares, Mukurus, Kibera, Pipeline and Dandora? The rich invest in their security, so much that private security firms are rake in millions owing to the insecurity in the country. Yet, we pay taxes to be protected, but the poor man is left for the police who extorts him, often kills him and harasses him like he or she is not human. Perhaps, the reason, so many adults are stealing and milking the government dry is to be powerful enough to rise above petty harassment of the police and the kanjo!
Anyway, back to this Garissa attack. We have at least six military barracks in Nairobi. An AP and GSU training based in Nairobi. Besides, we have countless police stations in Nairobi and its environs. While the police:citizen ratio is wanting, I believe that time has come for us to think about the value of the military bases in Nairobi. They were installed by the British Colonizers to safeguard Nairobi, essentially protect them.
To wit, we have DOD, Maroon Commados, Kahawa, Eastleigh, Thika and there is some military installment in Westlands. We have a GSU training camp along Thika Road, AP training camp at Embakasi. We have other military establishment in Isiolo, Eldoret, Nakuru among other places.
My thinking is, what if we decentralized some of these bases and spread them North Eastern Kenya and deal with al-Shabab, man-o-man. In the event, I am ignorant about military operations, what if we established serious military bases in the border towns and have all the border crossing point and have a special trained military to man our borders and roads. And to hope they will not be corrupt and start selling charcoal and importing illegal sugar.
The future of this country is in the hands of the educated and empowered middle-class who should hold the government accountable.The more we keep quiet, the more these things come to haunt. Nowadays, you cannot go to school in peace. You cannot enjoy your beer in peace. Walking through a shopping malls fuels your imagination with scary images of masked gunmen.
We have the capacity and the power to effectively deal with terrorists. The government can start by being truthful and insist on doing the right thing. We just need to make their movement impossible by investing in technology, not stealing the money meant for the equipment. Deal with inequality and you have done, half the job.