By Mohamed haji
Building of the separation wall between the borders of Kenya and Somalia euphemistically named ‘terror wall’ has begun.
The punditocracy class has described the Jubilee administration by different terms many with negative connotations. Nothing reinforces these negative connotations better than the building of the pointless, expensive and daft apartheid-style wall between Kenya-Somalia borders.
This wall stretches to over 700KM according to deputy president Ruto at a conservatively estimated cost of shillings 25 billion. The funny irony is, the distance between Modikare and Mandera is slightly less. The amount of money it takes to build, man and maintain this wall will run into the billions. This is a mega project and projects of these scale always come with planning fallacies that will see cost skyrocket by more than hundreds of millions.
It is much cheaper to build a quality tarmacked road from Garissa to Mandera or renovate all the very important feeder roads from the CBD to Eastleigh. The economic and even the political transformation this will usher are phenomenal. The direct effect it will have on the security of the region is unmistakable. The markets it will open up for the millions of the people living in this region and the number of jobs it will create especially for the youth is invaluable. The peace and stability it will trigger in the region is what every democracy will aspire.
The government is either dangerously deluded or unbelievably incompetent. Why the government will eschew this development for something that has been tried by other more powerful and sophisticated nations and that have catastrophically failed begs answers.
In history there are many nations that have tried to separate neighbours by building walls between them. This is replete with failure as many of these walls have fallen and some are nothing but the symbols of the failed policies and dangerous prejudices that have borne them.
When has separating people ever enhanced peace between nations? It will strengthen suspicion between communities, alienate partners and will not even deter terrorists.
The most affected will be the most vulnerable. Terrorists will always have a way to circumvent the useless edifice and the people manning it. Whoever mooted this idea must have been smoking something stranger than fiction or has deliberately taken leave of his senses for the huge tender money.
Who was contracted to build the wall and how much of taxpayers’ hard earned cash is going into its construction?
One of the central government’s clichés is to hector County administrations to make prudent use of the devolved funds and that it cannot increase their allocations. The same central government has no qualms wasting billions of Kenyans’ money on white elephant projects that will bear no fruits.
We are a people that judge policies and programmes by their intentions not by their results.
Throwing good money after bad projects is certainly not a solution to our insecurity challenges.
We have a government and a leadership whose actions are neither rational nor married to a considered sound decision-making thought process. Policies made on the hoof and sound bites impossible to implement.
No parliament passed or even debated this project; the citizens it will affect have not been consulted. If indeed democracy is ‘a government of the people, by the people and for the people’ then the idea that it should be confined to a narrow timeframe where one walks to a voting booth to cast an already illegitimate vote is bonkers.
The progeny of this is of course arrested development, endemic injustices, unprecedented human rights abuses and the recycling of dangerously incompetent decision-makers who run the important affairs of our nation. A menu of unpalatable policies that only serve vested interest. What democracy do we live under? This directive by fiat is so last decade you will wonder whether Jubilee is trying hard to prove to Kenyans that after all, it is Kanu re-loaded.
The Jubilee administration was chest-thumping about its digital propensities. It was shouting over the roof tops about generational change. However there appears to be no difference between this government’s actions and previous administrations.
It is the very same difference and this game of musical chairs has been lot since independence. The hopes and aspirations of the millions of young people who enthusiastically voted for this soudbites are dashed.
The young are hugely disappointed 3 years under Jubilee rule. What is masquerading as a better alternative is a joke. Cord has failed to make Jubilee accountable to the people of Kenya and failed to act as the people’s watchman.
All it has succeeded in is to keep the country in a perpetual campaign mood that only deters serious discussions of the grave challenges facing our country. We have a tired out-of-touch opposition leadership.
The civil societies are neutered. The only hope for this country appears to be the Facebook and twitter generation.
How they use their votes and voices will determine the course this country takes. If they line behind old thinking that has failed to lift this country and its people out of the dark hole it finds itself after 52 years of independence, it will be more of the same.
If they fail to take the bull by the horn, face the difficult choices they have to make and challenge this failed system that benefits none other the dozen or so naked power-seekers and their rent-seeking appendages, youth joblessness will only go up, insecurity will only get worse and corruption and looting will remain glorified aspirations porridge thieves aspire.
Haji is a Social Commentator and Nepjournal columnist. He can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org