By Dr. Adam Haji.
This week our country was stung again by the terror group Al-shabaab after they executed 28 innocent civil servants in Mandera County, my condolences to the families.
In many of the previous terrorist attacks the worst being the Westgate attack, Kenyans of all colors and creed managed to stick together under the #WeAreOne banner thereby defeating the intentions of the terrorist to wage sectarian divisions among Kenya on religious lines.
The Al-shabaab war is more than a religious war, why else will they kill and maim in Somalia, their victims been 100% Muslims and Somalis.
Unfortunately this time we are never one, the calls by the teachers and doctors union to advise their members to leave NEP immediately is not only unfortunate call but unexpected. Insecurity now is a problem in every part of this country, if it’s not terrorists, its bandits attack or gang attacks which can happen anywhere in this country. Why didn’t these unions issue similar withdrawal statements in any of the previous massacres in other parts of this country? The calls by the unions are likely to bring to halt two sensitive sectors, Education and Health that have been neglected over the past 50 years by successive governments.
Both the national and county governments have a responsibility not only to reassure the civil servants but also provide genuine security to all Kenyans across all boarders, the legitimate fear of the civil servants in NEP must be addressed quickly to protect the fragile sectors of education and health from collapse if we are to make any progress in development.
The calls by the unions is a wakeup call to the people of NEP and their county governments to invest heavily on education at all levels to increase the quality of education and provide home grown professionals who can fill the gap in future. The offer by Wajir county government to sponsor P1 teachers is a step in the directions and should target all other sectors where there is demand for professionals.
While education remains a national government function, Health is devolved and a mandate of the county government, already there has been good gestures from the county governments in NEP through investments in the health sector in terms of infrastructure and to some level human resource. While the counties in the last one year have been able to recruit more health workers retaining the same is the challenge that needs to be addressed alongside recruitment.
The counties in NEP should never rely on the same old template used by successive governments in the past 50 years to address the human resource gaps and challenges that exist, it requires a home grown solutions tailored to the demand of the NEP people, one of it will be to come up with special retention package and avail opportunities for specialist training across all the cadres in all sectors.
Finally to all the local professionals working outside, NEP is waiting for none other than you and me, it’s time to be patriotic and serve your community.
Dr. ADAM Haji,
Postgraduate student, MSC. Applied Epidemiology,
Institute Of Tropical Medicine, JKUAT