Kenya’s youth are an endangered species
February 26, 2009 2 Comments
“The Government finds it inconceivable that someone who has been in the country for less than ten days can purport to have conducted comprehensive and accurate research on such a serious matter, as to arrive at the recommendations he made.” – Dr. Alfred Mutua, Kenya Government Spokesman, 25th Feb 2009
Yesterday, Prof. Philip Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur on extra judicial killings and summary executions held a press briefing where he outlined a preliminary overview of his findings and recommendations from his visit.
His eight page press release was explosive in describing the ruthlessness of our security forces on Kenyans. His vivid description of what occurred in Mt. Elgon and other flashpoints of post-election violence shows that justice and the rule of law was literally thrown out the window in genocidal acts of torture, rape and murder.
The response of the government spokesman, Dr. Alfred Mutua was that how could Prof. Alston, a pre-eminent human rights authority and investigator, whose experience spans Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, amongst other post-conflict countries, who spent less than a fortnight in Kenya have the gall to claim to be knowledgeable about these acts.
Today, it is such attitudes and reckless utterances such as Dr. Mutua’s which have meant that the youth are unable to peacefully assemble (even in café’s) to discuss as well as demand for their rights. In the space of two weeks, young activists have been mishandled and arrested, their basic crime being that they are concerned citizens. These arrests have been met with stolid silence from the political elite, from the top echelons right down to the ward councilors.
Prof. Alston depicted President Kibaki’s silence on the issue of extra judicial killings as conspicuous and problematic. That is why the police force led by Maj. Gen (Rtd.) Hussein Ali (whom Alston recommended immediate dismissal) continue to met out unrelenting beatings and tear gas on our youth.
So what are the youth to do if they cannot make their voices heard without being on the receiving end of police brute force?
Now is the time to form alliances with the Kenyan working and entrepreneurial class. Similar to the “December days” where Greek youth roused up the support of the working class, Kenya’s December days require that all adult Kenyans say “Enough is Enough!”.
Let Brig (Rtd.) Ali’s force try to inflict damage on the very same population group who are the main source of government revenue in the form of taxes.
The call is being made now to the entrepreneurial class to wield their business activist muscle. At the very least, we should stand up and be counted for the sake of all Kenyan children who are still in school, as well as those yet to be born. After all, who knows what the system will do to them once they are grown and become civic minded.
Now is the time to say NO MORE COMMISSIONS. Implement Kriegler, Waki, Ndungu, Goldenberg and the forthcoming Alston report NOW!
Postscript: If you want to make a difference to Kenya today, check out the Partnership for Change here …
Read Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s statement on the murder of Oscar Foundation Executive Director Mr Kamau King’ara and the Foundation’s Programmes Co-coordinator Mr Paul Oulu.