Sunday, January 06, 2008

Kenyans Suffer for Politician Power

As stated in the previous post it is the poor that are paying the price of the politicians power struggles .

In Kenya At least 250,000 people have been displaced by the violence that followed the presidential elections, and half a million are in desperate need of aid. The majority of the city’s inhabitants live in its sprawling slums and it is this impoverished population, together with tens of thousands of displaced people in western Kenya, that has borne the brunt of the violence and disruption unleashed in the wake of the 27 December presidential and parliamentary elections.

“The most immediate need is food. Even those with money can’t buy it because all the stalls are closed or burnt,” Ingrid Munro, the managing trustee of JamiiBora Trust said

Another aid worker with many years’ experience in Kenya who asked not to be named, estimated the number of “desperate” slum-dwellers in Nairobi at hundreds of thousands. “It’s not only food they need, but also shelter and clothes.” Before this crisis, “they got by thanks to casual work and social programmes. These are not operating now,” he said, warning that unless food was supplied very soon, a major law and order problem would arise. “When people get desperate, they’ll do anything. There are plenty of people ready to sell weapons,” he said.

And with so many people hungry in so many different parts of the city, taking a truckload of food into, say, Kibera, would very likely cause a riot. Simply delivering large quantities of food in the middle of slums such as Kibera, Mathare, Kangemi or Karangware was not an option. Access remains problematic because of insecurity. UN personnel are required to comply with security procedures which complicate and in some cases prevent their entering the slums.
“You can’t give people two months’ worth of food in such places. They will have nowhere to store it and it’s likely to get looted,” according to Michael Morrison, emergency relief coordinator and programme manager with Feed the Children (Before the current crisis, FTC fed some 120,000 children through schools, a programme that is now suspended.)

Most health centres in the slums are closed. As well as offering primary health care, such centres also distribute antiretroviral (ARV) treatment for people living with HIV as well as medication for those with tuberculosis. If health centres remain closed for much longer, some of these patients may default, or interrupt their treatment. Even if clinics reopen soon, there is concern for those who are displaced or belong to an ethnic group whose members are afraid to be seen moving around. Many of the doctors working in Nairobi’s main hospitals who left the city for Christmas holidays have been unable to return to the capital.

Horace Campbell , Professor of Political Science at Syracuse University , writes:-
At independence in December 1963, Britain handed over power to people who, in essence, agreed to act as junior partners with British capitalism in Eastern and Central Africa. This partnership included an acceptance by the ruling class in Kenya of the western European forms of land ownership that stated that Africans had to be modernized from their “tribal” and “backward” ways. For forty years, Kenya was presented as a success story where a parasitic middle class and a thriving Nairobi Stock Exchange (composed of foreign capital) sought to prove that capitalism could take root in Africa...
...A Revolutionary situation without revolutionary ideas and real revolutionaries...the poorer youths are being mobilized into counter-revolutionary violence where poor and oppressed people burn and kill each other...
...The prospect of real class warfare in Kenya frightens both the government and the opposition so there is a delicate effort to manage the crisis so that the forms of capital accumulation can return to the business pages rather than the front pages...

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