POLITICS

WHEN THE KENYA-SOMALIA WALL IS DE-CONSTRUCTED…


Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta and the first Lady Madam Margaret at the Great Wall of China. Courtesy www.nomad.sleepout.com
Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta and the first Lady Madam Margaret at the Great Wall of China. Courtesy http://www.nomad.sleepout.com

In constructing a wall between Kenya and Somalia, the Government meant well: to keep all Alshabaab outside Kenya. This, the majority of Kenyans seem to welcome.

However, as I will soon demonstrate, the wall may and maybe will not serve the purpose. We will therefore come to see why we may need no wall in any area of our lives.

Yet before I proceed, with the polemic against walls of whatever kind, we need to know what a ‘wall’ essentially is. A wall is a fortified barrier, put up either for good or bad purpose(s).

In the case of the Kenya Government, the wall is arguably put up for the good of all Kenyans—security. And it appears the wall is one of the most ‘tangible'(solid) security measures ever implemented by a human being.

But, as we have already seen, whether the wall will ‘work’ is another matter altogether. To find out whether the wall between Kenya and Somalia is a worthwhile measure against the touchy issue of insecurity, we will recourse to ‘deconstruction’. That is a radical analysis of the wall and its purposes.

Hence when keenly examined, the wall in question or whatever other ‘wall’ we bring into consideration, defeats the purpose, and it undermines itself to the point of being useless; meaningless in other words.

But I am not saying, that the project has to stall. No. The project has to continue in so far as the people have put their faith in it. Yet whether we have a wall or not, the world, especially Kenya will never be safe(r) in the strict sense of the term.

We must always remember that ‘man’ is ‘his’ own enemy. This means that a person can be his\or her own source of destruction. Also, a person can and is always destroyed by another person. That is true no matter how negligible the damage, the impact, the destruction. Hence no wall between ‘man’ and ‘man’ will ever work. Yet if ever it works, it is mostly to our own detriment. Illustratively, the people on either side of the wall may not survive the alienation, physical or mental or intellectual.

Incidentally, for our own good, we must realize that no war has ever been physical. The fact that we may see people engaged in a physical fight will not falsify my claim at whatever level . In fact the exchange of the fists(for example) is only a demonstration of the real fight—the fight between minds, ideologies, viewpoints , biases, and so on. Hence the only real war that ever takes place is the war of minds. Might doesn’t make right. Alternatively put, two wrongs do not make a right.

And if we have to continue with our argument against wall, it will go like this: the wall will never and has never been known to lock out an enemy since the beginning of humanity. Consult the (in)famous Berlin Wall and many others. When many such barriers were destroyed, and some rendered useless, they served to show all that when a person gets tired of the wall, they must find a way to get around it, or even demolish it, since they were the ones who erected it; in the first place.

Yet again, we may think we have locked out our mortal enemies when in reality we have locked them in. What will happen?

Meanwhile, what is an ‘Alshabaab’? For our own good once more, it could be anyone with a malicious intention. Let us not forget that and not put total faith in a wall— in fact a physical one, no matter how well it may be guarded.

.By Moses Omusolo

POLITICS

THE DAADAB AFFAIR DE-CONSTRUCTED: GOVERNMENT SOLUTION UNTENABLE


Northern Kenya DaDaaB refugee camp. COURTESY KTN
Northern Kenya DaDaaB refugee camp. COURTESY KTN

The Government resolution to forcibly repatriate Daadab refugees and to close down the camp is uncalled for because it is purely detrimental.

Yet nobody can deny that our country has been arguably insecure since the 1998 bomblast. Hence it cannot be denied that our country needs to be, if not as secure as it used to be, it has to be more than secure. Hence the need for radical measures.

But what is ‘radical’ should not be futile, detrimental even. It has, on the contrary, to be strictly ethical, lawful and positively transformative. So it follows that the State resolution to close down the largest refugee camp in the world on account of its link to unlawful activities, especially terror, positively portrays the traditional benevolent, responsible, democratic, courageous country in nothing other than bad light.

Kenya will have offended her own people and the world at large because of ill-treating, manhandling, abandoning and disappointing the landless, the orphans, the widows and widowers, the hungry, the sick, the helpless, the poor of the poor—in a word, the refugees(who happen to have sought asylum from all of Africa, if not the world).

All this will be done in the flimsy name of rooting out our most recent arch enemies the Alshabaab, and their sympathizers. Indeed, the Alshabaab are, not only our sworn enemies, but also of the world because they are exterminating terrorists. For instance, because of the Alshabaab, our dear country has has lost (and will be losing) immensely both in property and in human life. A fact that warrants the terror group to be annihilated.

But the methods? So far, of course apart from sending our troops to counteract lawlessness in the war-torn Somalia, are highly questionable. One of them being to close down and forcibly evacuate the people we as a country are morally and legally bound to protect and empower until their dignity is restored. What then has changed?

Of course there is insecurity— the kind enough to call for desperate measures to bring the country to safety—in fact total safety(which is highly utopian). But according the poet Milton, Paradise was lost. So we will only manage high(er) degrees of safety and peace, but not the kind that was found in ‘Paradise’.

Yet all the above has not been a clear(er) picture of the consequences associated with the State’s decision to end what is now a refugees’ strong tower; in fact now a ‘home’ since majority of the victims of circumstance have been living there for almost or more than twenty years, enjoying almost all the rights and privileges of a full Kenyan citizen. I will recourse to deconstruction.

When deconstructed or radically analyzed, the Government position is hopeless in so far as I will show it to be baseless. Hence a Government which will not be a refuge to the vulnerable just because it doesn’t want to is inevitably a cruel one.

Moreover, to seek to please the enemy(Alshabaab) is cowardly, to say the least. Closing down the Daadab camp as a last ditch attempt to defeat terrorists is reactionary rather than ‘proactionary’ on the part of our Government; blaming and victimizing the homeless and the powerless at that reflects badly on our National Intelligence Service and consequently the State.

Refusing to listen to alternative courses of action is to stoop lower than the already evil Alshabaab; acting belatedly in the case of an a national emergency and catastrophe is a sure sign of a banana republic—all the refugees had better go back to an unsafe Somalia(as the Government expects) and die with dignity as opposed to dying in a comparatively safer country that is Kenya; assuming that all refugees are evil Somalis and therefore deserve to be forcibly repatriated is to reason direly illogically in a situation that clearly demands clear-headedness, open-mindedneses, and rational empathy.

What more can be said? Nothing apart from reiterating that our Government has to address the ‘Alshabaab Affair’ with dignified means. The die is cast.