Justice For the Nubian Community in Kenya

Introduction

Is the Kenya government ready to move beyond mere rhetoric towards reality? Will there ever be dialogue between the government and those marginalized minorities? The answers to these questions depend on whether there is a political will and good intention on the part of those in authority.

An instrument chosen  the to facilitate dialogue between the citizens and the government of the day was the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC).

TJRC was established in Kenya in August 2009, by the TJRC Act of 2008. Similar to the Truth and Justice reconciliation processes carried out in South Africa in the post apartheid era.

The TJRC act acknowledges that since independence was achieved in Kenya in 1963, there has occurred gross violations of human rights and abuse of power and misuse of public offices. Citizens of this country are therefore wrestling with the question of how to live with these atrocities. To bring justice and healing to the people, TJRC was formed.

The TJRC document an instrument of dialogue give power to marginalized people which will give power to the marginalized communities to express their voices on such issues as the rights, justice etc. It serves as an invitation to all Kenyans to walk together towards a true healing of relationships – grappling with the challenge of journeying from discord and mistrust towards reconciliation and respect.

Release of the TJRC report

By the time of writing this article, the TJRC report had been completed and presented to the government of Kenya for the implementation of the recommendations given. The most significant gains for the marginalized would be the content of the new constitution of 2010, in chapters which addressed the issue of marginalization  of small communities.

But alas! no sooner was the report released than the legislators of Kenya planned to ‘Kill’ it or shelve it indefinitely. This was done and so the hopes of the disadvantaged people have been shattered.

Do you remember the saying ” Justice delayed is justice denied”?.

What does this mean to the people of Kenya?

To the people of Kenya, and particularly to the marginalized communities such as the Nubian community, it simply means that their suffering will continue.  Social exclusion, where these marginalized communities are systematically blocked from rights, opportunities and resources ( eg housing, employment, health care and civic engagement), will continue.

The outcome is obvious as already seen. The affected individuals or communities are prevented from participating fully in the economic, social and political life of the society in which they live. Material deprivation is the most common result.

 

Building a Healthy Community – Redefining the Community

Society for community

Building healthy community starts with you. Look at the community you serve, a community of people with like interest and needs. Have you enabled them to talk, to share what they know and need to know, to support each other to do business together and socialize? You are probably working with a group of people who have shared concerns.

The questions before us  are about everyday life; will there be an adequate number of law enforcement officers patrolling our neighborhoods to keep us safe.

Our program seek to start and expand public public forum process by offering numerous  small gatherings at convenient dates and times, giving the opportunity to voice individual opinions, and educate citizens on complex issues.

Above all, we no longer need companies, institutions and governments to organize us. We have the tools to organize ourselves. We can share and sort out our knowledge and behaviour. We can communicate and come together in an instant. We also have new ethics and attitudes that spring from this new organization and change society in ways we cannot yet see, with openness, generosity, collaboration and efficiency.

We are increasingly using the Internets tissue to leap over borders – this is the new world order.

 

Writing this article was not meant for making money. However, the donation will help me cover my blogging expenses in the long journey I intend to make advocating for the reforms of the marginalized minority and engaging in community matters.

Donations can be made via PayPal using the button below.

 

[contact-form-7 id=”452″ title=”Contact form 1″]
Enhanced by Zemanta

Street Children Exposed to Dangerous Poisons

CHILDREN PLAY ON GARBAGE DUMP - NARA - 544794
CHILDREN PLAY ON GARBAGE DUMP – NARA – 544794 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Street children and the dump sites

The garbage dump sites in the major towns and cities in Kenya are believed to be home for street urchins who would always fight for leftovers.

These dump sites are in some cases not at designated areas but scattered everywhere and in some cases near residential areas.

The street children who are often seen cheering bloody fights between them scuffling for bags of leftovers are always exposed to dangerous and deadly poisons. Such is the life that those living in an around these dump sites are accustomed to. Domestic animals like cows and goats can be seen from time to time feeding on the wastes

A decade ago, some of these toxic landfills in Nairobi were declared to be full and ordered by the health experts to be closed. But to date the site is still receiving wastes.

In the year 2007, a study commissioned by the United Nation Environment Programme  (UNEP), examined the health implications of the dump site on children living close to it and compared soil samples from the sit with another location just outside the city. The study found that about half of the children tested had some concentration of lead in their blood exceeding internationally accepted levels. The soil samples recorded lead levels close to ten times of the safe level.

But even with this worrying results, the dump sites still draw thousands of men women and children everyday in the valleys of the garbage rummaging for recycles and daily bread.

All this happen under the watchful eye of the regulatory body called NEMA – The National Environmental Management Authority.  This is a government agency responsible for exercising autonomous authority over some areas of human activity in a regulatory or supervisory capacity. This body deal in the area of administrative law, regulation or law making – codifying and rules and regulations and imposing supervision or oversight for the benefit of the public at large.

Unfortunately very little or no supervision is done!

The rich mint millions from the filthy dump site

Another factor which keep these dump sites lively is that the wealthy business mint millions of shillings each day from middlemen who go there to collect recycles – plastics, rubber and bottles. These men and women risk their lives to make a few shillings but make the rich richer!

Promises by agencies

Years of visits and promises by Government agencies, NGO’s, development partners and  local and foreign media have done little to change the situation of people living around the dump sites. The regulatory agency does not do any supervision or control.

 

[contact-form-7 id=”663″ title=”Contact form 1_copy”]

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Blend of Culture and Democracy

English: Boda-boda. Uganda, somewhere on A109 ...
English: Boda-boda. Uganda, somewhere on A109 Road, between Jinja and Malaba Русский: Бода-бода. Уганда, на трассе А109, между Джинджей и Малабой. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

County Governments in Kenya

The country of Kenya has been divided into 47 administrative areas called Counties, each with its County Assembly, under the central government.

Kisumu County, which is one of the 47 counties, situated on the western part of Kenya has introduced a controversial bill in its County Assembly that seeks to ban women from sitting on motorcycles with their legs apart, and facing the driver/ rider. The bill recommends that women passengers sit facing sideways – seen as a more respectful posture.

Motorcycle as a means of transport is a booming business in this part of the world and has created employment to thousands of youths who would otherwise be jobless.

The local name adapted for the motorcycle “taxis” is “boda-boda”. It is a name in Kiswahili language which was borrowed from an English word “border”. This word was adapted apparently because this mode of transportation was first used to ferry passengers between border towns or villages of the neighboring countries of Tanzania and Uganda.

Having said that, and even before the bill was actually introduced in the County Assembly, it has received a mixed reaction from the citizens. Some supporting it while others opposing it saying that the bill will violate the democratic rights of women.

Women association supports

One massive support to the bill came from the giant Kenya women Association ( known as Maendeleo ya Wanawake), who said that the bill, if passed will make women sit decently on the motorcycle taxis. They called for its quick enforcement into law, and further suggested that the law be extended country wide.

The women association said that women wearing short skirts expose their bodies indecently, which is frowned upon in the tradition of people living in that part of the country. Some of these women passengers suggestively hold the drivers from behind, leaving no room for imagination.

Culture vs democracy.

The push for the introduction of the controversial bill has been triggered by traditional or cultural reasons. It is known that the Luo culture ( Luo is a tribe found in the Kisumu county) frown upon women who expose their bodies indiscreetly in front of men.

Introduction of the bill in the County Assembly is an indication  that certain types of rules, customs or traditions may become law, or regulatory legislation may be introduced to formalize or enforce the convention. In a social context, a convention may retain the character of “unwritten law” or custom.

Here is a clear example of the blend of tradition and democracy. are we going to see more of this happening in future?

What do you think? Please send your comments.

 

[contact-form-7 id=”453″ title=”Contact form 1_copy”]

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

The Giant Tusks – Historical Land Mark in Mombasa

Tusks in Mombasa
Tusks in Mombasa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mombasa City

Is the name Mombasa new to you? If the answer is yes, then here is a short description of the place:

Mombasa is a major coastal city  in Kenya – famous in the tourism circle. It is the second important city in Kenya after Nairobi. Mombasais also the largest modern port in East Africa.

But most importantly, the name Mombasa features very prominently in the world history – it is this coastal city  that was used as the headquarters when the Portuguese and the Arabs occupied and ruled  these parts of East Africa in the 16 – 18th century.

The monument tusks

Having described this famous city  Mombasa, when one is visiting, and happen to drive or walk along the main street to the port of Mombasa, called Moi Avenue, (used to be know as Kilindini Road), one will not miss to see the extra ordinary  ‘ elephant tusks’ (man made of course). The two pairs of the crossed tusks stand astride the dual carriage way Moi Avenue.

These structures are the ceremonial arcs built in 1953 to commemorate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth ll . It is a famous land mark in this city.

The erection o this monument must have some connection with the death of the Queen’s father in 1952. The Queen happened to be on a visit to Kenya, (not in Mombasa), when she received the news about her father’s death

Condition of the tusks

What prompted me to write this article is the poor state of condition these metal structures were in when I recently walked along the Mombasa Moi avenue.

The metal structures showed corrosion (rusting) occurring on the lower sides. Large indentations can also be seen on these lower parts apparently  caused by vehicle accidents. The locks to the manway covers on the bottom sides are missing making the inside accessible  the street children and other irresponsible citizens who throw debris in these parts. These dirt cause rusting of the metals when dump.

Why I wrote this article

I wrote this article mainly to create awareness.

I believe that the article will raise concern among those who care and value preservation of history for the benefit of the future generations.

It is also my intention to remind the local authority charged with the maintenance of such important monuments to be more vigilant.

I must also remember to thank the British and American navy personnel who from time to time in the past spent their efforts and time repairing this monument whenever their war ships   called at the port of Mombasa.

Lastly, but not least I feel privileged having mentioned in my blog an event connected with the name of her majesty The Queen on England.

Writing this article was never meant for making money. However, the donation will help me cover my blogging expenses in the long journey I intend to make advocating for the reforms of the marginalized minority and engaging in community matters

Donations can be made via PayPal using the button below.

 

[contact-form-7 id=”663″ title=”Contact form 1_copy”]
Enhanced by Zemanta

Slum Upgrading and Land Rights

English: slum (location ?)
English: slum (location ?) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Slum upgrading – the Kibra  case

Slum dwellers all over the world see a different world from the rest of the people. Their world is not as perfect –  it is somehow  upside-down, inside-out and confusing.

These people live below poverty line. The live under pathetic condition with little or no basic human needs, health, sanitation, piped water etc.

So governments and other non governmental organizations come up with the bright idea of upgrading these slums to uplift the living conditions of the dwellers.

So what is slum upgrading?

Slum upgrading (SU )is a process through which informal areas are improved, formalized  and incorporated into the city, such that all essential  city services by the local government are extended to the slum area.

Normally it is essential and very important that upgrading planning and activities re undertaken with the participation of all parties – residents, community groups, business and local authorities.

However, one key element in these processes, which makes a lot of difference is legalizing or regularizing properties and providing secure land tenure to the residents. This will make the people in the sum safe from eviction and who will also enjoy long term stability.

In such a case, the concerned authority, which is the government, is in the process, essentially “upgrading the community”

This notion is especially very important to the residents of Kibra of the Nubian origin, who have rightfully claimed the Kibra land from the national government . A land which was given to them over one century ago by the then British colonial government.

Incidentally, during one of the many consultative meetings between the Nubian Community representatives and the government authorities, a term used by one of the members of the government representatives was found to be improper. The “what if” phrase used was in bad test and was rejected. ” what if the other communities in Kibra  object to the idea of giving back the land to the Nubians ” , should not be entertained by the government  side. The government ought to come out firmly and decisively on this issue – in favor of the rightful owners of the land  of course.

Stop politicizing the issue!

Writing this article was not meant for making money. However, the donation will help me cover my blogging expenses in the long journey I intend to make advocating for the reforms of the marginalized minority and engaging in community matters.

Donations can be made via PayPal using the button below.

 

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Street Children Dilemma

Paradise Lost!_Street Children_Indonesia_02
Paradise Lost!_Street Children_Indonesia_02 (Photo credit: henri ismail)

Street children

The Kenyan Coastal city of Mombasa has become a heaven for street children in the resent years. These children come from various parts of Kenya. Their numbers are increasing rapidly and they have become a great security risk in the city. Those who came to this city in mid 90’s are now grown ups, homeless and jobless.

The term ‘street children’ is used for children experiencing homelessness and who primarily reside on the streets of a city. This kind of living being more less a more permanent state for them.

These children differ in age, gender, ethnicity, social class, and  have had different experiences throughout their life times.

The causes of their misery are varied but are often related to domestic, economic and social disruptions in the families, including, but not limited to poverty, breakdown of homes and/or families, and political unrest.

What kind of life do they live?

They have no any kind of basic sanitation, no running water.

They have no descent clothing, they wear rags.

They have no food or drinks.

These children in street situation are especially vulnerable to violence and abuse. They are denied access to education and excluded from any kind of basic needs.

Menace to society

These children harass passersby by begging and pickpocketing.

The streets in the city, where they ‘live’ are filthy with litter and smelling bad due to lack of sanitation.

They cause damage to environment, and theft, especially of car parts and other petty thefts have increased significantly.

Most of them use drugs like cocaine and become drug addicts at very young age

Public reactions

Due to the above reasons, the public reactions to the street children has been harsh because they are seen as public menace. They are therefore subjected to verbal and physical abuse and even harmed in some cases.

Rights of children

Rights of the child is a moral claim to a specific standard of treatment that others must obey and respect. These are laid down in the UN Convention on The Rights of Children – a legal document that sets out a comprehensive series of rights, social, economic, cultural and political – to which all children are entitled.

Therefore, having said the above, the public ought to realize that these children, who are in an unfortunate situation, are protected by the law and should be careful when handling them.

Writing this article was not meant for making money. However the donation will help me cover my blogging expenses in the long journey  I intend to make advocating for the reforms of the marginalized minority.

Donations can be made via PayPal using the button below.

Enhanced by Zemanta

The Bill of Rights and the Marginalised People

The Bill of Rights

The new constitution of Kenya has a comprehensive chapter on the bill of rights in Chapter 4.

The bill of rights plays a central role in Kenyan law and governance and remains a fundamental symbol of the freedoms of culture of the nation.

It is integral part of Kenya democratic state and is the framework for social, economic and cultural policies.

Chapter 4 of the constitution, in part, stipulates that:

. State organs and all public offices have the duty to address the needs of the vulnerable groups within the society including members of the minority or marginalised communities.

. That minority and marginalized groups participate in governance and other spheres of life. – This is what the new constitution of Kenya says.

So as to make matters more easier for the disadvantaged minority groups, the constitution provides for a number of special seats for the marginalized in the county governments. This was to be done through political parties lists of nominees for the county assemblies.

But contrary to that, what happened during the process was that the political parties disregarded the constitution and and the fundamental rights of the diwsadvantaged, thus many such communities did not find their way in the parties lists published by the Indipendent Electoral and Boundaries Commission ( IEBC ), and completely missed out on these opportunities. The political parties completely ndisregarded them in the nomination process.

This is unfair to the marginalized groups and is a major blow to the principles of equality. It infringes the constitution and the fundamental rights.

One such community, whose hopes has been dashed is the marginalized Nubian community scattered in several parts of Kenya, and whose ancestral home is Kibra, in the neighborhood of the city of Nairobi.

( see more on the history of Nubians by visiting my website www.fancywriter.com ).

The community has petitioned Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) expressing the community’s concern over this matter, and is awaiting response.

The problems the community is going through need representation.

Writing this article was never about making money. However, the donation I ask for will help me cove my blogging expenses in the long journey I intend to make advocating for the reforms of the marginalized  minority, and also engaging in community matters.

Donation can be made via PayPal using the button below.

Origin of The Nubians

Who are the Nubians?

English: African black Nubian woman, Egyptian ...
English: African black Nubian woman, Egyptian Sudan 3/4 lgth., standing, facing right. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nubians are non-Arab Muslim tribes from the Nubia region in Sudan. This is an area between Aswan in southern Egypt and Dongola in northern Sudan.

Most Nubian groups speak their own dialect of the Nubian language mixed with Arabic, (Arabic being the common language of business and trade in Sudan).

Although this group of people essentially speak different languages, they are identical in social, economic and cultural organization. This was the reason why those of them who relocated to East Africa – i.e. in Kenya, Uganda and parts of Tanzania found it easy to identify themselves as Nubians with one common language,(Nubian language).

Nubian lives

The Nubians are traditionally settled farmers. They are characterized mostly by dark skin. Although some of them have what might be called “Arab” or ” Mediterranean ” features, while the others have more ” Central African ” features.

Clearly they are not and never were ” pure race “. Since from ancient times they have intermingled with people from both northern Sudan and southern Egypt.

The Nubians are unified however by their strong cultural allegiance, by their language and by recognition that they are people with a very ancient and glorious past.

 

Writing this article was not meant for making money. However, the donation will help me cover my blogging expenses in the long journey I intend to make advocating for the reforms of the marginalized minority, and engaging in community matters .

Donation can be made via PayPal using the button below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta