Wednesday, December 25, 2013

WHO WILL COME TO THE AID OF KENYA'S POOR ? In late october 2013 , Kenyans awoke to the sad news of a fatal accident involving a train and a matatu operating on the Umoja route . In keeping with our notorious tradition of locking the gate after the horse had long bolted , the cabinet secretary transport and infrastructure acted by cancelling the operating licence of the Umoiner sacco whose buses , he claimed , operated without valid licences. Coming from the Cabinet secretary , it was a damning indictment on the traffic department of the police and his ministry , whose staff are guilty of complicity in circumventing the laws . The cabinet secretary gave an order to demolish all structures , residential and business , constricting the railway line . His concern was that the proximity of these structures to the railway line was a threat to life . Two months down the line , with little or nothing having been done to clear either side of the railway line of encroachment , an accident happened that injured many . The cabinet secretary has been vindicated but a lethargic bureaucracy did not actualise his order in time , hence should be held accountable for the injuries and any deaths not yet reported . It is not out of choice , but ignorance and desperation that these people gamble with their own lives . The proliferation of tin shacks along the railway line did not happen overnight . Those in authority allowed them to grow .These shacks house people who dont have the means to live a decent life , more specifically , those who have nothing to look forward to . It may sound good to move these people away from the railway line for their own safety , but what alternative accomodation does the government have for them ? Often , once the bulldozers come and flatten everything in their path , it becomes the end of the chapter . It does not matter that these people have been rendered homeless in a hostile world , having also lost the only possesions they had . Housing is one the major problems facing kenyans in urban areas and even with governmment promises to put up affordable houses , there is very little , if anything , that is being done . The rural urban migration dictated by poverty and the need to search for jobs compounds the situation . In kibera , for instance , beneficiaries of the low cost houses put up to help the poor were well paid civil servants . Who will come to the aid of the poor man who cannot speak for himself if he is constantly on the periphery of the governments blurred vision ?

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