I want to share with you something I have been thinking deeply about recently.
Here it is; each major community in this country needs a paramilitary of its own. By paramilitary, I mean some ethnic junta, drawing its inspiration from a form of murderous ethnic jingoism.
Each county must, as a matter of urgency, set aside a huge chunk of its development funds to be used in creating County Youth Service where youths shall be trained, alongside clearing of sewers and bushes, some military techniques.
This is extremely urgent. What is good for the national government should be good for the regions. You all now know that security is your responsibility.
It will be dangerous, even reckless, for county governments to leave the safety and security of their peoples to the designs and devices of the national government.
You all know that the national government – and when I say the national government I mean ‘central government’ – already has its paramilitary, alongside the police and the army. This combination is bad for democracy, especially the kind that is based on ethnic emotions such as ours.
In a country like Kenya, with an increasing ‘in-group’ and ‘outgroup’ sentimentalities, rented violence becomes an important aspect of maintaining power. Mutahi Ngunyi has this ‘rented violence’ study. And you all know Ngunyi is the top political and security consultant for the ministry of devolution where national youth service is domiciled. And you all know every time a massacre happens, all Ngunyi tweets is ‘look at the pattern’.
Where a government, or state, is likely to resort to outsourcing violence, rather than use the ‘violent outfits’ under its command and sanctioned by law, any massacre, any ethnic cleansing, committed by such a group, will always go unpunished, and the sponsoring politician, if he or she be the head of such a state, or government, will escape accountability.
In my view, there is every reason to believe that this scenario is likely to occur here, sooner rather than later. There is too much subtle ethnic posturing and determination to rule ‘forever’ which can only be sustained in a space of utter lawlessness.
And you all know how the so called international justice institutions like the ICC can be helpless, hopeless and hapless to mete out justice to survivors of rented ethnic violence.
You also now know how the media, with just a headline, can spin injustice into justice, falsehoods into truth and past ethno-political grievances into contemporary pathologies.
I was listening to Gov. Isaac Ruto some time ago. He had called the people of Bomet at a hotel here in Nairobi to put before them his reasons for pushing Pesa Mashinani. He told them an interesting story about ECD teachers.
Since independence, the government of Kenya has never employed pre-primary school teachers. Each year, for a very long time, it had been promise after promise. Then devolution happened and counties decided to employ pre-school teachers.
Then national government got alarmed and TSC, an agency of the national government, went to court to bar such a move, claiming that ‘all teachers’ must be under it!
Well, to date, TSC is still setting ‘policy mechanisms’ to employ pre-school teachers. For Bomet, Gov Ruto changed the name from ‘ECD teachers’ to ‘ECD assistants’ and employed all those great people you first meet when you can’t handle a pen and paper to even write your name.
I bring you this story of Bomet to tell you how mandarins of the so called national government can stall your lives. For security, you only live once.
Between waiting for protection from Nairobi, and having it from Busia, Mandera, Kisumu etc, which is better? And, mark you, the national government, with its ‘rule forever’ mentality, can never put the police under commands it can’t control.
Had the police in Mandera, or some form of ‘county guards’ well trained and equipped been under Governor Ali Roba, who had intelligence over the Al shabaab attackers, may be, the 28 teachers would still be alive. May be, the 36 quarry workers would still be digging stones.
So county paramilitaries will also be good in protecting locals in moments when Nairobi cannot agree whether your lives are worth protecting or politically important for their ‘voting blocs’.
But more importantly, I argue for paramilitaries which are laced in ethnic nationalism. Tribes in Kenya must respect each other. The assumption that only one or two tribes can kill, rape, maim, evict or forcibly circumcise etc without ever being made accountable should be proven wrong.
Until the country is truly ‘united’ in body and soul, the best safeguards for ethnic massacres are security measures developed around communities as the SI unit of national security.
In the US, each state has a national guard whose command isn’t the white house. In fact, the US constitution provides for a ‘well regulated militia’ to defend the people when government becomes rogue. And with all these measures, the right to bear arms is so sacrosanct that among the biggest lobbies in the US is the National Rifles Association. It is like a fundamental right to have a gun!
So, I call upon Gov. Awiti to start recruiting our youths. If anything, over 98% do not get admitted to the army and gikmakamago. Ready souls. Go on, be strong!
These are my weekend musings. Just random thoughts.
Dikembe Disembe is a blogger.