Kenya hope fading a year later

February 28, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 28 – Thursday February 28, 2008 was a day that Kenyans breathed a huge sigh of hope and relief. It marked a new beginning and at last people would go back to their normal lives after months of death, mayhem and destruction.

Kenyans were able to report back to work, children could go back to school and those who had sought refuge in forests and camps could finally begin finding their way back to their homes.

When President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga shook hands at Harambee House back then, people cheered while those glued to their television sets prayed and gave thanks because finally, peace had been restored.

This was the day that marked the end of the killings and displacements that had left 1,500 people dead and over 350,000 others displaced.

It was a day that put away fears of mass action, which had reduced Nairobi and other places to ghost towns.

Coalition Reality

That was then, when hope filled the air.  Last month, a report by a research company unfortunately showed that the only thing the Coalition government had managed to achieve was peace, as critics even say it is peace that cannot be trusted.

International Commission of Jurists Senior Programmes Officer Priscilla Nyokabi says, “this peace is not solid, we are not sure because threats of one of the coalition partners quitting, leaves the country wondering what next?”

She also says key problems that led to the 2007 post election crisis have remained unresolved, “this means even this peace cannot be relied upon.”

The report further showed that unemployment, corruption, insecurity, infrastructure and all other top challenges facing Kenyans have remained unresolved.

Food prices have shot up, and they continue to rise.

It is indeed a country still full of surprises when people wake up only to find they cannot drive to work because suddenly – and without warning – there is no fuel at pump stations.

George Kwena, a businessman wonders…  “Why do we have a Minister for Energy if such things are happening? Whose responsibility is it to tell Kenyans what they deserve to know?”

The shame of people dying of hunger as MPs and the government make counter accusation on who stole maize and sold it to Southern Sudan. This leaves people wondering what the definition of the word ‘leader’ is.

The magnitude of grand corruption in the coalition government makes the Anglo-Leasing and Goldenberg scandals of the previous regimes a pale shadow.

Kangundo MP Johnson Muthama says the Cabinet has failed to meet the expectations of Kenyans. “Instead things are now worse, life has become very expensive and the poor people are getting even poorer and cannot cope with the escalating food prices, what is the point of having a Cabinet of 40-plus?”

As fingers continue to point at failures in the government, eyebrows have been raised over MPs’ refusal to pay tax.

“Who will save this country?” That is a question many Kenyans keep asking.

The fate of trying the perpetrators of the 2007 post poll crisis is unknown after Parliament rejected the constitutional amendment to entrench a local tribunal.

President Kibaki and Mr Odinga signed the peace deal one year ago and agreed to implement the recommendations as set out by Chief Mediator Kofi Annan.

One year later, very little progress has been made on the Agenda Item Number Four, which involves key reforms.

Constitutional and electoral reforms have merely made baby steps and the country is yet to see a dream come true.

Most of the Internally Displaced Persons still remain unsettled.

Citizen Joyce Akoya says: “Since we as Kenyans are not happy with this government, we are only hoping that the coalition can at least for the remaining time do something for us. It needs to make sure that people don’t fight again in 2012. Our safety is more important, although corruption is just too much.”


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