Wednesday, July 01, 2009

First they came for the poor...

In crime as in other facets of Kenyan life, it would seem that Pastor Martin Niemoller's poem is coming true to life for the uber rich. For a long time you could talk dismissfully about how crime had infected the slums moved to Eastlands. Some years back, I was talking to somebody about the street kids in Nai and the unfortunate attitude we all have towards them. Clearly they would grow up one day. They'll have grown in harsh conditions but seeing how those fortunate than them live. They would naturally want what the well-off had. So at the time, I was saying to him that the choice was either to work to change their lives when they were young (act as a guardian and provide access to schooling), perhaps reunite them with their families. Or to wait to be confronted with a gun 10yrs later. We are now 10 years later and crime is catching with us all. Private security guards with their rungus are no match for gun-totting fatalistic youngsters.

Crime is one facet.

The others are water: in towns, this will of course manifest itself in water rationing in urban areas. Do note however that there are plenty of private water distributors. In rural areas, we have situations building up everywhere. Having grown up around a self-help water project now sadly defunct due to too many disputes, I saw first hand how a community project could easily degenerate to one for himself and to hell with others kind of situation. How about where pastoralists meet subsistence farmers?

Electricity: no rains, no water. As per KenGen's 2008 annual report, 72% of the power it generates is hydrology-based (water to you and me). Very sobering...Especially when we have some much of our economic growth pegged on growing usage of electricity

Land: Say no more. Except as desertification becomes and issue, arable land shrinks. The 60-70% agriculture population is going where.

Hope we'll avoid the fate of the frog that was chilling out in the sufuria as the heat was turned up.


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Maishinski said...

Macro fundamentals have changed big time... and its not just the missing Rain.

Every time I read about local events in the news I get this thought at the back of my head that we are slowly drifting down to total anarchy.

Crime wise, Kenya is quickly becoming as dangerous as Nigeria / South Africa.

More scary in our case because our Police force is demoralized, our legal system doesnt work and if the empty rhetoric is anything to go by, our leaders are still ready to sacrifice people's lives to get/stay in power.

Going forward, any investment I make will be short term. In 2011, I will liquidate everything and keep funds in a foreign bank until I see solid stability signals in 2012 elections.