Monday, 27 July 2015

Who will Restore the hope of the Northern Child??

The government should be worried about the impact of extreme insecurity on education in northeastern Kenya. It is a matter of urgency that the region is freed from the grip of militants to save education from total collapse.

According to civil societies and education stakeholders in North-Eastern kenya , one of the most pressing issues caused by rampant insecurity is the inability of school going children in the region (NEP) -mainly inhabited by Kenyan-Somalis -to continue their studies after an estimated 2,000 teachers have fled the area fearing for their lives following deadly attacks by Somalia-based terror group Al-Shabaab.

In the past year the education sector in northern Kenya has declined. There are no teachers and many schools have been closed. Hundreds of student
s are feeling hopeless.
Without education, we might as well hand the whole of northern Kenya to the armed militia. Education is the hope of society for a bright future. It is the tool that fosters dreams of peace, independence, success, and even hope. It is a basic human right. This is a dream that is about to be shattered by the paralysis in the education sector in northern Kenya, courtesy of  terror gangs.

The children of NEP are in danger of being robbed of their hope for the future due to the failure by the government to protect them and provide education. This group of disillusioned and neglected young people risk becoming a formidable foe and a target of extremists, human traffickers and all those with  ill intentions. Despite all this, neither the cabinet Secretary for Education nor that of security visited the region, to at least assess the situation.

All stakeholders in education and human rights groups must ensure that the people of Wajir, Mandera, and Garissa do not watch their hopes for a decent education die. Insecurity must be addressed now.

As all this happen, the so called leaders of NEP are dining and wining in Nairobi issuing one press release after the other in five star hotels.  So are the professionals. And the  lords of poverty in Northern Kenya - NGOs. After all the future of their kids is secured.

Even those who convinced us that they were walking in search of hope, ended it in disarray.  Noordin Bedel and the walkers who met the president had no bad intentions and should have been supported by all involved.
My advise to the team -Walk of Hope- going forward: Be united and sort the rotten potatoes in your midst before they spoil the team work.  My concern comes from the aroused hopes of the northerners including myself. Otherwise ni kama sina otherwise...

Sunday, 19 July 2015

The Walk of Hope: Report Card and the way forward.

For the first time, Northerners - the good people of the restive Noth-Eastern - had something to identify with. As Northerners. It's such a shame that we are still hopeful after 52 years of self rule. But that is a point well driven home besides he who has hope has everything. Albert Einstein once said, "learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning." We thank Allah that we are still hopeful.

The walk has inspired many Northerners as expected because of the levels of despair among them. Despite the poor planning and the failure to maximize on the occasion at many fronts, credit to the walkers who reached Border Point One- the first point the colonialists marked when they were drawing the map of kenya.

Now what next? The Walk of Hope seemed very fragile from the outlook and now enters the next phase of the dream, where challenges of group dynamics set in. How this stage is managed will be crucial to the aroused dreams of our people.
In a group of individuals with differing opinions and interests, some with celebrated unpopular history of rigidity that can give obstinance a new meaning, I pray wisdom will prevail and the hope of Northerners shall be to no avail.

From my own observation, the Walk of Hope is well represented at least at the core faces involved. Noordin Bedel from Garissa, Salah Abdi Sheikh from Wajir and Dr Abdinasir Mohamed Khalif from Mandera.
Building on these three pillar stones, the Walk of Hope can take Northerners to the promised land if and only if:

1) They are accommodating, and are willing to work with all divergent views without the rigidity and inflexibility that characterized the onset of the walk.

2) They can bridge the gap between the existing structures of clan hegemony and new, young and restless generation from the North in a smooth transition devoid of disrespect and negative discourse.
3) They put the community before their personal glory. There were instances where the walk seemed an individual morning stroll with individual goals of using it as a launching pad platform for personal political projects.
4) They are willing to learn from past mistakes in the many attempts to forge a unity of purpose in the north.

Considering the above and many other factors are put into perspective, I pray that the feelings of Northerners do not end up a subject of trial and error.