Tuesday, January 29, 2008

So, Kenya finally is a failed state?

The heading sounds funny, doesn't it; a declarative question. Yeah, am wondering whether to agree that Kenya is a failed state or give it the benefit of doubt.

Kenya has been in the news for now close to a month since elections were conducted. And not just in the regional papers but even the global media. Not because Kenya conducted a great election, but because the election marked the start to an end of a state called Kenya.

Ok, what are the indicators? Finance minister Kimunya has been trying to put on a brave face that the economy would still survive the anarchy. But yesterday, he threw in the towel. He admitted that the clashes, which now have claimed over 1,000 people is sending Kenya down the recession road. He has admitted that tourism will take ages to rebuild.

As the massacres continue, especially in Naivasha and Nakuru, the police can only look on. Meaning they are either defeated, or conspiring to let Kikuyus kill Luos. I know that they are overstretched. But what do we call a state, which can not police itself?

The biggest component of a failed state is not the dead or even the economy. It is fear. The moment a country slides into a situation where people are not sure of their neighbours, where you must walk while watching your back, where you talk in whispers, for fear of being heard, then all freedoms are gone.

And believe me, Kenya has gotten there. I sent a mail to my friend (a journalist in one of the biggest media houses asking whether, the division bug had not bitten even they the 'elite' too. I asked her if in office, they are not segregating among themselves, and here is what she told me;

"Don, we do not want to believe it, but to be frank the bug has bitten us too. A Kikuyu friend of mine has suddenly stopped talking to me. When i greet him, he offers muffed responses. We hear some of our bosses from a certain tribe met to discuss how to guard their interests. We are now in a state of confuion and fear. Am not sure even sending you this mail is safe."

Fear, to me is the definition of a dead state. A people who live in fear of one another are as good as those living in cages. Kenya is a failed state.