I have to confess that I’ve looked at pictures on the internet of Kenya and its wildlife. I’ve even longingly leafed through brochures while day dreaming about the day I can take a vacation there. Aside from the fact it would take me an age to save up, I’m not so sure it’s a country deserving of tourists.
Now, I’m not talking about the “real” people of Kenya, they have enough to deal with (as you’re about to find out). It’s the hierarchy I have a problem with. Not only is the political system in a mess there, the very people who are supposed to support and protect are doing anything but for their population.
What is a Constitution and is it Worth it?
Considering we in the USA are well versed with our constitution, it’s not often I find people who know exactly what it is. So, for those of you who are a little confused let me give you a brief outline. A country’s constitution is a set of rules that outline everything from how the economy is run to policies on human rights. Obviously there is a lot more to it than that, but I did say I was going to be brief!
You should know that pretty much every single country in the world has a constitution, and Kenya’s has been under the spotlight for some time now. The problems people here have been suffering is what makes me ask if it’s even worth having a constitution.
Violence of the Worst Kind
Back in 2010 changes were made to the constitution in Kenya in the hope it would rectify both the political and social issues that have been reported world-wide since the violence that took place in 2007. For those of you who have no idea what happened, here it is in brief and it doesn’t make for pretty reading! Basically, in the eyes of the people the wrong man won the election.
At first there were “peaceful” protests, but this quickly escalated into violence. Unfortunately, it was the sort of violence that will make anyone who doesn’t believe putting human genes in embryos is ethical, think again.
Firstly, the violence was ethnically oriented and resulted in the death of a number of Kikuyus. If this wasn’t enough the protesters were encouraged on radio and television to continue their blood thirsty rampage. At this point over 50 women and children (some as young as 1 month old) were burned alive in a church. There is more, but I refuse to go into it here.
A Constitution for one and all – or is it?
Although the harrowing information above dates back to 2007, the changes made to the Kenyan constitution in 2010 haven’t really made any difference. The main changes included things like a right to dignity, the right to live peacefully and the right to life. Since then both the security forces and (dare I mention it in the same sentence), the terrorist group Al-Shabaab who have been linked to Al-Qaeda.
Both groups are accused of gross acts of violence against ethnic groups within the country, and human rights defenders. If that wasn’t enough, smear campaigns have been widely publicized belittling people who stand up for civil society. In fact, the civil society has been dubbed the “evil society”.
All in all, the so-called reforms made to the constitution in 2010 have had little or no effect on the way of life in Kenya. People are still suffering at the hands of the very governing bodies that are supposed to protect them. Plus, they have a prominent terrorist group to contend with.
It Really Isn’t all Sunsets and Safaris
Of course, the tourist industry is still around in Kenya, and visitors to the country are unlikely to see first hand the sort of violence that plagues it. As with many situations like this, atrocities are carried out in the dead of night or behind closed doors.
What we should all remember is whilst many parts of the world are in turmoil, Kenya is so far proving that we should question the effectiveness of a constitution? I’m not saying they should be abolished, I just don’t understand why reforms cannot be enforced.