But this August 2010 was very different. Mighty different!!
I will continue with images from Kenya's KATIBA day in August over the next few days: Here the PM takes the oath of office.
Powerful forces behind the scenes including the president’s own close advisors not to mention his intelligence boys were very much against Kenyans getting a new constitution. Hopefully one day Kenyans will get to hear of at least a fraction of the things that went on behind the scenes to frustrate things. But historians will record that in the month of August 2010 miracles happened and Kenyans got a wonderful new constitution, in my view the best in Africa.
By some miracles one Mwai Kibaki who has never been enthusiastic and passionate about anything in his life (even the political fight of his life in 2007) was suddenly deeply passionate about Kenyans passing a new constitution and criss-crossed many different parts of the country campaigning like some youngster rookie president.
As the miracle month approached the end with the many wonderful things that happened, and as most Kenyans pinched themselves to confirm that it was all real and happening, yet another miracle was dropped on their laps. Folks went to bed paying about Kshs 7 per minute for their calls even as the leading mobile phone service in the country was still able to declare obscene profits in the region of 20.9 billion. The next August morning Kenya suddenly woke up to Kshs 3 per minute to all networks and short text messages to all networks was at a mere shilling. Zain the company that introduced these rates told Kenyans that this was NOT an offer but a more permanent rate structure. As you read this Kenyans are paying as little as 2 shillings for Safaricom to Safaricom calls (which is an offer as the company thinks of what else to do to keep its’ obscene profits).
Why the number of Somalis in Kenya exploded
By Guest writer
Early this year, rumours had it that the number of Somalis in Kenya have increased substantially. And that the results for the census that was carried last year were cancelled because of this. Actually, this story appeared in one of the tabloids in Kenya - The Star. Now, the results are out; Oparanya officially announced the Kenya Census 2009 results on 31st August, 2010.
Seems like they are not rumours anymore; the population of Somalis in Kenya which was just under a million in 1999 has more than doubled in just a decade and now stands at about 2.4 million. Is that possible? Yes and no. The new figures for the Somalis would not be possible if you base your analysis on natural growth alone, i.e. the net difference between births and deaths. But, there are many ‘non-natural’ reasons that could increase the population of a community.
Thus the question here is; what could have caused the exponential growth of the Somalis in Kenya? In my opinion there are many reasons underlying this seemingly doubtful growth rate that have nothing to do with immigration. And that the growth rate in essence could be a true reflection of the Somali population in Kenya. Therefore, these reasons include, but are not limited to, the following; changes in method of data collection and analysis, and changes in the pattern of intra-country migration – notably from nomadic to sedentary lifestyles. Other reasons could include inaccuracies, either deliberate or accidental, in the base population from which we found our previous assumptions. If, for example, the earlier census was not properly conducted or the results intentionally distorted, both of these would have an effect on the validity of our base population i.e. 1989, 1999 etc.
I know for sure the method of calculating Somalis in Kenya has changed. This, by sheer happenstance, I came to learn while a student at a certain college in Nairobi when we were given some assignments part of which entailed getting some figures from the census book. A friend of mine, he was a Turkana, decided for some reasons to compare the Somali population in Kenya to his community’s. He was shocked when he realized that the Somalis were indeed much fewer than the Turkanas. When I went back to the library with him, I was stunned too. The Somalis were divided into clans and each clan listed separately. Only a tiny minority were listed as Somalis. I later explained to my friend that the Degodias, Gurres, Ajurans and Ogadens he was seeing were actually Somali clans and not some distinct communities.
Why they decided to enumerate the Somalis in that manner is something that I have never understood. Now, if indeed the ‘Somali’ population, as listed in the 1989 census, was much lower than the Turkanas in Kenya, would the KNBS also be basing their analysis on inaccurate figures? Wasn’t it also easy for the guys behind these evil machinations to push the figures for the Somalis downwards? I have this feeling they not only could do that but they did. Why they did it is something that we would probably need to ponder on, for a long time to come.
Secondly, the Somalis in Kenya are predominantly nomads. We also know that the region mostly inhabited by these people has suffered from perennial drought and famine. This, I know for a fact, pushed many nomads to a sedentary lifestyle. Some of my relatives currently living in Garissa can attest to that. Also, it is only possible for government officials to enumerate settled residents. I thus, do not believe that the census clerks can exhaustively count nomadic tribesmen wandering in the expansive arid northeast, especially, when the census exercise is carried within a relatively short period of time. Therefore, the fact that many people now live in the urban centres in North-Eastern would definitely affect the number of Kenyan Somalis and of course push their numbers upwards.
Thirdly, and slightly related to the previous point is that the enumerators could have done a brilliant job this time round. I have a feeling that with each subsequent census the sophistication of the whole exercise improves. And this would have a positive effect on the census. Therefore, this would most likely increase the population of a community and in this case the Somalis who usually were not counted would effectively be captured by the census clerks.
Fourthly, I have this feeling that someone somewhere has some vendetta against the Somalis. I say this because it was only early this year when we heard that there would be some audit of Somali owned properties in the city. I am convinced that someone, reeling from the failure of the anti terrorism bill fail to go through, wants to pass the same through the backdoor. Thus as Kenyans we need to be careful about this shadowy figures.
Conversely, the argument that immigration, too, has something to do with the increase of the Somalis could be true. And, in the case that this is true then the government should be held responsible for that. How, for example, should Kenyan Somalis be held accountable for the corruption condoned by the government? If any non Kenyan Somali has illegally obtained Kenyan citizenship then I doubt whether their accumulated numbers could exceed a few thousands. Thus, I doubt this last point could substantially increase the number of Somalis.
Lastly, most of the above would also be true for the Turkanas whose numbers have also been questioned. Or, is this some clever way of justifying the imminent downward revision of the number of Somalis in Kenya? By making it appear as though it’s not just Kenyan Somalis they have a problem with? Anyway, I pray that sooner rather than later we will come to bottom of all this.
Question for Kumekucha readers to ponder:
Recent developments point to increased pressures to charge for quality content on the web and even at times on TV where it has mostly been free. And so is the future in TV services like DirectTV in the Americas Caribbean etc. and DSTV closer to home? What are your views? Would love some feedback in the comments area below.