SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2010
'Opening up the north' - disappointment
I am very disappointed. Disappointed at the fact that the proposed ‘corridor’, that I somehow, in my naivety, believed would pass through North-Eastern Province (NEP), would after all be connecting Lamu and Ethiopia through Isiolo and Moyale. Turkana County will also benefit from this venture. The ‘opening up of the north’ is indeed intended for linking up the proposed port in Lamu to both Sudan and Ethiopia. Thus, NEP does not at this juncture appear to feature anyway in the plan.
Unfortunately, I don’t seem to also hear any voice from the political leaders from NEP. Either they are oblivious to these facts or I can only come to the conclusion that they don’t care. This is, without a doubt, very depressing. It’s depressing because the very ones tasked with fighting for our cause are obviously sleeping on their job.
With this tendency, I only envision NEP to continue wallowing in the poverty and misery that it is synonymous with. Ours will continue featuring at the bottom of all positive indicators and vice versa. More importantly, the infrastructure that we so earnestly desire will remain a dream and just that, a dream. We will just be deluding ourselves that our future would be bright when indeed we are not doing anything laudable to achieve such noble goals.
In this case, the onus then lies not with the elected leaders but with the electorate. The residents of NEP need to ask themselves why their leaders continue performing so dismally. Are they elected only to earn obscene amounts of tax free salaries and polish their CVs? Or, is it to only help their immediate families and their cronies? The answers definitely are far from these. We get these visionless leaders primarily because of the intrinsic clan nature of the Somali. And that’s what we need to fight as the electorates in NEP.
However, it doesn’t mean that we should keep quiet until we overcome this cancer that ails all Somalis. On the contrary we need to put these leaders to account for their inactions. They also need to be reminded the reasons they got elected in the first place. They specifically need to be asked what they are doing as regards the lack of roads in the province. Don’t these leaders understand the importance of this vital infrastructure?
Even more appalling is the fact that a reader pointed to me that we are indeed partly responsible for our lack of infrastructure in NEP. The claim that some wicked business people from the province are against the idea of improving the road networks, in the mistaken belief that such a vital resource would have a dent on their profit margin. This is, sadly, something that I had heard before. The authenticity of this despicable allegation, however, can not be ascertained but it is not completely impossible. If this is true then we need to expand ‘our war’ and not only fight for our rights but also fight against these imbeciles. You honestly have to be the biggest fool ever created to even think of such an idiotic proposition that would deny us the opportunities to advance to the 21st century.
Also, as a Muslim, I know and believe that Allah is the best of sustainers. And, in the event that our communication network gets improved then we all will gain from it. I don’t think anyone would lose his God given source of livelihood. In reality, the cost of transportation would definitely come down and effectively lowering the price of goods. Even though some imbeciles would only think of the reduced prices and come to the logical fallacy that their profits would decrease, they need to be informed that the consumer base would expand. This growth in the number of consumers, even regardless of reduced prices, would for sure increase their profit margin. Actually, it would be a win-win case instead of the current scenario where the businesspeople think they are winning at the expense of the masses. And, of course, the better infrastructure would also substantially reduce their operational cost.
A good example of this is traffic between Garissa and Nairobi. The road between the two towns, by Kenyan standards, seems to be in very good shape. This, evidently, reduces the fare and makes more people afford the ‘luxury’ of travelling to Nairobi and vice versa. Contrast that with the time that the road network between the city and Garissa was almost non-existent? We had fewer buses plying this route and by extension only a small number of people travelling. I also dread going to many parts of NEP because of the poor roads and I believe the same is true for many other people. Anyway, we don’t have to think the same way but having proper roads and improvement of other infrastructure in the province would only make life better for all of us, without anyone losing his daily subsistence.