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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Gang violence is a problem but extrajudicial killing is not the solution

Donald Trump deployed uncouth tactics to win the presidential race, including blatantly appealing to racists on the far-right of American politics.

One way he did so — and this is how he launched his presidential race — was by leading efforts to discredit and undermine the legitimacy of President Barack Obama by advancing the bogus claim that he was born in Kenya and therefore not qualified to be US head of state.

The other tactic was to constantly trash the city of Chicago as the epicenter of black youth violence, as part of his attempt to appeal to racists and others as being the tough “law and order” candidate, who would get rid of the problem.

Seventy days plus into his moribund presidency, President Trump has not set forth, let alone even suggested, a single proposal to address the gang violence problem.

Nobody expects that he will, ever!

Neither is the man expected to do anything to address the problem of police brutality aimed at mostly the black youth and other minorities in the US, which increased last year and at the height of his candidacy.

There’s anecdotal evidence that youth and gang violence in Kenya is increasing to uncontrollable levels on President Uhuru Kenyatta’s watch. His Jubilee government is doing nothing to address this problem.

However, in the absence of any effectful government intervention, summary execution or extrajudicial killing of even known gang members by the police, as recently witnessed in Eastleigh, doesn’t offer any solutions.

Granted, most people were in support of the executions of the two apparently well-known Super Power gang members by a plainclothes police officer because they’re fed up with these criminals who terrorise people in the area.

In other words, most people have no sympathy for these gang members, given the menace they have become in society.

That’s all true but let’s also focus on where the problem really lies — failure by the Jubilee government to create employment and other opportunities for the youth, who end up joining criminal gangs,where they commit all manner of crimes, including murder.

Jubilee has also totally failed to curb corruption, which has not spared programmess intended to help the youth of this country. Indeed, the looting of more than Sh1.8 billion at the National Youth Service, which led to the resignation of the then Devolution CS Anne Waiguru stands as one of the monuments of corruption in a Kenya gone amok, though dwarfed by the Eurobond heist, of more than Sh215 billion that cannot be accounted for by the Jubilee government.

The solution to the escalating gang violence problem is therefore not extrajudicial killings, but ushering in a new government come August 8. A government that can address not just gang violence but the rampant corruption that’s now the worst ever in this country, and has prevented the government from addressing the needs of the people.

As Prime Minister, Raila Odinga was instrumental in the establishment of programmes intended to alleviate youth unemployment and food insecurity, with the flagship project being the Kazi Kwa Vijana initiative.

KKV quickly became a casualty of corruption kingpins in the then Grand Coalition government. And later, as Raila would point out, senior officials who controlled the Ministry of Finance and aligned to President Mwai Kibaki killed the KKV programme, along with others for fear it would succeed to the credit of Raila and his ODM wing of government.

Raila says he’s committed, now more than ever, to not only resume where he left off as Prime Minister with his half-loaf in finding lasting solutions for the country, but also promised to deliver immediate solutions to address the disgraceful high levels of youth unemployment in NASA.


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