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08 Sep

Todonyang' massacre: the social contract and constitutionalism

Thomas Hobbes was a champion of absolutism for the sovereign but he also developed some of the fundamentals of European liberal thought: the right of the individual; the natural equality of all men; the artificial character of the political order; the view that all legitimate political power must be "representative" and based on the consent of the people; and a liberal interpretation of law which leaves people free to do whatever the law does not explicitly forbid.

Hobbes said life is “short and brutish”, and this is the truth in the weary eyes of all members of the Turkana community in spite of the giant strides that the world has made since that statement was made in 1640.

We have demanded severally for the government to provide security for both property and people and what we get are threats of disarmament to a community faced with life threatening danger every day of their lives. Meanwhile the bureaucrats and politicians continue their empty rhetoric at the expense of women, children and men who don’t know whether they will be able to enjoy their freedom. It seems that it is not yet uhuru in Turkana County.

It is this mindset that has made previous peace meetings and programs in this county futile. According to Hobbes’s wisdom we are in a social contract with the state which should protect us. Although it may be assumed that Turkana people enjoy walking around with guns, they don’t. They also want to enjoy peaceful co-existence with their neighbours and to go about their businesses and lives just as any other Kenyan in Nairobi’s Lavington or Buru Buru suburbs or any other town without the fear of impending death because of the absence of government.

If for any reason the government is unable to provide these basic assurances and rights as enshrined in the constitution, they should say so and enact a policy that empowers the County of Turkana to provide security for itself and its people instead of writing protest letters and always reacting after tragedies. People were killed in Todonyang’ a few months back and the government came to bury them in mass graves and wipe the tears of the survivors with promises of a few bags of maize.  The maize was promised but it never arrived. The promise of increased security also seems to have been a pipe dream. Without understanding and addressing the fundamental problem bedevilling this region, we, the people, shall remain in an insecurity quagmire.

After a few days Kenyans forget about massacres and concentrate on political rallies and the trial of the ‘Ocampo Six’ at the Hague and forget that the invaders still reside some fifteen kilometres inside Kenya and continue denying citizens their rightful security and the right to enjoy that which is theirs. Meanwhile in Turkana County, invaders with total disregard of our sovereignty continue to maim and kill while at the first sound of gunshots, the government security scamper into police helicopters and fly to safety leaving unarmed villagers to their demise.

Thomas Hobbes believed in the right of the individual; the natural equality of all men; the artificial character of the political order and the social contract where we as citizens surrender our rights to the sovereign to provide equal rights and security to all - rich, poor, weak or strong. The people of Turkana County demand this justice.

Joshua Ang’elei
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Leader, Turkana County

 

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Last modified on Thursday, 08 September 2011 15:43
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