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Last updated: 11 October, 2007 - Published 07:41 GMT
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Forum: Is Kenya on the edge?


Is Kenya's image of wealth and well-being merely a facade?

Does the country have unaddressed tensions and poverty that can overwhelm the nation's prosperity?

Do you think the Kenyan electorate has been let down by the political elite?

Should international donors be more conditional with their support? What's your view?

Join the Focus Forum

To take part in the debate simply fill in the form on the right. A selection of your comments will appear below.

Kipngetich Koitalel arap Cheison, Washington, USA:

The current government, that less than five years ago promised to end police brutality, harassment, corruption, nepotism and the widening gap between the rich and the poor, is deeply engaged in the same practices that they were preaching against.

Eliud Magu Mutitu, Nairobi, Kenya:

In Kenya we have various problems but the most important thing is to focus on the solution. We have a robust media but it is propagating hatred rather than building the country.

Silas Nyambok, Vihiga, Kenya:

The degree of inequality in Kenya is very worrying. A journalist who recently visited Kenya was reported to have said that Kenya qualifies to be called the African Tiger. I think this journalist must have disembarked from his flight at Jomo Kenyatta International Airort in Nairobi (possibly at night), was taken through the well-lit Mombasa Road leading to the city's CBD and was booked into one of the tourist-class hotels. Perhaps he was taken for a walk at the exclusive shopping malls within the Western leafy suburbs of the city then back to his hotel and out through the airport. One can only wish such a visitor had time to explore Kibera, Mathare, Korogocho, Mukuru and the likes.

 What Kenyans need is a government that strives to care for and look after every one of its citizens.

Anyway, the country has the required human capacity and resources needed for growth but unless the positive political will reigns, all these images of wealth are just that, images.

Abdirizak Khailey, Nairobi, Kenya:

Kenya's politics is getting hot even though the election month has not been reached yet and most of the Kibaki PNU members have started defecting from the party. I think that Kibaki should step down in favour of Raila Odinga-ODM presidential hopeful.

Charles Kariuki, Manchester, UK:

The thing about Kenya, like most developing countries, is that one does not need to look far to notice the great divide between the rich and the poor. All politicians and Kenyan leaders do not need glasses/ binoculars to see just how much poverty is affecting the majority of Kenyans, all they have to do is to look outside the windows of their posh cars to see just how poor most fellow Kenyans are.

What Kenyans need is a government that strives to care for and to look after every one of its citizens.

Kenyans need and should elect leaders that are not just looking out to increase their bank balances, but leaders that are more concerned with the welfare of all Kenyans.

Yes Kenya is improving economically, though slowly, but the improvements have not yet affected the people that require them most. Kenyans should and deserve to be looking forward to hearing politicians, as they campaign for the upcoming elections, talking about plans to improve Kenyas infrastructure, create more jobs and the eradication of poverty all together.

Jongolo Matumbi, Kieni, Kenya:

Salim Lone, you argue like you do not understand the political and socio-cultural reality in your country of birth. Just tell me, how on earth would you have undone - in five short years- the mess done by past regimes for forty years?

I do not know what your answer would be, but the kind of thing that you and fellow "analysts" allude to is a violent revolution. Now, how would that help a country that is so fragile? And, pray, why would you want Kenya to be like the so-called developed countries in forty short years?

 The government development records are there for anyone to see: Roads, health facilities and free primary education.

Yes, the mess is here with us - there are no quick fixes and it is analysts like you who do not understand the complicated reality here in Kenya.

If you cannot try to learn, would you stop me from claiming that all you have been doing is to push the Western agenda of how impossible Africans find it to run their own show?

Nicholas Kariuki Muthaara, Nairobi, Kenya:

Of course Kenyans are struggling like any other African but the government development records are there for anyone to see. Roads, health facilities and free primary education.

Sumanu Alghali, Freetown, Sierra Leone:

I believe that Kenya could be seen as a microcosm of Africa as a whole. Africa has all it needs to make the continent a paradise but because of corruption, insincerity and dishonesty of its leaders we are still living in poverty.

Diseases, wars, mismanagement of both local and donor funds are rife so also is illiteracy. With these factors at play, Africa will never become what it was intended to be - a Paradise on earth.

Nkirote Laiboni:

In answering these questions, perhaps we should try not to be too simplistic. Kenya, like many countries in the world, continues to face many challenges. The growing disparity between the rich and poor is one of them, as are ethnic tensions. These problems are in place due to a mix of historical, political, social and economic reasons. The growth of slums in Nairobi, for example, can be traced back to the residential segregation policies of the colonial era.

Perhaps in addressing these issues, Kenyans should not only look within themselves but also OWN their problems. Thus, this year, Kenyans should consider voting for candidates who are ready to represent their interests. Additionally, the 'wanainchi' should realize that over-relying on donor support only further compounds their problems.

Chernor Jalloh, Madrid, Spain:

Sure, upon its image of wealth and well-being, I can say is merely a facade, because some kenyans that are eroded with poverty which forces them to live in slums, while the government is in luxurious houses.

 The one thing on our side is the resilience and patience of Kenyans.

The Kenyan street children most of whom that were orphaned by HIV/Aids,TB and among many other things, still roam in the streets of Kenya supplicating for a living.

I think the unaddressed tensions that are to engulf the whole country which the common man is to bear the brunt of it is corruption and failing to set an anti-corruption unit to combate this cancer that is ruining the lives of ordinary people.

Berhan Saciid, Boise, USA:

I believe all nations should make certain to respect human rights, rights of minorities and all their citizens. Kenya needs the international community to press Kenya to keep home clean.

Daniel Kimani, Nairobi, Kenya:

Kenya is economically stable and may NEVER require donor aid in future. The genesis of the tribal hullabaloo is the former colonial power - BRITAIN via their SURROGATE colonialists; the ASIAN community the former carefully coached in ways of syphoning out national resources/riches prior to relinquishing POLITICAL and NOT ECONOMIC power in 1963.

HJFB, Nairobi, Kenya:

It is true to say that Kenya's leaders have practiced blatent self enrichment, and there is simmering frustration and anger. But in the past few years we have moved from covert mismanagement to a greater degree of openness. In time, there will be a critical mass towards demanding proper governance. The path out of this situation is a slow one, vulnerable to hijacking by opportunist politicians, and to impatience and violence. It seems that democracy is not offering alternatives, and it is tempting to resort to violence. The one thing on our side is the resilience and patience of Kenyans; I sense that most of us realise that revolution invariably destroys more than it could hope to create.

Mekwet Lenkigwana, Nairobi, Kenya:

When in the last election the electorate elected the present goverment and removed the ruling kanu, many of us thought that meaningful and real change will come and issues to do with police brutality, harassment, coruption will be seriously addressed.

Alas! things turned for the worst - the same people turned and betrayed each other and became tribal and things reverted to the status quo now we even see former president moi being in the government again. Communities were brutalized worse than it was ever before. I think there is a big problem to be solved!! Kibaki has totally failed Kenyans and there is need for urgent remedies.

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