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The Miserable Fate of Somali People In North-Eastern, Kenya

Storyline:National News, World


nep3North-Eastern province of Kenya, a territory carved out of Somalia during the colonial period has been neglected by successive governments since independence in 1993.

North-Eastern people did not benefited from the national cake and were kept aside due their originality and their unproductive rugged terrain

supported by hash climate which discouraged the local to grow cash crops. Here are the four main edges which 21st century human life depends on.



roadsA class B9 road is the main transport artery running through North-eastern province and connecting it to the rest of Kenya.

The road has for many years neglected by previous governments therefore Many of those who travel by road for the first time from Garrisa to wajir to Mandera always swear never to come again unless by air.

The poor road infrastructure in the region has remained major impediments to the marketing of agricultural livestock products. Most sections of the Garissa-Mandera road are characterised by potholes, gullies and detours which has been the case for decades.

On bus fare, the passengers from Mandera to Nairobi pay Sh3000 ($30) a journey that takes two days dry seasons, while those from Wajir pay Sh2,500 ($25) for 24hrs journey.


When the buses, which are the only public service vehicles which ply the route withdraw their services, the only option left for people who need to

urgently travel to Nairobi is taking a flight which costs a prohibitive Sh15000, ($150) which is unaffordable to many of North-Eastern residents.

This has resulted in the area suffering serious underdevelopment which makes the residents view themselves as second class citizens.


waterOn the other side In

North Eastern Kenya the abnormally prolonged lack of rains has triggered stress and livelihoods shock amongst pastoralists and agro-pastoralists

due to a shortage of water and grazing.

These changes in weather pattern have caused serious damage to pastoral livelihoods zones causing a rise in disease amongst animals, as well as

wasting and malnutrition (which undermines the animals’ capacity to produce), leading to a high mortality rate of livestock of between 40% and reaching up to 70% in some areas.

The lack of a marketing system or safety net for marginal pastoralists and agro-pastoralists added to the catastrophe has also added more distress to a sector which was already suffering.

The drought affected area is situated in North Eastern Kenya namely Mandera and Wajira.

The districts are generally characterised by plains with scattered rocky hills and lie in the Sahelian climatic region.

In estimated 90 percent of water sources in Mandera district are contaminated with human and livestock waste including river Dawa according to an ACTED field assessment early 2012.

This poses a significant health risk to nearby communities who rely on shallow earth pans for their daily livestock and household use. Water

quality is likely to deteriorate further as pastoralists and their animals return from neighbouring districts where they migrated in search of scarce water and pasture earlier this year.



An under what Kenya government termed “Developed health system characterizes”, in North-Eastern there are areas which do not attract

[health] staff as they are hardship places and the government is not ready to fund the areas to make desirable places. There is a chronic shortage of staff in all the constituencies occupied by Somali-originated citizens.

In remote areas poor healthcare, a harsh climate and an ever-growing influx of drought make preventable and treatable diseases more deadly than elsewhere in the country.

Nomadic lifestyles in the predominantly pastoralist region, as well as female illiteracy, are factors limiting access to antenatal care.

Poverty, persistent conflict, and culture – for example, the insistence on obtaining a husband’s consent before a woman can give birth in a clinic – are also barriers to health service delivery and access if the service is available.

educationIt is true that

schools from North Eastern Province are depressingly low performers in national examinations, both at Standard Eight and Form Four level.

The region’s top two candidates in every year’s Kenya Certificate of Primary Education exam results, cannot manage at least to be in the top 1,000 students nationally. And of the 129 top schools countrywide, none are from this province.

They are saying that the causes of the recurrent poor examination performance, is as a poor reading culture, early marriages (particularly among

girls), cheating in examinations and shortages of education officers to enforce quality therefore is upon the government officials such KNEC official.

In 2003 the Kenyan government promised free primary education to its citizens. In the early 70s primary school fees were abolished but in the mid

80s cost-sharing measures between the government and its citizens led to the re-introduction of minor fee charges by primary schools.

As the trend continued with schools requiring parents to pay fees such as PTA, harambee (working as communal), textbooks, uniforms, caution fees, exam fees and extracurricular activity fees, most parents became overburdened and unable to raise such fees.

Those who could not afford the money to pay for their children’s school fees often had their children drop out of the school. Many children were

also forced to drop out of school when teachers would not allow them to take exams.To pressurise parents to pay fees, schools often sent children home during the final exams.

In additional to that, People in North-eastern are facing a devastating loss of basic services as teachers, healthcare workers and other state employees evacuated due to insecurity.

With many teachers refusing to return to Kenya’s north-eastern region in the aftermath of Al-Shabaab attacks in Mandera County, scores of

volunteers have signed up to ensure schools remain open and students continue with their education, officials and teachers said.

Since November 22nd, when Al-Shabaab pulled 11 teachers from a bus and killed them, along with 17 other passengers, teachers posted to the county have been demanding to be transferred to safer areas.

The Kenya National Union of Teachers has backed their demands while the Teachers Service Commission, the teachers’ employer, has said the safety

concerns have been adequately addressed and ordered teachers to return to work.

The ensuing teachers’ strike has paralysed public education in Wajir, Mandera and Garissa counties, causing chaos for thousands of children and families.

But now, local volunteers are providing a sliver of hope to students in Mandera County.

The volunteers, who include county government officials, retired teachers, former students, college students and business professionals, have signed up to teach to help mitigate the crisis.

Over 450,000 students who sat their Kenya Certificate of Secondary education will know their results on Tuesday next week.

Education Cabinet Secretary Prof Jacob Kaimenyi will release the results in Mtihani House in Nairobi where provincial directors of Education will
collect the results for their respective regions after the release.
The fate of north-Eastern students is on beam-balance which lean can to unpredictable side.
• Irin News
• The star news
• (Kenya National Examination Council)
• Kenyan ministry for education

By: Ahmed Mohamed Adan.