ENGLISH - LENTEN CAMPAIGN 2014 FINAL COPY (2)

Security

Ngoma is a cosmopolitan village in Ubuntu County. The villagers lived together peacefully for many years, supporting and respecting each other. They traded together, intermarried and their children went to the same schools. A council of elders with a paramount chief, as its leader, headed the village. The council had clear problem solving mechanisms whenever need arose. There was tranquillity and enough food for everybody in the village.

As the years went by, cracks started emerging in the council among the elders. The once admirably united council was divided along interest groups and clan lines. Attempts by the paramount chief to reconcile and reunite the elders failed.

Sadly, the divisions gave rise to hatred among the people of Ngoma village, with the elders using this as an opportunity to pursue parochial personal interests and greed for power. Eventually, the paramount chief was killed in the ensuing leadership wrangles, resulting in sub-clan fighting among the villagers.

With the breakdown of law and order in Ngoma, the village witnessed an increase in crimes and cases of insecurity. It was a shocking reality one night when they woke up to the brutal and traumatising killing of 20 people and maiming of 200 others. The situation was worsened by retaliatory killings and displacements of some Ngoma villagers. Helpless women were mourning their slain beloved husbands and lamenting the fate of their children.

In this state of division, the village was under attack by its enemies. It became difficult for villagers to protect themselves from external attacks and security deteriorated by the day. Following the external attacks, some of the sober village elders held a consultative meeting to establish the cause of the insecurity. To their amazement, they realised that there were many deep-seated reasons behind the aggression and the killings were meant to satisfy the interests of few individuals.

Situational analysis

Human security is necessary for national, regional and global stability. According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), human security is equated to economic security, which means assured basic income for individuals; food security that all people at all times have both physical and economic access to basic food; health security which aims to guarantee a minimum protection from diseases and unhealthy lifestyles; environmental security which aims to protect people from the short and long term ravages of nature, man-made threats in nature, and deterioration of the natural environment; personal security which aims to protect people from physical violence, whether from the state or external states, from violent individuals and sub-state actors, from domestic abuse, or from predatory adults; community security which aims to protect people from the loss of traditional relationships and values, and from sectarian and ethnic violence; and political security which is concerned with whether people live in a society that honours their basic human rights. Human security not only protects, but also empowers people and societies as a means of security. People contribute by identifying and implementing solutions to insecurity. Human security forms an important part of people’s wellbeing, and is therefore an objective of development. Lack of human security has adverse consequences on economic growth and therefore development. All this leads to fundamentals of human dignity.

Human security seeks to address underlying causes and long-term implications of conflicts instead of simply reacting to problems. It can be defined as freedom from want, freedom from fear and food security. If the freedoms referred to are not achieved, a state can be described as insecure. This argument affirms the Catholic Social Teaching that the foundation and organisation of any human society ought to be centred on the dignity of every human life.
In a state of insecurity, life is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short. Of all the political duties of a state, none is more fundamental than security. The Constitution mandates the National Government to take care of security. The National Police Service, the Kenya Defence Forces and the National Intelligence Service have the responsibility to protect Kenya and Kenyans, their rights, freedoms, property, peace, stability and prosperity (Articles 238, 239 and 340 of the Constitution).

The National Government also has the responsibility of enforcing the Bill of Rights; protect the environment and natural resources, consumer protection and labour standards, among others. The Constitution of Kenya has expanded the scope of security to include seven threats of security, which include economic security, food security, health security, environmental security, personal security, community security and political security. These are the key pillars of human security and key components of Kenya’s Vision 2030.

Despite this broad legal framework on security, criminal violence in Kenya is growing. The Westgate attack by terrorists in which at least 67 people perished, is still fresh in the minds of Kenyans. The most recent killings were in the Kapedo area at the border of Turkana and Baringo counties where more than 20 security officers perished. There were previous killings in Lamu, Mpeketoni and other parts of the county. Sporadic raids, which at times result in loss of lives, are becoming common in parts of Kenya. There have been cases of police officers being shot dead, especially in Mombasa. Restlessness in the country, increased insecurity and growing violence has become a great challenge to the security apparatus.

We need concerted effort from all stakeholders to address insecurity. Every initiative that has been proposed by different actors should be embraced. There is nobody who can say that he or she can solve the problem of human insecurity alone.

For meaningful development and to achieve the Vision 2030 goals, there is an urgent need for unity, respect for and recognition for all citizens. Therefore, unless Kenyans change their negative attitudes, political ideologies, patronage, end corruption and start appreciating ourselves as Kenyans and people who are created in the likeness of God, we will continue witnessing situations similar to those afflicting Ngoma village.

Time has come for Kenyans to change for the common good and shun greed, hatred and bad politics by embracing national unity as stated in the third stanza of our National Anthem: Let all in one accord In common bond united Build this our nation together
And the glory of Kenya The fruit of our labour Fill every heart with thanks giving

Readings

Genesis 22: 1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18
Romans 8:31b-34
Mark 9:2-10
Today’s readings talk of the promise God made to Abraham. We must see the love of God who gave his only Son to die for us. The transfiguration reminds us that we have been chosen and nothing can separate us from Christ. We must depend on Christ as our security and our life. If the Lord does not build a house in vain does its builder build? As Christians, have we done what is right to bring about security or have we feared our politicians?

Act

  1. Where have you witnessed situations similar to the one that faced Ngoma villagers?
  2. What do you think are the causes of those animosities?
  3. What can you as an individual and Small Christian Communities do to arrest such situations?
  4. What are you doing as an individual or Small Christian Community to improve security in the society?
  5. Who is your neighbour?
  6. Who is a Kenyan citizen?
  7. What security challenges are you experiencing in your family, Small Christian Community, estate/village, Church and country as a whole and what can you do about it?

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