Kenya Has Failed Her Youth:

My heart goes out to the families who lost loved ones during the senseless DusitD2 terror attack. And to those still nursing wounds, I wish you a quick recovery.

Our nation is traumatised, and we need to have an honest conversation about why we are frequent targets of these attacks.

Our nation is traumatised, and we need to have an honest conversation about why we are frequent targets of these attacks. - @BonifaceMwangi Click To Tweet

Why are the Kenyan Troops still in Somali?

Kenyan troops have been fighting in Somalia for the last 8 years. Over 1000 soldiers have died, with many more maimed, but their sacrifice was in vain. No one, apart from their families, remembers them.

It is a great honour to die for your country but utterly pointless to die for no cause. Our presence in Somalia has no exit strategy.

Before you continue reading this, I highly recommend this article about Terrorism in Kenya – The Power of a Traumatised Country written by Onyango Otieno. It explores sensitive issues like how the Post-Election Violence has claimed more lives than any terrorist Attack in Kenya.

Onyango asks: “Could we have Masked the actual face of Terrorism in Kenya?”. Inspired by the recent Riverside Attacks and tweets like this one by Ramapithecus @RamzZy_ : Al Shabaab gives the youth something to die for in areas where the govt gives the youth nothing to live for.  Click here to open the article in a new tab.

The image of a Government Car with the Slum in the background Kenya Has Failed Her Youth? - Boniface Mwangi
The image of a Government Car with the Slum in the background Kenya Has Failed Her Youth? – Boniface Mwangi
In the time that Kenyan troops have been in Somalia, they have been called out by the UN for colluding with Al-Shabaab to smuggle sugar and charcoal. The truth is, while the infantry is not involved in the smuggling, their bosses are.… Click To Tweet

The soldiers are on an indefinite ghost-chasing mission. In the time that Kenyan troops have been in Somalia, they have been called out by the UN for colluding with Al-Shabaab to smuggle sugar and charcoal.

The truth is, while the infantry is not involved in the smuggling, their bosses are. Kenyan Military Generals, and their political benefactors, are conducting business in Somalia.

They acquire tenders to supply our troops with food, water, fuel and ammunition. A Kenyan MP held a press conference a few years ago to say he has a list of who is funding terrorists in Kenya.

That politician and his North Eastern cartel run a contraband smuggling ring from Kismayo to Kenya. They also help coordinate how Somali warlords can invest their money in Kenya.

How does Radicalisation Target Kenyan Youth?

Terrorists have hit Kenya many times and the people who have carried out the attacks were either Kenyan or led by Kenyans. Young, desperate Kenyans who feel they have no stake in the country have been radicalized. Unless you’re rich or famous, your life is of no value.

Youth in the ghettos of Nairobi are hunted down by police and put down like rabid dogs.

We have outdated colonial laws that allow police to arrest you for “loitering”, not carrying an ID, being drunk and disorderly, dumping, etc. All these offences are used by police to extort and detain young people.

Young, desperate Kenyans who feel they have no stake in the country have been radicalised. Unless you’re rich or famous, your life is of no value. Youth in the ghettos of Nairobi are hunted down by police and put down like rabid dogs. Click To Tweet

When young people take to the streets to protest injustices, they’re teargassed, beaten and sometimes shot dead. When they go to the streets to take pictures, they’re arrested and accused of shooting pornography. When parents fail to teach their children values and high school children are found in bars, police are called instead of the school counselor. We have criminalized being youth.

Data About Terrorist Attacks in Kenya:

Before we get deeper into this, here’s a short video from data-centered team: Odipo Dev. It is key to note that the narrative around terror attacks makes them seem like a rare event.

However, since 2011, Kenya has faced 321 terror attacks; that is a new attack every 9 days. Here’s a look at 29 of the deadliest attacks.

Via: @OdipoDev It is key to note that the narrative around terror attacks makes them seem like a rare event. However, since 2011, Kenya has faced 321 terror attacks; that is a new attack every 9 days. Here's a look at 29 of the… Click To Tweet

Kisasi – A Short Film about Terrorism & Youth Radicalisation in Kenya

A father desperate for justice of his 6months old son’s murder. Lack of justice renders him vulnerable to anything and anyone, all he can count on is the course.

Kisasi serves a revelation of who really can be of use to terrorist groups and how to notice when they have been radicalized. STARRING Makrin Andala,Dan Nsubuga, Adelyne Nimo, Pauline Munini.

Writer-director-editor: Paul Ogola
Executive Producer: Galaxy Players
DOP: Felix Odongo
Sound: Kevin Machimbo
Assistant Director: Pascal Omondi
Music: Sarabi Band
Subtitles: English
Running time: 20 minutes

I just watched Kisasi - A Short Film about Terrorism & Youth Radicalisation in Kenya. I recommend you to watch it too now. #WeHaveOvercome #KenyaUnbowed Click To Tweet

Are Extra-Judicial Killings Endorsed by Director of Criminal Investigations?

An extrajudicial killing (also known as extrajudicial execution) is the killing of a person by governmental authorities or individuals without the sanction of any judicial proceeding or legal process.

Editor’s Note

Hunting down gangsters with Kenya’s Ahmed Rashid

In 2017, mobile footage of a plain-clothed policeman gunning down two apparently unarmed men went viral in Kenya. But who is this cop and what prompted the shooting? BBC Africa Eye joins controversial officer Ahmed Rashid as he seeks to rid the streets of gangsters and criminals. For the first time cameras are allowed to follow his team in action in the Somali neighbourhood of Eastleigh, Nairobi. We hear from those who praise his unit and those who condemn them for what they say are a spate of extra-judicial killings.

Young men coming of age in the ghettos of Nairobi cannot wear bling because the police arrest and kill young people who wear bling or are “too smart”. Even the way you’re dressed can get you killed.

Killer cops under the direction of the Director of Criminal Investigations and Inspector General are allowed to execute suspects. It is only economically disadvantaged suspects who are executed. Suspicion alone is enough to get you killed.

Our neighborhoods have no playgrounds, no social centers, no public libraries, mainly because most of the grounds where they would have been located have been grabbed. Food prices are controlled by cartels. Public transport is run by cartels. Our water gets rationed, because cartels own water supply trucks.

Our neighbourhoods have no playgrounds, no social centers, no public libraries, mainly because most of the grounds where they would have been located have been grabbed. - @BonifaceMwangi Click To Tweet

In a country where majority of the people are dishonest and where young people think that corruption isn’t bad if you don’t get caught, it is very easy for someone to become radicalized.

A terror outfit like Al-Shabaab offers a comradeship and a misguided sense of belonging that Kenya sadly doesn’t offer many young people.

Our associations revolve around tribe, drinking groups, betting and WhatsApp groups.

When the government offered Al-Shabaab members amnesty, l spent some time photographing and speaking to some of those who had been radicalized. They returned home to face two enemies, the Al-Shabaab and now the Anti-Terror Police Unit. It turns out that even after you reform, you’re still not safe.

A terror outfit like Al-Shabaab offers a comradeship and a misguided sense of belonging that Kenya sadly doesn’t offer many young people. Our associations revolve around tribe, drinking groups, betting and WhatsApp groups. Click To Tweet

We can’t fight ideology with bullets, only better values and offering more hopeful options than terrorist groups. When a government behaves like the very same terrorist it is fighting, it only helps them recruit more disenfranchised youth.

My former journalism schoolmate, Habib Njoroge, joined Al-Shabaab and helped organize the Kampala bombing in 2010.

He was jailed for life in Uganda following the bombings that killed 76 people.

He was radicalized right here in Kenya. In the slums of Nairobi, young boys join Islam so that when the police kill them the family doesn’t need to fundraise for their funeral and they can be buried on the same day.

In the slums of Nairobi, young boys join Islam so that when the police kill them the family doesn’t need to fundraise for their funeral and they can be buried on the same day. Click To Tweet

When did the Curse of Poverty make Poor peoples have blind respect for the Rich?

Majority of Kenyans are poor. Dirt poor. These same poor people are the ones who elect those accused of stealing, land grabbing, selling drugs and even murder.

They will joke that the rich man’s fart doesn’t smell. Kenyans only respect you if you have money because they can invite you to a wedding committee, a fundraiser, or you can simply buy a round of drinks.

The indignity of poverty has driven people to hate themselves so much, even when they have a chance to make a good choice for themselves, they will vote for the person who will bribe them, or the person who comes from their tribe, or the party whose tribal kingpin they support.

Kenyans only respect you if you have money because they can invite you to a wedding committee, a fundraiser, or you can simply buy a round of drinks. Click To Tweet

A person without self-dignity is a short-term thinker. Poverty strips a human being of his dignity. Poverty robs us of the ability to think what’s best for us.

We live in a country where a poor man’s default medication when he falls sick is prayer, because there are no medicines in our public hospitals and he can’t afford private hospitals.

The government is the biggest purchaser of high-end vehicles, but we don’t have enough ambulances, and those that are available are ill-equipped.

We live in a country where a poor man’s default medication when he falls sick is prayer, because there are no medicines in our public hospitals and he can’t afford private hospitals. Click To Tweet

It’s tough being a young person in Kenya. When young people innovate, powerful corporate companies steal their ideas and compromised media refuse to expose the thieves lest they lose advertising revenue.

Our musicians sing nonsense because songs about Kenya’s reality will get no airplay and corporates won’t engage them to perform at their events.

Sheria by Sarabi Africa Band and Juliani is an example of songs about Kenya’s reality that will get no airplay and corporates won’t engage them to perform at their events.

Editor’s Note
Sheria by @SarabiAfrica Band and @JulianiKenya is an example of songs about Kenya’s reality that will get no airplay and corporates won’t engage them to perform at their events. Click To Tweet

Sheria by Sarabi Africa Band and Juliani (Video):

Read this: Details about the above ‘Sheria’ song and an English explanation.

As long as the government doesn’t create a conducive environment for business, investors will stay away and fewer jobs will be created. No one wants to invest in a country where you have to factor corruption as a cost for doing business, where justice is for sale to the highest bidder.

Because we are a nation of dishonest people, we ignore when our friends drink and drive, when your best friend beats his wife, when a parent molests their child, when your boss steals. Kenya is a country where honesty is punished.

Because we are a nation of dishonest people, we ignore when our friends drink and drive, when your best friend beats his wife, when a parent molests their child, when your boss steals. Kenya is a country where honesty is punished. Click To Tweet

A country where the evil rule. Church leaders and Imams will tell you to pray. Prayers are not bad but it’s not the devil stealing our money, grabbing our land, raping our children and killing those who speak out. We need to act.

Corruption in Kenya happens in the presence of police officers. The president, his deputy, judges, governors, senators, MP’s, all have state security.

When any of them is involved in a shady deal, do drugs, engage in sex trafficking, there is an officer of the law who’s in the know. The National Intelligence Service has files on every dirty deal but they’re only good for settling political scores, not getting crooks jailed.

Church leaders and Imams will tell you to pray. Prayers are not bad but it’s not the devil stealing our money, grabbing our land, raping our children and killing those who speak out. We need to act. Click To Tweet

The poor among us are used by the corrupt rich to harass and insult those who fight for a better Kenya. In a country where police officers are hired mainly for their running skills and, more often than not, have to pay a bribe to be selected, there will always be problems.

We have some amazing, intelligent, well-educated police officers, but they’re in the minority and they have no big say. The reason why police kill suspects without due process, is because most of them cannot investigate, testify and get even a pick-pocketer convicted. The police service attracts people who can’t find honest work elsewhere.

Terrorists confidently drive through the border with explosives, because they know Kenya police’s appetite for bribes. It is those corrupt officers who allow drunk drivers and unroadworthy vehicles to operate.

Over 3,000 people die on our roads every year and that is courtesy of corruption amongst traffic police officers. Their corruption kills more people every year than terrorists have since they started attacking our beautiful country.

Over 3,000 people die on our roads every year and that is courtesy of corruption amongst traffic police officers. Their corruption kills more people every year than terrorists have since they started attacking our beautiful country. Click To Tweet

The corruption money is distributed all the way up to police headquarters, that’s why not a single police officer is in jail for corruption. Police officers who share the bribes with their bosses get promoted, whereas the honest ones are shipped off to remote areas where they don’t interact with citizens.

The broken, corrupt judicial system that NYS thieves use to get away with grand theft, is the same system terrorists are using to get acquitted. Until we fix broken institutions in Kenya, our youth will remain unemployed and readily available to join militias, gangs and even terror groups.

What needs to be done and How can we move forward now?

How do we move forward?

How do we move forward? We must value human life. We must refuse to be insulted and abused by our leaders. Kenya’s problem is political. We are led and governed by people who have no respect for the Constitution, nor for human life. We must reclaim this country by forming an identity.

We are not a country, we are just a bunch of tribes stuck together. We must discuss nationhood and agree what that looks like for us. What values do we want to be known for? Our patriotism is superficial because we only come together during tragedy, or a sporting event, after which we go back and dress up in our tribal outfits.

Kenya’s middle and upper class must join the struggle to reclaim our country from corrupt leadership. The idea that we are safe because we have money is stupid. Our electric fences, private firearm licenses, medical covers, private schools and the second-hand cars we drive, will not save us from becoming victims of a corrupt system.

We can’t fight ideology with bullets, only better values & offering more hopeful options than terrorist groups. When a government behaves like the very same terrorist it is fighting, it only helps them recruit more disenfranchised… Click To Tweet

The radicalized young men will find us in our comfort zones because as they suffered, we rolled up our windows and ignored them. Celebrities busy misleading young people to bet themselves into quick riches, must stop these false campaigns, and join the struggle. If the middle class don’t join the struggle, the day Kenya explodes, we shall be the first victims.

The political elite have bodyguards, visas and fat back accounts. They will skip town as we get butchered.

What can we do?

Those with money can support grassroots and neighborhood groups working to make their community better. Those with time, volunteer and work with young people and give them hope. Change will not come without risks, and we must take those risks to get a better Kenya. We need to direct our anger to the political class and demand better. We must work together or perish as fools.

If we don’t change our ways, our young men will keep joining gangs and terrorist groups. The political class will keep working with terrorists, and soon we will not have a country any more. We must all decide at a personal level what our contribution to nation building will be, in order to forge a better Kenya for our children and all those who will come after us.

Original post from Boniface Mwangi’s Facebook Page

About the Author: Boniface Mwangi

An Image of Boniface Mwangi addressing a crowd - Kenya Has Failed Her Youth? - Boniface Mwangi
An Image of Boniface Mwangi addressing a crowd – Kenya Has Failed Her Youth? – Boniface Mwangi

In just over a decade, Boniface Mwangi has risen from poverty to prominence in Kenya. He is renowned for his powerful photographs and his courageous protests calling for social justice. However, little is known about the man himself.

Read more about Boniface Mwangi in his latest book: UnBounded

This book tells of the two remarkable women – his mother and grandmother. Who influenced his character and inspired his drive to raise awareness about poverty, inequality and corruption.

A review from R. WILLY MUTUNGA Former Chief Justice and President, Supreme Court of Kenya says:

“It is the youthful rebels, reformers and revolutionaries that must overthrow the global status quo. Boniface Mwangi’s story…”

R. WILLY MUTUNGA Former Chief Justice and President, Supreme Court of Kenya

His work as a photo-activist is grounded in social engagement, collective action and the need for justice. This is the story of a man of determination and warmth, a man who lives his life to make a difference. Get a copy of UnBounded delivered to you today and answer this question yourself after getting to know more about him though the images in the book.

Boniface Mwangi: ‘I Was Offered Cocaine Bang and Free Sex’ my experience as a political candidate.
Boniface Mwangi: My experience as a political candidate.

About Sheria by Sarabi Africa Band and Juliani:

Fuata Sheria is about the state of Kenya’s politics and of the failure of Kenya’s citizens to take responsibility for their contribution to the corrupt status quo.

The song is a call on Kenyans to retrospect and judge, not just the political leaders, but to judge themselves as well, and to ‘fuata sheria’ , to respect the rule of law.

The song was written after Boniface Mwangi shared a list of the scandals in Kenya’s politics from the last 50 years with George Nderitu, the Sarabi Band Manager. They discovered that one consistent thing on that list of scandals was a Government- appointed commission of inquiry.

Together they invited Juliani to collaborate on a song. The song looks back at the maize scandal, the missing free primary education money, the Kazi kwa Vijana scandal and many others. But the song also blames the mwananchi for accepting bribes and bribing when it is convenient to do so.

In his signature voice, towards the end of the song, Juliani says that the tears of the perpetrators has drowned the blood of the victims, in reference to the post election violence. He also mocks the commission of enquiries formed over the years by saying that they take the commission but do not tell the truth.

Finally, in regard to Westgate and in a unity call, Juliani says, ‘ You are not my tribe, but you are my blood type. But it doesn’t have to take a tragedy to know that’.

Sheria by @SarabiAfrica Band and @JulianiKenya is an example of songs about Kenya’s reality that will get no airplay and corporates won’t engage them to perform at their events. Click To Tweet

If this article made sense to you, here’s a related post regarding Uganda’s Robert Kyanguli, AKA Bobi Wine. It addresses the silencing of activists in Africa as well as the misuse of power by presidential dictators. Read it here now to understand How censorship is working against Uganda’s tyranny and Dictatorship.