Saturday, June 09, 2007

State Failure and the Economic Rise of Mungiki

The proper role of government is to secure its citizens’ rights and property. Failure to perform this role could lead to chaos, anarchy and eventual collapse of the society. But since individuals are inherently entrepreneurial, they step-in, and start providing services neglected by the state. This becomes a new way of earning their daily bread.

Such businesses grow fast due to high demand for services rendered. Unfortunately, they attract aggressive competitors who, too, want to make a killing in the new industry. Even the government that had neglected its tax-payers comes back to reclaim its "constitutionally mandated monopoly." The group that had started all these does not sit back and watch. Instead, it vows to protect its business turf to the last man.

That explanation resembles Mungiki’s journey to becoming part of Kenyan life. It was not by mistake that they chose to serve in government-neglected areas, such as slums, Matatu industry and the security sub-sector. These areas share one common misfortune: the absence of law enforcement agencies or being surrounded by corrupt state officials.

Bottom Line: Government failure to provide security has contributed to the current national crisis. The killers in Mungiki must face justice, and the state must start performing its constitutional duty of protecting our rights and property.

An expanded version of this post will appear on Kenya Imagine.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Are you not scared?