In Honour Of Mombasa
by Abdulkader Aweis
It is the hope and dream of every implicated citizen to live in a city driven by the core ethical values of; accountability, integrity, fairness and good governance. Following devolution, administrative and decision-making responsibility in Mombasa County has been transferred to a sub-national authority. This form of autonomous system of local government offers numerous benefits including; political administration, retention of resources at the local level, stimulation of the local economy and acceleration of local sustainable development.
The prevailing state of underdevelopment and the need of the county to provide basic social services, amenities, and a quality of life which citizens regard as acceptable, makes the achievement of accelerated, balanced and sustainable development an urgent priority. The standards of critical infrastructure within the county are below par. Cases of classrooms being engulfed by large water masses during rainy seasons have jeopardized the health status of pupils as well as syllabus coverage. The county government should invest in improving drainage systems; in schools, along roads and in areas prone to flooding as this hampers transport, destroys homes and escalates the spread of diseases.
The port of Mombasa plays a key role in the transport sector which yields 10-15% of the Gross domestic product in Kenya. In the 2013-2014 county budgets for Mombasa, the development expenditure budget was prioritized over other expenditure budgets, and a significant amount was opted for transport and infrastructure under that category, a positive gesture towards fostering development. However, in order to reach a milestone in the alleviation of road congestion, reduction of road accidents and enhancement of traffic laws, there is need to subsidize the construction bypasses so as to deviate certain vehicles from using specific routes.
Unemployment has since long been a cancerous problem in Mombasa. Nearly 38% of individuals that have attained the working age are not involved in income generating activities, of which an estimated 12% are college graduates actively looking for job opportunities. Early unemployment has a negative effect on the self-esteem of young people, their role in the society and accelerates; poverty, deskilling and social exclusion.
Generally, the alarming rate of unemployment negatively affects economic growth and productivity by putting stress on the county finances since less revenue is coming from taxes and social benefits, low per capita income as a result of heavy reliance on the working population and it deprives the county of skilled and unskilled labour force.
The county government should vie for ensuring that the youth are absorbed into income generating activities by using the implementation of development projects as platforms for providing job opportunities, funding youth-initiated projects among other ways. Employment is deemed to be the ultimate reducing agent to drug peddling and abuse, prostitution and theft among many.
Concerns about corruption, lack of accountability and transparency and questionable ethics in the county administration have created demands for much higher standards of conduct in the management. In addition, the citizens should be integrated into aspects of governance through exercises such as public hearings, opinion polls and organized group activities aimed at gathering community sentiment. County officials should live up to their words and invest a clear sense of distinction between vital and political matters. They should also maintain steadfast relationships with civil servants so as to avoid frictions that may end up bringing vital operations to a standstill.
Islam is the predominant religion in Mombasa over Christianity, Hinduism and others. Despite religious differences, the inhabitants of this county have co-existed for a very long period, a cohesion recently blemished by religious wars and intolerance. Security agents have stood up against this to restore peace in the area. However, we still call upon the law enforcing agencies to portray good policing principles so as not to hurt uninvolved sections. In addition, we vehemently condemn media houses from publishing false reports that might cause panic and catalyze hatred among different religious sects.
Insecurity has become a major issue in Mombasa following kidnappings, riots, assassinations and robbery cases being on the rise. Fitting Street lights, installing surveillance cameras at strategic points and placing police watches are possible remedies among many. The police unit should work with the public to develop intelligence in order to crack down such threats.
Tourism is a prime source of revenue to this county; other industries that benefit from tourist activities are hospitality, transport and the fashion industries. The county government should invest into this multi-million dollar industry by ensuring tourist safety so as not to undermine tourist visits, preserving all the tourist attraction sites, improving the standards of hotels meant to host the tourists and also encourage culture embracement by promoting; cultural dances, cuisines and dressing. In addition, we should be particular in fighting unhealthy practices such as; male/female prostitution which promotes the spread of HIV/AIDS and STDs, child sex tourism and drug trafficking within the industry. Necessary legal measures should be taken against any person involved in such rings.
Social problems such as child labour, child abuse and gender inequality can be very detrimental if we are focusing to bringing up a healthy young society. The county government should oversee the enrollment of eligible children to schools and through various means should sensitize Parents/guardians on good parenting skills and exercising gender equality. Children on the other hand, should be empowered with life skills through guidance and counseling forums so as to inculcate in them; the spirit of openness towards their mentors as this tends to reduce cases of children fleeing from their homes and ending up in the streets. Moreover, legal action should be taken against any individual that commits such oppressive acts.
Congratulations to The Shariff Nassir foundation for; providing bursaries, drilling boreholes, street lighting projects and sporting activities. The Donge La Mombasa Welfare Group for their endeavors in enhancing relationships with the poor and needy, orphans and widows through distribution of food and other charitable items and The Watoto Peace Project as ambassadors of peace. It is my humble opinion that we shall coalesce in making Mombasa a better place.
THE MOMBASA WE SHOUD HAVE By HARUN KHATTA
The key to success of Mombasa lies in the spirit and attitude of the people of Mombasa. It is true that a nation’s human resources are inevitably more important than natural resources.Great nations must have great citizens and the kind of future Mombasa will have, depends on what kind of people we are and the kind of children we produce. To make Mombasa a great place to live we must realize the difference between a citizen and an inhabitant. we should have a Mombasa where the old are given time to enjoy the fruits of their efforts as the young are free to build their future. We currently live in a Mombasa of ‘’every man for his own God for us all” we have grown so mean that people own houses they never live in, own cars they never drive, we don’t care about the poor and the orphans, we offer little to the community. We need to realize that we are all human because of the humanity in us, and if this aspect is divorced from us, we are far less than animals whose rule is “eat all … don’t mind others’’ We , the people of Mombasa should take part in community work and find solutions to our community problems.
It is a wish of everyone of us to have a peaceful county .A county where everyone is another person’s keeper. We need peaceful families, peaceful neighbours which will give rise to peaceful Mombasa. The cry of increased insecurity and security alerts from the West and East naming Mombasa a no go zone irritates. This negatively affects tourist industry which is the backbone of the economy of Mombasa. Insecurity scares foreign investors, we must make Mombasa a home of foreign investment for mutual benefit .We can supply order for a while without peace, but not for ever. We can never make enough law or hire enough policemen to make up for lack of self-discipline , extremism , radicalism and lack of selfrestraint. we need to uproot this out of our youths.
Mombasa is a county where many religious sects are practiced. We must realize that we all have a common beginning, and that is Adam father of all mankind. We must be proud of our religious diversity. All religious leaders and other faith based organization should realize their responsibility in encountering terrorism, violent-extremism and radicalism.The people of Mombasa should embrace a high level of morality. Better is a man who has no religion but lives a highly moral live than one who has a religion but denies its requirements. We need a strong moral base to support our actions. We should value the presence of the youth in Mombasa. They should be given enough airtime to express their views on each and every issue affecting Mombasa. They should be given opportunity to invest thus building their future.A community that doesn’t value its youth does not deserve a future.
Mombasa has enough resources to satisfy its people, what we have is enough to satisfy our needs and not our greed. If these resources are equally distributed each and every one will have what is enough. we should create enough job opportunities to the people of Mombasa. This will help reduce level of poverty among the people of Mombasa. we have seen Africans submerging in deep seas because they were running from Africa due to poverty. For our case many of our sisters are mistreated in the middle East and some come back dead. We must create enough job opportunities to accommodate them all. We want a Mombasa with strong desire to ensure equality and fairness among its people. We should be judged by our ability and professional qualification, not our GENDER. It hurts to see our sisters and brothers who are supposed to be in class struggling with home chores. Child labour is one of the factors that affect the future of Mombasa. Such children are denied one of their fundamental rights and are totally ignored and this is a form of child abuse that the whole world is standing against. We should all stand against early marriages and those found guilty of being involved in love relationships with under-age school girls should face full wrath of law.
People of Mombasa must be assured of good medical services; we all want high class education, great roads and good administrative services. All this can never be achieved without visioned and missioned leaders of high integrity who are responsible and
accountable. our vote is the only tool that will give us this type of leaders. We should all vote responsibly and avoid negative politics at all costs. Mombasa should NOT be turned to a political field.
Mombasa is one of the cities affected by the use of drug. Drug abuse is a menace that has greatly affected our youths. most of the youths turn to drug abuse due to lack of something to do after school. As it is said an idle mind is the devils work shop. Drug abuse has lead to an increased insecurity in the town. It is the mother of poverty among the youth since they take care of their addiction and totally ignore their future. They don't think beyond the drugs.
To contain this problem all the leaders from all fields of life should take part in the fight against drug abuse. More youth enterprises should be introduced to keep the youth busy. All those who take part in the distribution of this drugs should be identified and pay for their role in social decay in the society. We want a civilized Mombasa, civilization begins with order, grows with liberty and dies with
chaos. We should all strive to change the unbalance we are having- we all want education without study and wealth without work. We value individuals more than communities we call responsibilities favours, we must change to achieve this common goal. To make
Mombasa a great city.
What The Past Can Teach Us
By Imran Abdallah Said
Six Million people were killed in one of the bloodiest massacres the world has ever known.
Six Million people, each one with a name, people to love and care for, a reason to live.
When the mire that is Al Shabaab reared its ugly head several years back, it’s fair to say that whole world was shocked. Shocked at their ruthlessness and their resilience and their audacity to cross Kenya’s borders to kidnap foreigners who were staying in the country and holding them for ransom.
Hon Mwai Kibaki, the president at the helm during that time, would soon send Kenya’s finest, the Kenya Defence Forces, to meet the terrorist group head-on. Since then, our nation has never known peace.
Particularly in our bedeviled Coastal Region, concerned parents and the Muslim community in general have been fighting the war on more than one front. Losing sons and daughters to Al Shabaab’s bullets and machetes is depressing. Seeing them on the other side of the guns committing those crimes is just as horrifying. Yet, so far, it’s all been too easy for the terrorist group to condemn our youth to either of the two fates.
One American government official once said: “Governments are stronger in their fight against extremism when they make all citizens feel included, protected and respected.” It’s
been four years since Kenya’s Defence Forces were deployed into Somalia to flush out and eliminate the terror group and in the wake of that confrontation and the retaliatory attacks on innocent Kenyans, the Muslim community has been increasingly alienated and worse, even blamed for the crimes of Al Shabaab. All this climaxed with the arrest of more than 129 suspects at Masjid Musa including minors and the rounding up of more than four thousand Nairobi-based Somalis who were then held at Kasarani Stadium for further scrutiny. At least five hundred were then deported to Somalia. Extortion and harassment were at an all-time high during this period as the police took advantage to cash in.
If you thought the security crackdown would deter the terror group, then by then now surely you know that was not the case. In fact most journalists and experts would tell you that the rift created between the Muslim community and the rest of the Kenyan community benefited them greatly. Newly armed with fuel for their propaganda, al Shabaab leaders called upon “oppressed Muslims and Somalis” to join them in their fight. Considering also that Somalia is amongst the countries with the highest unemployment rates in the world (more than 60 per cent), you can probably guess where most of the five hundred deported Somalis ended up.
The point is, there is no “quick fix” to the problem that is facing our country, much as our government is not willing to reconcile with that fact. Perharps, therefore it makes perfect sense that we must appeal to fellow citizens to stand up against this oppression Muslims are being subjected to.
Six million Jews were dragged to “death camps” in Nazi Germany, where they were thrown into gas chambers and other devilish machines during the most shocking “cleansing” operation the world has ever experienced. Yet it all started somewhere.
It started with the harassment and discrimination of Jews living in Germany. The Nazi regime barred any Jews from holding positions in civil service and from practicing legal and medical professions, as a part of a crackdown on Communism. Since no significant opposition came their way from their citizens as well as the rest of Europe, the Nazi regime didn’t stop there and stripped the Jewish people of their basic human rights, outlawing marriages between Germans and Jews among many other things. Then anti-Semitism became increasingly accepted in Germany as the general public and not just Hitler’s minions embraced it. Then followed pogroms in broad daylight where Jews were killed, their synagogues, businesses and homes razed to the ground. By the time the Allied Forces were knocking on Hitler’s doors, six million lives had been wiped off the face of earth. It had started with a spark and grew into a wildfire that went out of control.
As much as I love my country and its people and do not wish any harm come to them, we do need to remember that history has a nasty habit of repeating itself. If things keep progressing as they are right now, then the minority Muslim community, most of whom are concentrated in Mombasa and its neighboring towns, have cause for concern.
The common Kenyan citizen toils for long hot days and gets little return for their efforts. As such they despise oppression and value justice just as much as the next person of a different nationality, maybe even more. I just know they will stand up for the minority Muslim community because they are sensible enough to know we are in this together.
I just pray and hope that they won’t be too late by then.
MOMBASA IN PEACE, NOT PIECES
By Hassan Mohamed
The shots rang out faintly at first,like firecrackers on a Diwali eve.Then they become louder and sustained..Chaos..Hell has broken loose and people are running..no,not to take cover for dear life but in the very direction of the shots!.Yes people are running to be the first eyewitness of yet another senseless killing,another murder.And in the midst of this horrific drama people are gleefully taking photos, posting tagging, and liking this horrifying scene,dead body et al.As usual the murderers have taken a smooth gateaway,on a motorbike of cause,and they will never be found.Welcome to Mombasa its the year 2015..
In retrospect,the chronicles of Mombasa tell us a not so peaceful or tranquil city as we have come to know it,but rather an interesting and often bloody tale of political wars,clan feuds and religious battles.Well,that was Mvita,an era gone by and confined beneath the old antique oldtown homes.Ours is Mombasa,'Mombasa raha' and we are not letting it go to the dogs.
So how do we get out of this mess? Dilapitated infrastructure,soaring crime,hordes of unemployed youth are just a few of the myriad problems that Mombasa faces.Not to mention the scourge of drug abuse and threats of religious intolerance and radicalization.It seems the mandarins at County hall have a lot on their plate,or do they? With all the flowers being planted on our pavements and so many foreign trips by our county reps and execs,one may be forgiven to think that Mombasa is a bed of roses..alas! nothing is far from the truth.We are on our knees..and sinking..fast
So wat needs to be done? Fix the local economy first..
As part of a longlasting solution we need to embrace and capitalize on the ongoing projects such as the Dongo Kundu bypass,SGR railway,expansion of Msa-Nbi highway from Changamwe amongst others. These projects will definitely result in economic boom to Mombasa if we lay the ground early enough.On the other hand,Our county government needs to find an alternative mode of transportation to ease the pressure on our roads,especially the links to mainland north south and west.
With all the water surrounding us why cant the sea be our primary mode of transport? why cant residents of Mkomani just take a boat and reach town within minutes,the same with Tudor,Likoni,Kisauni Mshomoroni residents? its not only convenient but also cheap,and pollutes the environment less.
Along the sidelines of the sea transport we should think of having cable car stations connecting the island south at Likoni channel,North at mkomani,mshomoroni,and west at kibarani.The cable cars can transport a sizeable number of people at very quick rate,and the installation plus running costs are relatively low.And oh.. they can be a major tourist attraction and means of sightseeing for foreigners and locals alike.
Mombasa should be able to take advantage of the economic boom taking place in neighbouring counties like kwale,Kilifi,Lamu where vast deposits of minerals and oil have been made, we are set to reap big because of our already existing systems in place such as the port,railway,banks and other support institutions.Proper planning in collaboration with our neighbours can create thousands of jobs for our endangered youth.
Yes it may sound like a fantasy but it can be done as it has been done elsewhere.Macau,Singapore,Hongkong were all backward little Islands jus a few decades ago.Today,they boast of firstclass infrastructure,a GDP that rivals Europe and socio-economic systems that are an envy of the world.
Mombasa can walk on this same road to economic prosperity albeit faster or slower,but we can get there and be our own little Dubai,or play in the same league as Mauritius.If only the Mandarins at County hall are listening.
'Mombasa Raha' i guess whoever coined this phrase meant a place of peace,easygoing and warm friendly people and not this madness we are in today.Someone said 'change is coming' I say when? With all this murders taking place,a youth population high on shisha,khat,and out of control..Change seems like a distant dream.I dont see no changes all i see is racial hatred, misplaced hate, and I wonder what it takes to make this one better place.We need to tackle the drug menace soberly using wisdom and a bit of ingenuity. Let look at addicts as victims not perpetrators,and in so doing concentrate in stopping others from getting into the habit while helping the addicts kick out their addiction. Mombasa is awash with hard drugs and the harsh reality is that we cannot eliminate drug abuse, we can only reduce addicts. Why you may wonder? Well just look at the numbers: there are more than 100 thousand drug addicts in Mombasa, imagine 50 thousand of them using an average of 300ksh daily dose..this comes to a cool 15million daily! And 450milion monthly in drug money! This money is in circulation right here..So uprooting requires collaboration with the National Government, which is not forthcoming soon. Because the government is busy fighting a war on illicit drinks, after realizing that they too are losing their own. The major cause of drug abuse is idleness,and availability of these drugs.Empower our youth by giving them real oppoturnities and decent chances at life and this problem will reduce significantly.Our youth need to be encouraged to create employement and not be seekers of the same which has proven to be elusive.The county government should contribute towards this by holding workshops,providing loans,and a condusive environment.
Devolution is a Godsend,if only utilised properly and our strategic geograohical location,modern seaport,and an international airport should make us an investors destination of choice.We should be able to source FDIs from Dubai,Qatar,China,Kuwait,Oman all of which have some kind of historicall and economic ties with Mombasa.I bet all of them will be interested in funding major projects in water sytems,clean energy,affordable housing and the tourism industry if presented with a proper and realistic blueprint by our county leadership.
All is not lost Mombasa shall rise again, we have all that it takes, we are not lazy as they see us, maybe we are a bit slow in embracing oppoturnities.Just look at the thousands of our youth in the middle east and else where in the Diaspora making us proud. Of course it requires sacrifice, patriotism and faith. Movements like DONGE are doing an incredible job and they give hope and inspiration to Mombasans and Kenyans at large. They should be recognized and celebrated.
With all this mayhem going on in the name of Islam, the Muslim leaders should stand up and be counted. Instead of wrangling and fighting over Mauled and Eid celebrations, they should forge unity and portray the real Islam on the ground not behind the mimbar.
In the end, you see the status quo isn’t working. so its time for us as a people to start making changes, lets change the way we are, lets change the way we live,lets change the way we treat one another..to survive
001 ARE YOU THERE……..!
VISIONS OF A PROSPEROUS AND COSMOPOLITAN MOMBASA
By Fahmi Basalim
Mombasa…the place where azure blue waves of the indian ocean hit the sandy beach shores with zeal and serenity.Alas!all troubles seem awash with relative calm reminiscent of the dreamy transition of dawn to dusk.Beneath the sunny coastal sky,many have traded and invaded this tropical island famously referred to as Mvita (island of war).The apple of the eye of ancient wanderers,travellers and philanderers.Behold!the imposing ruins of Fort Jesus bear testament to the scramble of zealous conquerers of Portugese,Arab and Omani origins culminating into British colonial imperial mandate.The cake was theirs for taking much to the chagrin of indigenous communities.Decades of social interaction produced a simmering dish of interesting cultures cooked in the melting pot of traditions.Linguistic chatter and values evolved from fusion of Swahili,Arab and Mijikenda influences.History aside,the emergence of this palm trees adorned town into a fledging city is a narrative worth recounting.
”Karibu Mombasa (Welcome to Mombasa)” a slogan that embodies the true spirit of a people basking in radiant glory of homeland pride.A land of natural beauty defined by picturesque shorelines,historical landmarks and endearing cultural diversity.The famed “gateway tusks of Mombasa” ushers visitors past towering ivory sculptures of lofty proportions.Mombasa harbours the busy port of Kilindini which renders crucial services to land locked countries.Indeed,this fabled city located in east coast of Kenya has developed into a regional cultural,economic and tourism hub.
However,every bed of roses has its fair share of thorny outgrowth.Synonymous to major world cities,Mombasa has been plagued by malignant troubles that inhibit its full potential.Retarded development coupled by misguided,mismanaged and missed opportunities have contributed to the downturn.A resident by birth,I am ardently compelled to pen this anatomy of perils afflicting my beloved city.My eyes are blinded by gloomy dark nights and my nose is stuffed by smelly garbage sites.My ears are deafened by noisy squabbles while my hands are tied by inefficiency troubles.My tongue is denied a taste of fresh water as my throat is chocked from polluted air matter.My hair is raised by crash prone matatus with senses dazed by more tuk tuk woes.My legs tremble at shrinking pedestrian pathways as cars rumble from pothole ridden highways.Subsequently,my weary heart and soul is locked in solemn prayer for a revamped Mombasa.
Fortunately,the old adage of hope being the medicine of the miserable rekindles my spirits.Many despondent residents share my sentiments and yearn for change.The average person seeks to live in a conducive environment with genuine concerns meet to expectations.We yearn for a clean and vibrant city flourishing with manicured gardens,paved pathways,recreational parks,working traffic and street lights and pot hole free roads.Beyond these cosmetic changes,there are paramount and deep rooted issues that require tangible solutions.Water is life yet taps run dry for years with households deprived of this basic necessity.Sadly,scarcity of reliable and clean water has been a phenomena that residents have complained to deaf ears.The constant outbreak diseases is a direct consequence of lax in hygiene standards attributed to use of dirty water.We live a stone’s throw from the vast Indian Ocean.Can we ponder on the use of this natural resource to initiate desalination and ocean technologies to supplement water reserves? Food for thought as we address other imperative issues.
To build a strong economy we require all hands on deck.However,there exist inequality of the sexes where women are marginalized and accorded limited opportunities.Furthermore,child labour and abuse prevails unabated.Children belong to classrooms as flowers wallow and bloom in gardens.The young minds of today are leaders of tomorrow. Mombasa youth face a bleak future with problems of rampant unemployment and drug addiction.We can revive,nurture and instill hope through job creation,free
educational programs and upgrading of rehabilitation institutes.The recent spat of insecurity aggravated by violence,assassinations and radicalization literally put police and religious tolerance to the litmus test.There was double trouble in paradise as tourism and economy took crushing blows below the belt,literally.
The political system of bickering,empty pledges and stalled projects add fuel to raging fire.The blame game of musical chairs,sycophancy,displaced loyalties and finger pointing played in full swing.Vices in the form of corruption,nepotism and impunity thrive indefinitely.Mombasa has endured leadership wrangles,inept policies and perennial mismanagement.Notable casualties include unresolved land disputes,insecurity,rising poverty levels,collapse of basic infrastructure,drainage issues,decline in health and educational standards.We long for the day when politics take a back seat and progress drives our society.Where leaders aptly carry the mantle of responsibility and accountability with flair of genuine servitude towards the multitude.Residents deserve provision of crucial services such as efficient garbage collection,provision of reliable health care and adequate medical supplies.
Can we envision a commercial and resplendent Mombasa that never sleeps with the extension of day into night? The dream of a resplendent 24 hour city beaming with investment.Where boulevards are glistening with life and shops doing ‘business as usual’ flouting conventional closing time thresholds.The hustle and bustle of our vivacious sunny metropolitan synchronized with onset of the moon hours. Change is slow but inevitable.It may sound like a pipe dream but this is veracity and pragmatism synonymous to major world cities.What aplomb and delight should this dream become reality.A vision and perception if implemented will boost revenue,yield employment opportunities and position Mombasa as a bona fide trade and tourism destination.
We anticipate eco friendly and smart solutions like decongestion of city roads,supporting innovative enterprises and promotion of local produce and content.In addition,it is imperative to reinstate emergency services such as ambulances,fire brigades,police hotlines,rescue and disaster response teams.The onus of restoring Mombasa to its famed and glory days requires participation of one and all.Volunteers,civil societies and investors ought to be pursued and engaged in these viable initiatives.Our germane leaders and stakeholders ought to agitate for such realism to transform our city and invigorate its economy.In conformity to emerging global trends,pertinent wisdom and common vision,we should stand shoulder to shoulder in juxtaposition and truly work for a better Mombasa irrespective of personal or political affiliations.
Mombasa through my eyes
By Alia Abdulaziz Ali Naji
Mombasa! the name that leaves me with a sweet bitter taste,almost like tangerine,or is it tamarind?
The first time I came to Mombasa I had this notion of Mombasa "Raha" (pleasure),I guess like everybody else? Yes! that was what was ringing in my mind in my entire eight-hour journey and I was both thrilled and excited at the same time.This journey was to be the beginning of an end,or was it the end of a new beginning? It was like opening the pages of a new chapter in a novel and not so sure as to whether you wanted to leave the old chapter and move on to the next one or stay there stagnant. But then again, moving on was inevitable and I just had to open the next leaf with my heart in my mouth :)
Is it going to be like a party? am I going to swim in this ocean of endless fun and laughter? will I be intoxicated with the coastal way of life? Or is there something else? For me to understand all the questions that were doing somersaults in my head, I first needed to live this life, and here I was ready to jump ship mid-ocean , I mean who wouldn't? when the secret code in mind was "Raha".
Coming from Nairobi,(a place where Mombasa people call "Bara" )I had my fair share of sky scrapers and busy life,and this one here was like taking one of those unplanned vacations, an escape from all the hustle and bustle that comes with city life.So what exactly was in store for me? Snickers on my feet, a back pack on my back ,earphones plugged in,an adventure was about to begin.One that carried a mix up of emotions and one that I had to curiously, but slowly take with a pinch of salt.
And so, many years down the line, am still here trying so hard to unveil the words "Raha" in vain.Perhaps they came in disguise? Here is what i found out..
East or west, Mombasa people are the best. Have you ever gone somewhere and got the reception of a VIP? When you come to Mombasa you will automatically be received with this heart melting welcome that would look almost surreal, just as the warm weather so are the people here.Coming from a place where saying a greeting can cost you,it is here that you get to appreciate humanity and hospitality at the same time, there is just that awesome sense of belonging the moment you step in and the warmth and friendly air that oozes around is you almost unbelievable! Everyone you meet carries that smile (you would think they just worn a lottery) and will give you that look of "hakuna matata".I'ts easy does it kind of life down here and its a no wonder that some people like me are still finding a hard time getting to the "exit" door.
I love Swahili food and with that my love for Mombasa escalates to a place I cannot imagine to compare,with our mix or Arabic spices, some ideas from the Indian neighbors and some little touch here and there from the Portuguese, Swahili food has managed to make its way on both the high tables and hearts of many.The tasty coconuts bites can take you for a ride (both literally and metaphorically) ,the smell of cinnamon coffee with dates at four o'clock served at the shores of Fort Jesus is something that you can never get elsewhere! Did I mention "samaki wa kupaka" (fish in coconut) or "kaimati" (dumpling) ? These are just but some of the delicacies that are generously served in Mombasa and one that will take your taste buds to another level !
Mombasa women are beautiful and they know it ,but that aside, the women here have been taught almost all the etiquette's of taking care of a man and so it comes without little surprise that most men will find themselves pulled by these women s charms and beauty! But be warned, the women here come with a very high price tag and unless you really own a couple of millions in the bank ,you will find yourself living on top of a tree,( literally! ) the good news is,if you are lucky enough to meet a woman with both traits (looks and character) then am sure you will not mind watching your dollars swimming in the Indian ocean, will you?
Easy approach kind of life
Since life in Mombasa is generally easy, some people have decided to make a crown out of this and wear them.It is sad to note that many people here are still laid back and lazy for luck of a better word and that ambition is something that is almost foreign! Mostly a man will do is go out and fend only for that day, there is no rush of saving for the raining day, and life is as good as living hand to mouth, in some occasions, some men will actually acquire the "begging"profession to save themselves from the pain that comes with sweating! With so many lazy bums around,one can be mistaken to think that manna usually pours down from heaven on these sides!
Just as we have "raha" (pleasure) we cannot miss karaha (displeasure) and it is sad to note that i had a bit of an overdose "karaha" served on my Mombasa's platter.
It is here that I had my first encounter with gays and I almost choked on my saliva seeing how composed and at home they were! These guys I observed were mostly in their twenties (which makes me wonder why) and had the looks that could pass for a magazine front page, they were not only the creme de la creme of good-looking lads around bus so polished you would think they just came from a beauty parlor, are they rich? how do they keep up with this lifestyle? was some of the questions dancing in my head looking for an escape ! Before I had the time to contemplate who and how they came to be I was rudely brought to reality by how they speak! No! i can take anything else but for the love of God I could not fathom the idea of a man speaking and even walking in a poise better than a woman, are these people for real? This topic was becoming too hot for me to handle and so i had to drop it down so fast lest i got burnt!
Oh! when it comes to gossiping Mombasa people have it! These people have acquired the art of rumor mongering and aimless talks and have perfected it so well you would think its some kind of a profession! They will craft and molds theirs words so beautifully a times that if you did not know, an insult can almost come out as a flatter! Where i came from only women had the time for some silly chit chats but it was exciting in an odd way to realize that gossiping here knows no gender! both men and women, young and old can lash out words so strategically that if you had no proper words to defend yourself with,you might be in for a slow but painful words-full death!
I could go on and about Mombasa but i had to pause,put my pen down, let the breeze kiss my face and sip my coconut water looking over at this big ship that was sailing away, leaving so much behind that words could not even write!
Shairi La Mombasa By MUHAMMAD ALMIKRASI
1. Assalam aleikum,salamu nasalimia
Namshukuru Karim,siha menijaalia
Huo mwanzo wa salam,kisha nanuia
Haya ndio majanga,yanyokumba Mombasa
2. Illahi nipe kauli,ni nene nao viumbe
Ijapo msema kweli,huwa fisadi kiwembe
Kwangu hili silijali,ila ufike ujumbe
Haya ndio majanga,yanayokumba Mombasa
3. Nilisema siyasemi,lakini hayaekeki
Sitaufyata ulimi,ikanipita mikiki
Kama si wewe mimi,imetukumba hii dhiki
Haya ndio majanga,yanayokumba Mombasa
4. Nalishika la madawa,yalotuharibu akili
Ikawa tumepagawa,kuzunguka mstatili
Kula anaezawa,hulipata janga hili
Haya ndio majanga,yanayokumba Mombasa
5. Hebu fika Magodoroni,ujionee madhambi
Au twende Kibokoni,wala dhihaka siambi
Ni bangi midomoni,ndio umekua kijimbi
Haya ndio majanga,yanayokumba Mombasa
6. Vijana meharibika,kwa bangi pia bugizi
Na nyute huwatoka,na kulala usingizi
Abduli tumemzika,Ibra na kaka Feruzi
Haya ndio majanga,yanayotukumba Mombasa
7. Jamani tunalia,wametuzid vitimbi
Yule kakake Sofia,amekua kama zombi
Mola twakuangukia,takabali yetu maombi
Haya ndo majanga,yanayotukumba Mombasa
8. Umezorota usalama, hilo ni jambo la pili
Kila siku twalalama,na hali kuwa thakili
Sote twasimama wima,tuhifadhi ya Jalali
Haya ndo majanga,yanayotukumba Mombasa
9. Mombasa imechafuka,asojua ni nani
Amani imetoweka,imekua purukushani
Ni vipi itasafika,ni swali hilo wendani
Haya ndio majanga,yanayotukumba Mombasa
10. Siwapendi kadhalika,hao dada bandia
Kiwaona hushutuka,laana zao za kuvia
Kiuno hutingishika,na matho yao sawia
Ushoga janga kubwa,litukabilio wa Mombasa
11. Huwazidi mabanati,mikogo na mbwembwe zao
Tena huitana 'Anti', mipasho ndo "hobby" yao
Zina. Kutu kama bati, zina laana nyoyo zao
Ushoga janga kubwa,litukabilio wa Mombasa
12. Makubwa haya ya leo,mshangao kwa jamii
Yalikua kwa video,kabla kuja ya Tivii
Madume si makoleo,kwa wake hawaingii
Ushoga mtwapa,watuathiri wa Mombasa
13. Jidume likirembua,huwezi kulitambua
Kama jike linakua,lashindwa kuvunja ua
Zaidi ya wake hua,kwa soko kujitanua
Ushoda janga kuru,linalotukumba wa Mombasa
14. Hapa mwisho nakoma,nawaaga wendani
Mulokaa kusoma, hili kero jamani
Yanayounguza na kuchoma,mtima mpaka ndani
Haya ni majanga,yanayotukumba Mombasani
THE DEADLY DISEASE AFFECTING
THE GROWTH OF OUR YOUTH
By Salma Abdullatif
Mombasa is the second largest city in Kenya and it borders the Indian Ocean. The city carries an amazing history of the colonial and pre-colonial era. It is highly populated with the Mijikenda, Swahili and Arabs who mostly follow the religion of Islam and have been groomed with a fascinating culture that amazes even the foreigners.
I have lived in Mombasa for a large portion of my life. The city has occupied a soft spot in my heart mainly due to its prevailing culture, warm interaction and friendliness that its occupants have. However, it hurts me deep to see many of the youths facing adverse unemployment. The rate of unemployment among the youth in Mombasa has been in the double digits since time immemorial.
What then is unemployment? What causes unemployment? What are the consequences of unemployment? And what could be the possible solutions to counter the issue of unemployment among the youth in Mombasa? According to Investopedia1, Unemployment occurs when a person who is actively searching for employment is unable to find work.
In my perspective, unemployment in Mombasa is majorly contributed to by a myriad of factors ranging from lack of proper education to the entitlement attitudes that most youths possess. First, most youths in Mombasa have insufficient job-related skills that make them unqualified in the job market and this is brought about by in-exposure to hustles and experience. The youths are left idle with no extra expertise to sharpen their skills.
Secondly, majority of the youths in Mombasa drop out of school at a tender age. They assume that school is tiring and that they can create shortcuts to success. It is when they are out there that it dawns to them that the world is a classroom and its lessons are diverse. Others have the mentality that they can get what they want in terms of financial status without having to struggle or work for anything.
Drug abuse is also another factor contributing to unemployment in Mombasa. It is sad to see so many of us slowly taking our last breathe due to the deadliness of drugs. What benefits do we accrue? Our generation is being swept away just like a gust of wind and the ones who are still alive though affected by drugs are not good enough to steer change in the job market. We can seek employment if we are able enough; if we are ready to be the cream of the society.
Luxury and extravagance is what most youths in Mombasa dwell on. Employers seek potential people who are not lazy and who will not leave them with predictable net losses. It may seem a stereotype that most youths in Mombasa are lazy, unfortunately, that is the gospel spreading.
Youths are always assumed to be the driving wheel to success. Tracing back to our Mombasa, our reserved nature lags us behind! We are complacent! We are unable to steer change through innovation and creativity. How can top employers seek us?
A number of youths in Mombasa have an entitlement attitude. This is the inability to embrace manual jobs when in reality there is no ray of hope due to the limited number of white collar jobs. I would want all the youths in Mombasa to know that it is never a bed of roses…….Even the richest of people, started somewhere.
Lastly, unemployment is also brought about by the unaggressive culture that has grown with us. “It is easy for us to appreciate the beauty of any grand empire but hard to build one. Suffer first and reap your rewards thereafter.” (JPIBRAND2).
As a resident of Mombasa County, unemployment is a scourge that has ailed us all. Its consequences are multiple and diverse and this is not something anyone can just ignore. Such include: increase in crime rates, homelessness, poor standards of living, depression among youths and poor rates of economic development.
All these causes and consequences need to have a solution. Through every solution, there is a sacrifice and through every sacrifice comes results.
We can create massive youth empowerment by the county government through education forums; seminars, conferences and workshops. Through the county ministries of youth, gender and culture, the youth can be educated on entrepreneurial skills and benefits and this is a major way of reducing unemployment through dependence on employment opportunities that are scarce.
As the elite residents of Mombasa County, we can create awareness on the effects of drugs and go ahead to even create more rehabilitation centers for the victims.
As a society, we can inculcate values that steer aggressiveness among the youth. Such values include encouraging and promoting hard work among youth, creating a sense of responsibility among others.
We can create pathways to success for out-of-school youth by overhauling school dropout prevention policies. For instance; many young girls drop out of schools due to early pregnancies, policies can be put in place to cater for such girls to continue with their studies even after delivery.
We must adopt the right mindset; youths should be positive in outlook and global in ambition. For optimism stems, not from denying change but from recognizing the possibilities it presents. (Max Kirby3).
Is entrepreneurship a villain for most youths? “We can create funding mechanisms that are contingent on mentorship and financial education. (Forbes4).” This will spark an interest among youths to venture into the field. It’s what I can sum up as; ‘Give me a fish and I will eat for a day, teach me how to fish and I will eat for a lifetime.’
Vision brings minds together. Vision serves, thrives and drives our campaign in changing lives. As the future of Mombasa County, I believe that we are grounded and rooted in the vision of empowerment. (
JANGA LA DAWA ZA KULEVYA MOMBASA
SHAIRI By HARITH MOHA
Nakuliza hadi lini, wanamombasa teseka?
Tumechoka aliani, twasema tumetosheka,
Kesho gari leo mani, hadi lini taponyoka?
Siku hizi si rahisi, usiku tembee sasa,
Weza kapigwa risasi, ndani vichochoro hasa,
Si hekaya bunuwasi, bali maisha Mombasa.
Bangi heroni bugizi, sigara pombe na gluu,
Takufanya uwe chizi, wanze juta makuu,
Lau mapema tosizi, hutoweza toa guu.
Bora amepata hongo, basi nawe hana shida,
Ataigeuza shingo, ajua ana faida,
Na jicho tatia chongo, hiyo kwao kawaida.
Ajifanya hamnazo, dirisha ameliboba,
Kumbe akili anazo, angoja wake mkoba,
Takuekea vikwazo, mwisho utasema toba.
Siyewajua hakuna, wauzi dawa haramu,
Mungu awajaze lana, kwani wanauza sumu,
Nakuomba ya Rabana, ndani nari na wadumu.
Mateja ukiwacheki, badhi wasomi wenyewe,
Kizungu chao hakiki, si hiki cha mi na wewe,
Wangekuwa Ameriki, ila medonwa mwewe.
Wengi taka saidizi, hawajui wende wapi,
Katu hawatumaizi, watalii watukwepi,
Somali twapiga mbizi, hatujui funga nepi?
MOMBASA- A SHADOW OF ITS FORMER SELF By HAMUD ALWI
What was once known the ultimate tourists destination in Africa, Mombasa, has over the years camouflaged into a perilous land where one lives by the shadows of death.
Surrounded by the Indian ocean, the island was once the pride of Kenya. It harbours the most conspicous of tribes and clans- the digos, giriama, swahilis and many more. Where every tribe fights for the bragging rights of displaying their cultural heritages, cuisines and norms evident in places like kibokoni where many artefacts are sold. The land of coconuts "nazi". One would hardly feel his stomach without biting on one or two foods comprised of "nazi". "Wali wa nazi, samaki ya nazi, maharage ya nazi" have all made foreigners want to come back for more.
Afew years ago, mombasa started experiencing unlikely evolution. Its citizens dragged in a war which had nothing to do with them. Drugs, radicalisation and unemployement became the order of the day at the beautiful coastal town. So much so little that it had more than 70% of its people affected.
The epidemic of these three "cancers" turnished the coastal town branding it a no-go zone area. Where one would spend the whole night at lighthouse, now one swiftly locks the door after dawn fearing for ones dear life. To add insults to wounds we witnessed a jaw dropping mass of people turn up for only 28 vacancies at the Bandari college which left one pitying Mombasa.
An exodus of tourists has heaped problems upon problems worsening the "cancers". Young boys endulge in crime to meet their "needs". Cases of rape, robberies, and murders have become so common living one to fear for his dear life.
Someone needs to intervene. Alot of supplications are done after friday prayers to solicit our beloved town.
I like my dessert after my meal. Although there are streams of crimes carried out, Mombasa has tried to console itself with memorable events. Mshkikaki festival is a good example.
The county government should avail more jobs to its citizens and promote youth talent. I have witnessed many talented youths destroy their lives by being radicalised and taken up by drug barrons.
He sleeps having memorised the quran and wakes up at a death valley.
Mombasa needs to be revived. It has been blessed with more resources than man- power.
I woke up to the most beautiful wake up call; By MUFIDA DIGEIL
I woke up to the most beautiful wake up call; the birds chirped beautifully as I could hear the call for prayer in the background. I turned and gave my wife a peck on her forehead.
We all got ready to pray, I left with our two sons for our morning walk to Masjid Musa which was ten minutes away. As I left the house, I tried to adjust my eyes to the bright-lit street and my sons caught up with the neighbours' boys, they looked for old plastic bottles to kick around but something was different today, the streets were exceptionally clean.
My husband came back home with fresh fruits he got from an old man, he said the man insisted that he took the fruits and he could pay him the next day. He came back happy saying everyone was so friendly at the mosque.
We all got ready for our day's activities, my friend called to check if I wanted to join her at the Nyali Ladies Sports Club, one that I didnt even know existed. After taking the directions from her that is where I headed. It was accessible, reasonably priced and nicely cooled by the ACs that hummed peacefully. This place seemed oddly familiar, was this where the Pirates public beach was?
After a quick shower I went out to the local markiti, and I was surprised to find paper and plastic recycling bins nicely lined on one side of the walls. The stalls and parking spots were clearly marked. I parked and walked over to the Mama Mboga to pick out some fresh vegetables for the day. I loved the market which was well organized, well maintained and where everyone was exchanging pleasantries with each other.
I got help to bring my items to the car and I offered to tip the young man, when I looked up to see his young fresh face with newly trimmed hair, I was caught in a confused state, was this the boy I saw on the 8 o'clock news that was supposedly dangerous? He reclined my offer and said, "how can I take money from you my sister".
I stared at the yellow leaf as it floated on air till it hit the pavement. In my mind I checked off all the different universities and options I had applied to and thought of. Just then, Mrs. Wanjiku walked over to me and told me she would help write my recommendation letter for the top school in Nairobi. My heart skipped a beat at the thought, Coast Girls had been my second home for over three years now and my mother had made it clear to me and my teachers that as soon as I was done with fourth form, she would marry me off to my cousin of which I was not attracted to. I stared glassy eyed as she told me that it is doable and that i could finally achieve my dream of being an architect. She told me that she would talk to my mother and help me get settled into Nairobi University. When I asked about the strikes, she stared at me and wondered what I was talking about. "There is nothing to worry about my child, everyone is very helpful at the University".
I walked over to the meeting point the boys usually sit. I was ready for a high and I hoped Ali had thought of me when he bought his dose for the day.
As I approached our meeting place, I saw the boys sitting on a long table and they all had their laptops and books in front of them. I felt out of place, was this my gang? Salim's eyes weren't blood shot and Abdillahi's cheeks weren't flushed. They greeted me and called me over. Ali made room for me on his bench and as I stared at his screen, he was writing a paper "Can you help me fix my grammar?".
Ahmed was working on a science project entitled "Making solar power accessible to all in Mombasa". Muhammad was working on his Sociology paper on social reform, Salim was working on his Algebra questions, he was recording himself explaining how an equation was solved, and wanted to post it on Youtube so others could benefit from it. Abdillahi sat quiety reading 'The Five People You Meet In Heaven'.
This was so surreal, I followed through and acted as though nothing was weird at our maskan, but slowly, I started feeling a funny sensation, as though I was being pulled out from a small necked bottle only to realize that my ears were being subjected to the sound of gunshots in my neighbourhood. I woke up and rubbed my eyes and tried to adjust them to the light in my room. I jumped out of bed and hid under it as my heart thumped so loudly I could hear it in my ears.
"Mwizi! Mwizi!" I heard as I reminded myself to take deep breaths. As soon as the situation calmed down, I poured myself a glass of orange juice and walked over to the sitting room to switch on the tv. The headline read "At least 10 Quarry workers killed by suspected #Alshabab gunmen in an overnight attack in #Mandera- Hospital source @HarunMaruf @Daudoo".
Reality of the country I lived in slowly but surely started to sink in. What was I to do? I felt so despaired and empty inside. I switched off the tv and picked up my book "Long walk to freedom"-the book about the man who brought change to his society. I thought about the situation and wondered if I had the motivation to bring changes that would reform my city or was I just going to sit back and live my life being dragged around as a dog on a leash?
I opened my book to where my bookmark was and read: " A leader. . .is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind."
YOUTH AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP By ABDULGHANI IBRAHIM YUSUF
We are accustomed to reading about crime and drug abuse every day, lamenting about it and criticizing the police, the so called our leaders and government of course.Utasikia mtu ashadungwa kisu be it in kibokoni,kisauni or majengo hata tushazoea imekuwa habari za kawaida the only question we usually ask is “nani amedungwa?” . But do we ever ask “Why is there so much crime and drug abuse, what is causing so many youth to turn to crime in Mombasa?”
We have a very high unemployment rate in our country, and we need to look beyond the statistics to the consequences of so many people with so much time on their hands, especially young people. we all saw and read what happened at Bandari College on Saturday whereby large number of youth came out to seize the few opportunities that were available. The turned out just showed us the youth were tired sitting at home and “kungojea maembe yaanguke.” That showed the youth will do anything for them to succeed.
How about we channel that energy into something positive like teaching them entrepreneurial skills that would help them to create jobs for others. The harsh truth is we all not be employed in this country. So what should we do? Wait for politicians and get misused for the sake of getting “gomba” on weekends while they steal our taxpayers’ money? Even one said said we should reproduce more so that our county gets more money and in my opinion he just want to steal more money from us.
The rate of unemployment in Mombasa is escalating at an alarming rate some of us even going abroad to look for greener pasture away from their families. A lot of graduates are roaming the streets and some end up doing what they didn’t even study for. We were raised to believe that if we can just be diligent, study hard in school and do well in our tertiary studies, we will get a good paying job and live the life of our dreams but what happen? For me they lied, from my teachers to my parents they said “tusome ili tupate kazi nzury” but when we graduated the story is exact opposite in most cases. "It's very hard to find work when you are young. They want people with skills and experience, but I couldn't afford to study to get more qualifications and, as I wasn't working, I couldn't get the skills." What then can be the solution? Education is important and more and more young people should get trained in different disciplines but what should one do when they find themselves in a situation whereby they are well trained but cannot get employment?
Entrepreneurship can become a solution to unemployment in Mombasa but everyone who wants to take that route should make sure that they are fully equipped. I know the government can help by introducing intensive entrepreneurship programs In schools, this may also involve offering diverse platforms (project-based courses, idea competitions, internships, summer camps, etc.) for students to experience entrepreneurship with different levels of complexity
. There is a huge need in different fields that can be filled by innovative young people. There is a huge need for social entrepreneurs; a huge need for agriculture based businesses and a huge need for technology related businesses just to name a few. If one finds themselves in a situation whereby they have done whatever it takes to look for a job but to no avail, they can just look for a need in their community that they can fill and make a business out of it. If done right, being your own business and running your own business is actually more rewarding than working for someone. So instead of blaming the government for unemployment young people should just go out there and find solutions for themselves and their peers. They should learn all they can learn about running a business successfully; there are so many free courses and free tips available online and they should just go for it.
Lastly, what I belive is if the youth could wake up and take matters in there own hands no one will be subjected to any form of discrimination or intolerance based on ethnicity, culture, political opinion, gender, race or religion.
And for our politicians I believe the time has come for us to tell the politicians that the truth so that they could change from their bad ways before we wake up and showed them the real meaning of leadership because politicians have misplaced priorities and are spending our money on luxurious activities when such funds could be used to create employment for the youth in our community.
The Current state of Mombasa
By FAHAD SAID
Writing this essay is a duty rather than a competition. I found great honor in getting this rarely insane opportunity to jolt down vital aspects of my county- Mombasa County. I heartily thank the Almighty for giving me the time and the spirit to contribute to this discussion. I have been mostly referred to as “mtu wa Mombasani”and I stand tall and proud as I consider this an endearment, it gives me a sense of identity, a sense of belonging.
Being a resident of Mombasa, I have silently observed the colossal transformation that occurred within this county for the past decade. The city has witnessed a rapid change in its existence, from a booming tourism industry to its collapse, from the days of utter freedom of movement to curfews, from times of trustworthiness to moments of suspicion and mistrust.it was formerly known as Mombasa Raha but it has drastically turned into the term Mombasa Karaha. I know, I know… times have changed or so we argue but I think it’s more appropriate to say that times don’t change, it’s the people that do. I desperately miss the days I could walk down the streets of Majengo and Mji Wa Kale without fearing for my safety. Nowadays, apart from the police harassment, the passed mandate of carrying an identity card even when going to a neighboring kiosk, local kids have picked up gangster “habits” of stabbing and shooting people, stealing and destroying property without a conscience. We have been robbed of the carefree days where we used to go to school by ourselves, we now have to escort our kids to school because of the high number of pedophiles openly loitering in our midst. The local youth unashamedly engage in drug use and abuse defying all elderly advice and guidance. Like the rest of the country with the ongoing terror attacks, Mombasa residents are forced to tightly hold onto the rope of unity and avoid being divided along religious lines. Moreover, corruption still plays a significantly crucial role in undermining the welfare of the City.
We, the people of Mombasa have failed this city. We have failed to uphold our social responsibilities and deteriorated our moral integrity. We have unfortunately lost our focus of what is fundamental for our growth and development as a society. Where have we gone wrong?
We cannot entirely blame the Government of Kenya, you can take the donkey to the river but you most certainly cannot force it to drink the water. We voted for change and devolution was presented. This was our chance of having a positive impact, making a difference that would enable us to stand out as a world class city, we instead picked up insecurity, terrorism and traded our robust economy for economic failure as basic characteristics that currently define Mombasa. We cannot also put the blame on the politicians alone, it’s a political game to them, and they don’t always say what they mean! Besides, development is a team effort, expecting them to identify and run all the projects without the cooperation, interest and participation of the public would be futile. It has become a fetish for the people to blame the leaders in power, I somehow agree, they carry part of the blame but let us be realistic, there is only so much a few people can do. The society needs to play ball too. The leaders need to be pushed, nagged, dragged, guided or use of any legit means necessary that will reflect the desire of the people for a better Mombasa.
As an International Relations student, I have closely studied how distribution of power affects the outcome of states…in this instance of counties. According to a recent survey carried out by infotrack on the counties with better performance, Mombasa is not even among the top five. We are a resources rich county with readily available labor then why do we fail to reach the pass mark? Mombasa boasts of owning a port harbor, we host an oil refinery, a ferry service, a diverse transport system, but sadly, we experience the highest number of unemployment in the country.
The education sector has enormously improved in Mombasa, the residents are making use of the free education policy and engaged in making better tomorrows by seeking knowledge. The desire for education however doesn’t not run deep. A higher percentage of the residents fall under the margin line of either a high school certificate or a first degree. How many professors do we have that are originally Mombasians? In many institutes of higher learning, lecturers fly in from Nairobi or other parts of the country. Some courses cannot be taken in Mombasa, one has to move elsewhere to acquire the wanted skill. I personally attest to this, our institutions need to grow and be self-sufficient in some ways. Experts in various fields are often shipped from upcountry to impart valuable lessons to the Mombasa Population.
Abu Dhabi is the Capital of UAE but Dubai booms, Pretoria is for South Africa but Johannesburg blasts, Washington is for USA but New York glows, Ankara is for Turkey but Istanbul shimmers, Nairobi is for Kenya but why can’t Mombasa shine? I applaud the efforts of the municipality council of Mombasa for the extra police force and county inspectorates, the beautification of the roadside by our governor and massive improvement of our health services. Nevertheless, there are youth programs that have been formed to enable the youth engage in more productive activities that benefit them and the city at large.Donge la Mombasa is a perfect example of this, it also promotes community development and levelling the elevated levels of crime in the county, women empowerment and youth participation. The esteemed Member of Parliament A.S Nassir for example, personally oversees most of the community projects particularly in his constituency, Mvita, he is doing a commending job indeed.
There is need to improve the living conditions of the residents of the Mombasa County and the elimination of security threats in its entirety. The people of Mombasa together with their leaders need to establish a working formula that encourages transparency and accountability of public funds and promotion of safety. People ought to stop assuming individuality and realize that Mombasa is ours, it is therefore a collective responsibility to maintain peace and security, promote a harmonious united front and uplift it to the status it so deserves.it is imperative that we restore our beloved city to its former glory and impeccable glowing reputation. All hail Mombasa!
Poverty, youth unemployment, and
the vision for a better Mombasa
By LELA GOLDSMITH
Among the factors that contribute to Mombasa's economic and social instability, youth unemployment ranks as one of the strongest. Located along the southern coast of Kenya, Mombasa is the country's second largest city and serves as the country's entry point from the sea. The port city is a buzzing commercial centre with extensive business opportunities for the residents. However with local youth unemployment at 44%, it appears that this commercial centre has failed to capture the energy and creativity that city's youth have to offer.
In addition to poverty, youth unemployment has been associated with significant antisocial behaviours such as drug abuse, theft, and homicides. While social factors contributing to unemployment vary between different socio-economic and ethnic groups, research indicates that the main factors are as follows:
-Limited access to basic education. Local primary and secondary schools are out of reach for most children that come from lower income families. Public schools are subsidized by the government in theory, however the high cost of additional materials and fees (uniforms, books, activity fees, transportation) add to the financial burden of education. Private schools rarely offer scholarships or grants to the poor.
-Gap between skills possessed and skills required by businesses. The entry of Mombasa’s commercial enterprises into the global marketplace has created a need for a workforce with industry-specific skill sets, computer literacy, and complex analytic and decision making capabilities. Unfortunately these skills often obtained only through an advanced formal education. The availability of human resources does not necessarily equate to employability, thus many youth fall into the gap of ‘unqualified’ status. With the local youth unable to meet the requirements of non-manual jobs, outsiders are recruited to fill in positions within these businesses.
-Limited access to lending and financing opportunities. Despite their enthusiasm for establishing their own small scale businesses, youth are often turned away by lending institutions due to their credit ratings. Stringent application requirements often put off the youth from pursuing these loans.
-High business costs. Unless one is born into an enterprising family or is able to secure funds from friends and family, costs for business start-ups are often too prohibitive for local youth. The lack of readily available capital, coupled with high overhead costs and cut-throat competition makes it nearly impossible for a young person in Mombasa to successfully launch and sustain a small business.
-Cultural feelings of marginalisation. The increased mass immigration of non-indigenous peoples to fill in jobs in private and governmental business sector has fuelled a popular sentiment among indigenous Mombasans that medium-to-high level jobs are only available to non-indigenous groups aka ‘wabara’. There are feelings of hopelessness among the youth that has given rise to the mentality of ‘no matter how hard I work, I will never progress”.
There have been a number of youth training and funding initiatives introduced by the local government to help curb youth unemployment however these have achieved little impact on the ground. Despite their best intentions, government officials have failed to realise that the availability of these opportunities does not equal to participation from the target population. The majority of indigenous Mombasa youth do not take advantage of these government-backed initiatives. While non-participation has been attributed to laziness or lack of interest, an examination of deeper issues reveals a more complex psycho-social phenomenon at play. Recent research on the impact of poverty on individuals indicates that poor people are often so preoccupied with immediate problems of paying bills, paying for food and shelter, and survival budgeting that they are left with little mental capacity to plan for important, but distant, activities such as education and creating investments. Poverty not only increases the likelihood of a person to make bad decisions, it also erodes self-confidence and enthusiasm to undertake more mentally complicated tasks.
How can these research findings be translated into solutions?
As far as government training and funding opportunities are concerned, it is not enough just to advertise these programs to the masses and expect maximum participation. More effort has to be made in terms of providing assistance, moral support and one-to-one guidance during the application process. This could mean letting people know that help is available; it means putting more emphasis on keywords like ‘help available’ in radio advertisements, print media, and social media. It could also mean creating customer service centres where government officers provide help poorer applicants to fill out application forms and respond to queries in a compassionate and professional manner.
Other kinds of help could include partnering up with grassroots organisations in promoting government programs specifically geared towards poverty reduction. Organisations such as Donge la Mombasa Welfare Group have an important role to play because they could bridge the gap between high level government officials and their constituencies. Schools and madrassahs are also vital in the campaign against youth unemployment and poverty. Apart from providing traditional formal education, teachers could provide additional emotional support to poor students which will subsequently boost self-confidence and increase a belief in achieving professional success despite their modest backgrounds.
In order for Mombasa to flourish, the youth need to be involved in its economic development. By providing moral and technical support to our youth in the areas of education, training, and finance, we will be nurturing a new generation of energetic and innovative workers. In order to realise the local government’s vision of creating ‘a vibrant modern regional commercial hub with a high standard of living for its residents,’ the youth need to be involved.
The essay addresses a critical problem that is central to much of the region’s political discontent. It is well-written, coherent, and proposes solutions. Although it treads on familiar ground here, it is comprehensive and does so by supporting its recommendations and placing them in context. It helps that the text tries to explain the poor response to some opportunities by referring to the role of truncated economic horizons in many household’s coping strategies. I am intrigued by mention of madrassah as part of them employment solution and would have liked the author to comment more on this issue.
UNEMPLOYMENT AS A QUANDARY
By JUWAYRIYYA HASSAN
Mombasa is a city of salt and of spice,of dreams and of history,of poetry and of seafaring stories and of wave upon its deep blue seas and of cute coral reefs and shells not forgetting our pride'coconut trees'.Do not all this beauty elements capture your inner imagination? its my heaven..oh yes it is,the city in the sun,My pride,my city, my hope.
Mombasa leaders have speculated and formulated a dream,a big enormous dream that is yet to be true,that dream is forever glued in the deepest parts of our hearts,'The vision of 2030'.The vision that is mostly viewed as a dead dormant dream or a flying bird that has lost its wings as it has no direction or force to propel it to fly.
A famous quote by T.E laurence pops into my mind'All men dream,but not equally,those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds,wake in the day to find that it was vanity:but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men,for they may act on their dreams with open eyes,to make them possible'.As to me i view all Mombasarians as the dreamers of the day,they have the sweat and can work hard to make vision 2030 be a reality but due to various obstacles that make their way thorny and unwalkable and the major thorn is unemployment.In my essay i will explain the background,causes,effects of the unemployment crisis,and would also discuss on the possible measures to curb the chronic headache facing us.
The pandemic of unemployment has so many causes among them is the rapid population growth.The rapidly multiplying population is due to some certain factors like low infant mortality rates,better healthcare,better nutrition etc.This leads to a more labour force in the market of low labour demand leading to a high number of individuals unemployed.
Another cause is the use of inappropriate technology in Mombasa.We are still under developed as the methods for production are still traditional in the rural areas like kilifi,likoni among others.This inturn leads to poor production methods leading to poor produces like mangoes,coconut among others.The use of inappropriate technology has lead to low production in Mombasa leading to low sales and profits hence less labour demand leading to unemployment.
Another causative factor is the inappropriacy in the education system.The schools in Mombasa teach more on the matters in the sylabusses and books impating less experiences and the required skills to students.This in turn leads to most students grabbing the contents in their books inorder to pass their exams but have no woking skills required in the market world.A good demonstrative of this is by one of my favourite Mombasarian quote by Mejumaa Ali who believs that'It is not only through education that you can excel in life,Through struggle and hardwork in business,you can also make it and be a good example-if given the chance'.The above quote is by Mejumaa Ali in kenya's second city and East Africa most prominent trading hub but unfortunately Mejumaa has not yet been given that chance by the society who is still jobless.
why should the Mombasa leaders believe that it is only through good education that one has to get a job?why should they?cant they see the many negative effects unemployment has brought in the society like drug abuse,youth radicalisation to terrorism or the famous Al-shabaab group,the ever declining spending power of Mombasarians who live in absolute poverty,cant they see the low standards of living Mombasarians face?cant they notice the crying souls of their people who have greatly lost faith in their county government?cant they see this monster faced dilemma and fix it?Well i guess they can but they lack the push and I with my fellow writers would try and give out solutions and hope that they would consider them.
one of the solution i believe that would curb unemployment is population control.Mombasa heads should enforce population control by providing hospitals birth control pills and contraceptives and they should also create awareness of the dangers of large families.
Mombasa heads should also provide the neccesary working skills to the illerate people in the society so that they can create their own jobs .They should also promote local industries ie the 'Jua kali industry' as it creates jobs for Mombasarians and act as a source of income for the unemployed individuals.Mombasa leaders should also not shun the efforts of young entrepreneurs and they should provide the as maximum support as they can and motivate them as young entrepreneurs create self employment.Mombasa leaders should also increase the county's expenditure by investing more on some profitable businesses as this would lead to development and a raise in the standards of living of the Mombasarians.Mombasa heads should also develop the rural areas and provide the modern technological tools for agriculture as this would lead to more produce volumes.
My dream and the way i view Mombasa when i close my eyes,i dare to see it as i look down my feet,as i slip out of those invisible thethers,as i ask myself how would life in Mombasa look and feel like if the unemployment crisis is curbed? what level of energy would Mombasarians possess?What i see and feel for the future of my county if the unemployment pickle is unrooted always gives me a sweet glow of inner contentment,the way it tastes,the way it smells and feels is magical.Thats how i feel about my county and i have big hopes for Vision 2030 and i pray deep in me that my hopes will get wings and fly and be a reality.
A Poem - MOMBASA
By SALSABILA ABDULHALIM
In Mombasa In the vicinity of an island down south in the Kenyan land lies a city, of beaches and white sands and a scenery that robs the mind
Under the hot blazing sun trade commences as if in fun all the women and men run in all directions for money to earn
Not forgetting the outstanding culture of the coasterians does not fracture their life and the way their children nurture will always be in mind even after departure
Not forgetting the tasty food
from biryani to pilau all include
an awesome combination of spices that could
exist and put you in the best of moods
The peaceful nature trails
a piece of mind it lays
in Mombasa nothing fails
all is good all is well.
The Mombasa I miss
By AINAIN M. RASHID
I grew up in Old Town Area, near the famous Fort Jesus monument, a world heritage site, which means we were very close to the ocean. We used to love going to the ocean all the time to swim even before we actually knew how to swim. The best part about going swimming near Fort Jesus was that we would encounter lots and lots of tourists, and this meant treats for all of us. We would walk around Fort Jesus after the swim and watch the boys playing football on the famous field that does not even have grass and where if the ball got kicked hard enough it ended up in the ocean. On our way home from watching football, we would always see tourist roaming the narrow alleys we called home, taking pictures of people sitting in their barazas braiding each other’s hair, or simply tongue wagging about the neighbor who had had a quarrel with her husband the night before. Whenever we saw these tourists we would always run after them screaming “wazungu….wazungu….wazungu….” most of them were fascinated by our hair, they would often touch it and whisper amongst themselves about how amazing it was. We would almost always get treats from them after that, the lucky ones even got their photos taken by the “wazungus”. The treats included anything from pens to sweets and even toys if one got lucky enough. Of course we would hide all these things from our parents, because if they knew we had our photos taken, it would cause chaos in the house. My grandmother always warned us against having our picture taken saying the “wazungus” were going to sell us to their fellow “wazungus”. We used to greedily eat the sweets before reaching home because even those were forbidden for us to have. In short “wazungus were just pure evil in my grandmother’s eyes and we were not to have anything to do with them!
Old town was a wonderful town to grow up in, and so was Mombasa as a whole. During the month of December, on Christmas Eve we would all go to the Treasury Square Garden, where they had a fully decorated Christmas tree and we would have the times of our lives taking pictures and running around playing in the garden. In the evening, a black Santa Claus would come and give us all presents, which were mostly sweets, gum, cookies, biscuits and all the delicious confectionery you could think of. We would watch as the non Muslims celebrated their day. On Eid, all the people would gather again at Treasury Square for Eid celebrations and the non Muslims would watch us having our celebrations. The height of the celebrations was going to the fun fair at Makadara Grounds
during the evening with all the other kids and sampling all the rides available. The mosques would be filled with Takbiras, the people decked in the fine clothes moving from house to house wishing Eid Mubarak to the parents, relatives and even neighbors. On Diwali, we would all run around the neighborhood lighting firecrackers and having lots of fun. We used to have a neighbor who is a Hindu and every Diwali; she would send us a plate filled with Diwali treats just as we would send her a plate on Eid.
This is the Mombasa I miss……
The Mombasa we live in today has no tolerance for other people’s religions, the Mombasa we live in today has no space for being a good neighbor irrespective of the tribe, religion or color of that neighbor, the Mombasa we live in now is always in the news, and never in a positive way, the Mombasa we live in is radicalizing youth and turning them away from what Islam truly teaches them, the Mombasa we live in today has lost its light in the tourism sector. What happened? Where did we go wrong? We need to go back to the old days, we need to re – evaluate our priorities and create a better future for our sons and daughters and the city we all love and adore.
What we need is to take control of our youth as they are the future of tomorrow. We need to instill in them a sense of belonging, a sense of loving for their City. We need leaders to connect with the people from the grassroots and involve them in the policy making and above all we need peace to prevail in this once peaceful town. I remember days when we used to walk at night without fear of being robbed or harmed. I remember days when we used to mingle freely with worshippers form other faiths and not having an ounce of hatred towards them. I remember the days when we used to see Mombasa as a shining pearl in the tourism industry, where every year in December we see tourist from all over the world coming to visit this precious gem. I remember days when the drug menace was a thing we only saw on TV and every youth was singing the “stay away from drugs” song.
This is the Mombasa I miss……..
A LETTER TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN By Lubnah Abdulhalim Baghozi
Hey you over there. Yes, you! This is kindly for you. I hope this letter brings my concern to your gentle heart. Please give it a minute or two, or perhaps a few minutes of your golden time. This is for everyone and for no one in particular. This letter is to my leader whom I hoped would hand me a ladder to my dreams; to the rich of Mombasa whom I wished would stretch their hand in the pursuit of supporting me; to my neighbour whom I believed to help me when in need. Don’t be mistaken, this is definitely for you just as it is for anyone else. THIS…is to whoever it may concern.
Mombasa. The place with the most beautiful sunset on earth; the area of undeniably eye catching blue waters and ever-green palm trees bowing down to you, a region of rich and deep culture which we inherited from diverse tribes and races; the place we forever will cherish. This is home sweet home.
This city has grown so much over the years and the changes can’t be defied. We have grown to be like the mysterious city where all we can see is the sickening mixture of success and failure; unity and selfishness; joy and grief. The Mombasa that the older generations knew of was the one that had a vision; a vision that was later diluted with the lethargic nature of the current generations. All we have now is a mishap of ideas within the community where everyone talks but no one acts. The great say, an idea is only when it is implemented. There are many ideas but the implementation remains a far-stretched theory. So where are we heading to when all we do is jog at the same spot year in year out?
We have now inherited a multi-cultural personality which would be to a great advantage if we could join our thoughts of religions and education system to be unified. Truly, love for your people is not bought-it is gained through community awareness and progress. So how much do we really lose if we put aside all our differences of social class, religion, tribe and whatever else that separates us from the ultimate success?
I have always been amused to hear of how the Mombasa we know of was during old times; how everyone was a brother to another even when there was no blood relation, whereby a neighbour could punish another neighbour’s child for some wrongdoing, how people would support each other in weddings and funerals; it all sounds like Mombasa was this one big family where everyone knew everyone but it didn’t just end at the knowing each other, it went further to deeply expose the brotherhood and unity that was there. All this harmony and peace was suddenly grabbed from us by the unknown and all we are left with are skeletons from the past.
The blessed month of Ramadhan; the month of mercy and forgiveness, has always displayed the golden hearts of our people in a platter. There is the great sense of unity and love as we join hands in this glorious month and it is so touching to see ourselves remember the poor, do charity in abundance, remember our neighbours for the first time in months, visit the sick, join hands to do community work and so much more. This doesn’t just define us as religious beings only; it defines us as a community. It shows our real potential and ability to do a great job to reap fruits for our people. It is out of the prayers that I have that I am hoping that this unity could be extended throughout the other eleven months; not just for our sake but for the betterment of our children too.
It is high time we embraced our fears and grief; it is due time we stopped stigmatizing the homeless child that lies on the dirty road with nothing but a piece of torn cloth to cover the body, the poor old frail man who owns nothing but the soul in him, the woman who wakes up before dawn and walks for miles in search for any random duty to make her ends meet, the man who struggles to push an overloaded rickshaw as he sweats profusely under the bright sun; this man who would probably just cough one day and spit blood and becomes his doomed end. It is important for us to tackle our egos and have a more gentle view on others. We need to appreciate every minor character in this tale of Mombasa; all these people we ignore and sometimes abuse, yet they are the growing power of our town.
Let’s turn our focus on the moral rot and impunity in our region; let us put our energy together in fighting all odd and immoral trends that make us walk face-down in shame. Let us fight for our once most peaceful environment. We have to bring back our love for each other, the harmony, the tranquility, our traditions, our language; that Coastal flavour that we can never find anywhere else.
Just as I want to be a Kenyan proud to be a Kenyan for what Kenya does for Kenyans, I want to be overly proud to be a Coasterian for what the Coast does for the Coasterians to gain ultimate success as a unified County. Let us all unite; be it Muslim, Christian, Hindu or Atheist; be it rich or poor; be it literate or illiterate. This is the time to join hands.
My bottom line is just; peace, love and unity once again for us all.
(A citizen of Mombasa)
By YUSRA HAIFA
we all know that education is very important. Now, I am not saying that an uneducated man has no chance of being successful or an educated man will surely do well in life. Exceptions are always there. However most of us will agree that an educated person gets better opportunities in life.
Our county government and all the leaders of our Mombasa county have to invest much in our young people education as this is the foundation of our future young people. Our schools should well maintain to a level that a child is looking forward to enter that class, we all know most of our local school conditions are from broken windows to no desk and dirty toilets to taps with no running water.
Ill urge to my governor ill rather have a good classroom than a pavement with colourfull flowers, our roads need more pavement space for our pedestrians than the space taken over by flowers.. We all know our sides pavement are all flooded with kiosk and sellers not forgetting side parking of the cars, with lack of that space we loose our children and adult in accident which can be prevented.
And that lawn of grass and flowers with how many people and young children in our street I can guarantee you that will soon be someone bedroom or a family home. And if not then we have a daily chore to maintain them.
I have hear so many times young people of our community complaining lack of work and I agree but there is a start to that young pupil to sit on that bench all day and engaged into so many things which are dangerous to our community.
Most of our opportunities are being taken by other people than of our own county and I don’t fully blame them but county government should focus on how to tackle that situation.
Our county should start to introduce work experience for our young people in high school, even if for a week our student get to experience that type of responsibility and understand the challenge more so to be ready when they finish the school.
We have our local hospitals, hotels, supermarkets councils etc
This young people who will get to experience that will broden their minds to know what to expect tomorrow when they finish high school a young pupil maybe motivated in that week and may know the path of his/ her career.
Most of our young people are form four leavers an have no clue where or how to start. I think that can at least help half of them if not all.
Our county is sinking into economic crisis… Purely an example a worker from nyeri works in nakumatt or one of our hospital in Mombasa.. Have a one bedsit, sends most of his/her salary back home cause he/she is growing chickens and relative are looking after the business he/ she is investing in his/her county which the community may gain cheap affordable eggs or even chicken that’s why the price of chicken in mombasa is not same as nyeri.
Imagine if our own was on that opportunity our county and community wouldn’t have to moan cause what is gained in our county remains in our county.
By BUSHRA SAIDI
Mombasa has always been at the centre of the coast's key events, a crucial stronghold for local and invading powers ever since the Arab-Swahili Mazrui clan emerged as one of the most powerful families in 9th century East Africa. It is Kenya's second largest city. Located in the southeast Kenya coast, Mombasa is central to Kenya's beach tourism. It is a coastal cosmopolitan with mixed races, people, cultures & lifestyles. Mombasa Kenya culture is predominantly Swahili culture. Highlights in Mombasa Kenya include fort Jesus, Old town, the port and of course the beaches. Mombasa is the best summed up as a feeling-love it or loathe it, there's something about the
salty heat, the humid air, the sounds of the city and the sensation of the dust sticking to your sun screamed skin that evokes an instant sense of place.
If this is your first stop after visiting the interior, you could hardly ask for a more distinctive introduction to Kenya's coast, and its perfect place to help you fall into the natural rhythm of Swahili life while still enjoying the modern comforts of home. Mombasa is the largest city on the Kenyan coast and also the largest coastal port in East Africa. The city sprawls across a low-lying island at the mouth of a broad inlet, providing a natural anchorage for ships. Traders have been coming here since at least 12th century and the goods from Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and eastern Congo (Zaire) still pass through here on their way overseas.
The Mombasa city's population isoverwhelmingly African, many of whom are Swahilis, but there is a remarkable range of
races and cultures here, from Africans to British expats, Omanis, Indians and Chinese.Most package tourist stay in the beach resorts north or south of town, but leaving Mombasa out of your itinerary completely would be a shame. The most interesting part is the character Old Town, with its narrow, winding alleyways, historic Swahili houses and the remains of the mighty Fort Jesus. It is a bustling, busy town- although it has kept it's character,especially in the old town. There is a distinct Arabic feel to the island -although there are also strong Indian, and Swahili influences, as well as regular reminders of the Portugese in the older parts of the city.
It is connected to themainland to the east via a causeway, to the north via the Nyali Bridge, and to the south by the Likoni Ferry.
The northern harbour is known as Mombasa Harbour which leads in to Tudor Creek. This is the traditional, natural deep water harbour, where the old port still exists - and operates, mainly serving dhows, and smaller coastal vessels that ply their trade alng the East African coast. The southern harbour is known as Kilindini harbour - which experiences busy shipping traffic to the new, modernport of Mombasa. The port is home to a wide range of modern ocean going vessels including container ships, tankers, warships, reefers, and cruise ships.
Mombasa has a key commercial and business district centred around Digo Road. It also has a variety of other districts ranging from residential to industrial. There are a number of sports clubs with playing fields, public parks, and a golf course on the island.
There is also great development in various aspects such as women empowerment. Various groups have been set up so as to help in various development projects. A group such as "Mombasa Toa Donge Lako" has steered up the youths in community development.
Equally, the group has enhanced unity and mutual responsibility among the youths of mombasa.
Through such groups the youth have been sensitized and educated on various aspects. Job opportunities among them have been achieved.
In conclusion, i believe such initiatives have contributed positively to development of Mombasa and hence need to be encouraged to promote growth and help achieve the millenium goals of this country.