Koroto Day Secondary School is a promising offshoot of an elite group of individuals from Koroto community. I must applaud the passionate and unfathomable zeal with which the interim committee ramped up support for the biggest project in the recent history of Koroto.
However, the walls started cracking before the project began. I am not concerned about the fissures of physical stones. I am speaking about the customary embargo that occur in any meaningful project – resistance from stakeholders.
There is no big fuss about conflicts at the beginning of such a magnificent scheme, but there sits the catch. How the project management team addresses disputes among stakeholders is critical to the success of the project. Yet the ground breaking of Koroto Secondary School began on the same day when the funds for its construction were collected; and at the same day when the foundation was laid. I would say this is a modern school built under the maxims and principles used by our grandfathers when they erected the adjacent primary school.
It is worth noting that Koroto Secondary School sits within a community with barely any functional healthcare facility. The Maternity wing that was constructed several years ago is yet to open its doors to expectant mothers. Koroto Secondary School is built at a time when medicine and nurses are at historic peak scarcity; in a community where a woman once visited the hospital with a living infant and went back home with a corpse on his back. Well, God Forbid. Misfortune happens anywhere at any time. No one is to blame here, but I am speaking to and for the scandalous process of handling projects in Saimo Soi Ward.
The aforementioned school is located a few miles from dams that swallow water. With that I beg to end there, but allow me to say something about the nearby primary school.
Koroto Primary School, which stands a few meters away, was once a cradle of Education in Baringo. I visited the school dormitories during holidays, and the doors were all open for stray mammals – both domestic and wild – looking for shelter. The beds were screeching and caving in, and the windows were utterly loose with broken glasses. I am not sure what subsidies and public funding the school is entitled to. I don’t know what an audit of the school would show. Yet the elites have turned a blind eye, opening a new window of opportunity for a larger scale impunity – forgive me for my pessimism.
Back to the cracks that were sealed.
Projects usually experience challenges such as stakeholder resistance, miscommunication of goals, scope creep, uncertainties, and impossible deadlines. Whichever is the case for Koroto Secondary School is not my problem to worry about, but I am appalled by the manner in which dissenting opinion has been addressed.
When the project began, people laid claim to the land in which the school was built. The law may be against them, but as part of the community, I believe they deserved the right to be heard. Immediately the school’s site was proposed, someone decided to build a house there, claiming that the land is theirs by virtue of history and ancestry. Whatever happened now for them to start claiming for the land is a mystery. Whatever happened to the house is a bigger mystery. Well, mystery, power or money.
What I know is that the resistance was handled by way of the fist and the gang – no law no consultation. Just propaganda and coercive personal communications. Utilitarian apologetics would approve the approach with their common adage: the end justifies the means. But I stand with the Kantians and the Deontologists. This is not to say that I am right and they are wrong. I can be wrong, but why shouldn’t I be heard anyway?
The little and helpless ants of Kamingech family were outmaneuvered by the wits of the powerful and the mighty, rather than by virtue and law. They were silenced for being the minority, just as I rant here as a minority in this debate. The same injustice has been seen down East, near Lake Baringo. Kamingech family are fighting the same shadows in a bid to reclaim what they purport to be their land. Theirs or not, the use of gun and goons to advocate a course is myopic and ancient at best.
Kemboi Bartuos, a renowned lawyer in the region has been vocal about the same issue, but his nemesis have been livelier on assassinating his character rather than ideas. As if they are pure and righteous.
Land demarcation and unjust means of allocating land is now an order in a society that was once well knit by traditions and unity of purpose.
As the wall continues to crack, the ruling elites use money and power to seal them. Ants and cockroaches have always been killed with pesticides, but now they are using harmers and bulldozers. Indeed, the end result is to increase the cracks on the walls.
Fellow humans, let us learn from the weaknesses of other institutions and projects.