Article 56 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 stipulates that the state shall put in place affirmative action programmes designed to ensure that marginalized groups;
a) participate and are represented in governance and other spheres of life,
b) are provided special opportunities in educational and economic fields,
c) are provided special opportunities for access to employment,
d) develop their cultural values, languages and practices; and
e) have reasonable access to water, health services and infrastructure.
Article 260 of the Constitution defines a marginalized community as;
a) a community that, because of its relatively small population or for any other reason, has been unable to fully participate in the integrated social and economic life of Kenya as a whole,
b) a traditional community that, out of a need or desire to preserve its unique culture and identity from assimilation, has remained outside the integrated social and economic life of Kenya as a whole,
c) an indigenous community that has retained and maintained a traditional lifestyle and livelihood based on a hunter or gatherer economy; or
d) pastoral persons and communities, whether they are—
i. nomadic; or
ii. a settled community that, because of its relative geographic isolation, has experienced only marginal participation in the integrated social and economic life of Kenya as a whole; and a “marginalised group” means a group of people who, because of laws or practices before, on, or after the effective date, were or are disadvantaged by discrimination on one or more of the grounds in Article 27 (4);
Article 27 of the Constitution states that to give full effect to the realization of the rights under that article that every person is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection and equal benefit of the law, that women and men have rights to equal opportunities in political economic and social spheres that the state shall not discriminate directly or indirectly against any person on any ground including race, sex, pregnancy, marital status, health status, ethnic or social origin colour, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, dress language or birth, the State shall take legislative and other measures including affirmative action programmes and policies designed to redress any disadvantages suffered by individuals or groups because of past discrimination.
In the County set up it’s up to the County Assemblies and the County Governments to take legislative and other measures including affirmative action programmes and policies to address the plight, disadvantages of the minorities and marginalized groups.
There is no doubt that in the counties of Kakamega, Bungoma, Busia, Vihiga, and neighbouring Trans Nzoia have within them minorities and marginalized groups. In Bungoma County, the Sabaot, the Bongomek, the Batura, the Tesos are minorities and where the sections of the Sabaots have even petitioned to be administered in Trans Nzoia County. That state of affairs prevails in all the Counties of the region. The issues of minorities and marginalized groups affect people, human beings and it is West Fm’s position those matters that affect people are matters that cannot, ought not to be swept under the carpet, treated causally, delayed in being resolved. They require courageous action, swift concrete measures. Delay is unacceptable. It only deepens bitterness and suffering on those affected and who’ve been disadvantaged through historical injustices.
The elected leaders of the region at both the national and County level must address the challenges of the minorities and marginalized groups for that is a Constitutional duty and it’s a shame that nine years since the Constitution of Kenya 2010 was promulgated, those issues have not been dealt with at all. It is urgent that we address the dictates of the minorities and marginalized communities forthwith before any constitutional amendments are undertaken. It is a betrayal of the Constitution to pretend the grievances of the minority and marginalized are not urgent.