Political Influence Obstructing Effective Respond
Political Influence Obstructing Effective Respond
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1- I will base my case on a very fresh case happening in Africa, Kenya. It’s a humanitarian crisis of hunger which some top government officials are denying but the media has followed on the case and brought forward undisputable evidence that indeed people have died of hunger.
This is a classic example of political influence obstructing effective disaster operations In this case, we see that some top government officials are denying that people are dying of hunger. Why? The obvious answer is that this shows that the government has no policies to deal with hunger and therefore lacks foresight. Since hunger is not a new thing in such a country, she ought to have learned from past experiences and like the biblical Joseph store up food for use when rain fails and hunger strikes. A further study on Kenya has revealed that actually though it’s true that people have died of hunger, the hunger is only in some parts but in other parts of the country, there is food and so nobody ought to have died of hunger when there is food in other parts of the land. In fact, they say that in some places people are looking for customers to buy their maize, which is the staple food in the country. If this is the case, then to hear that some people are dying of hunger shows a government that lacks foresight. This could be the reason why top government officials are denying the hunger, because they are aware that the opposition will capitalize on it and prove a point that could haunt the government in next elections. If this was what they feared, then it has happened because the opposition has already hit.
In essence, this shows that some top government officers are aware that the disaster is exposing a bad side of them that they have no policy to deal with hunger. The only way for them to hide their weakness is to deny publicly and confuse the public. By so doing, they obstruct effective disaster operation because the AID agencies will avoid to go against the government. Also, both local and foreign donors will not bring in help because generally they rely on governments position. Even when some may know the truth that a disaster is real, they may hold their help lest they be seen to be opposed to the government, which is not good for them. There have been cases of NGOs being deregistered because of non-cooperation with government institutions.
In politically unstable environments, NGOs have had a good impact because they can reach people on the ground with AID. In fact, NGOs have worked to ensure sanity in politically unstable environments by pinpointing areas of intervention and financing activities. For example, human rights and healthcare organizations. In unstable environments, such NGOs have done great work in championing and protecting the rights of people. They come in to provide healthcare services and educate the common man on governance and his rights, so that when the unstable governments become oppressive, the common man can defend his rights by mass action. Other NGOs take on projects in farming and vocational training. Through such interventions by the NGOs, life becomes bearable. Another key factor is that since disaster hits even in politically unstable environments, when it happens its only NGOs who are available to offer the necessary interventions.
Particularly, NGOs like, Habitat for humanity international, World vision and others are experienced in their areas and so they have a swiftness that many governments cannot match. Their record in saving lives is almost unmatched by governments’. When disaster hits, in most cases they are there first even before government agencies.
2- Natural disasters have adverse effects on all people, and they do not discriminate based on color, ethnicity, the rich the poor, or even gender. In such challenging times, victims often turn to government and their leaders for help. However, it is not uncommon for them to be discouraged due to the political biases imposed on them. For instance, a government may prioritize offering aid to the residents of areas where political leaders enjoy the greatest support at the expense of others.
The 2010 Haiti Earthquake is an example of a recent disaster that was adversely affected by politics. Marcelin, Cela, and Shultz(2016) note that the distribution of humanitarian aid favored political patrons and affiliates. In addition, the political instability of Haiti contributed to the poor urban planning situation in the country, resulting in over-centralization of basic public services, consequently leading to disproportionate rural-urban migration. The factors adversely affect the effectiveness of disaster operations. Therefore, whereas political leaders had failed in planning for infrastructure and the provision of basic resources among the country’s population, distribution of humanitarian aid was based on political affiliation.
NGOs are expected to show impartiality in their disaster response, through serving all the victims equally and equitably. In politically unstable environments, NGOs are responsible for interacting with other response entities and facilitating aid provision. They are also expected to maintain neutrality and steer away from direct government influence. However, liaising with discriminative governments adversely affects the victims who lack political favor (Labbé & Daudin, 2015). Therefore, NGOs should remain impartial, independent, and neutral to enable them focus on alleviating suffering and saving lives of the people in need.
Labbé, J., & Daudin, P. (2015). Applying the humanitarian principles: Reflecting on the experience of the international committee of the red cross. International Review of the Red Cross, 97(897-898), 183-210. doi:10.1017/S1816383115000715
Marcelin, L. H., Cela, T., & Shultz, J. M. (2016). Haiti and the politics of governance and community responses to Hurricane Matthew. Disaster health, 3(4), 151-161.
add comment or opinion to these posts1- I will base my case on a very fresh case happening in Africa, Kenya. It’s a humanitarian crisis of hunger which some top