On 17 January 2020, Kenya Fight Inequality Alliance (Kenya FIA) held the Usawa March to demand that President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government take action to fight inequality. Hundreds of activists from across the country joined Kenya FIA and gathered at Freedom Corner at Uhuru Park, in Nairobi City. where they marched to the office of the president. They then delivered ten demands to the president, which included an allocation of resources to protect the poorest Kenyans from effects of climate change, negotiating concessions from China, ending harmful tax incentives for the rich and rescheduling debt to boost spending in basic services. The activists are starting this decade by calling for an end to the “age of greed” and demonstrating that the solutions to inequality will come from people, who are on the front line of the problems.
“We are already giving the government a ‘cheat sheet’ on how they can effectively fight inequality in Kenya. Budget cuts and lack of basic social services will only add to people’s misery. We have the solutions and the only thing President Kenyatta needs to do is to follow our 10-point demands.” These are the words of Antonia Musunga, Kenya FIA National Coordinator.
Global convenor for the Fight Inequality Alliance Jenny Ricks also stated that “People are joining together to tackle the problem by its roots, and that is inequality. We are starting the decade by calling out the elites in Davos who exploit us, and the governments who are failing us.” She also added that “In a just and fair economic system, billionaires would not exist. Now must be the decade of the 99%.”
The Kenya FIA based their demands on the seven types of security outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948. The first was environmental security, meaning that people should be protected from resource depletion, environment degradation and natural disasters. Justice and action around climate change are central to Kenya FIA’s mission, since we are living in an era where climate emergencies, floods and droughts have hit us hard. The second category is personal security, namely that there should be no form of violence on any person. The Kenya FIA demanded that their home be a peaceful and safe place to live. Third, there is economic security, which needs to be provided to young people so that they can invest and grow the economy. People must be secured from persistent poverty and be able to live a dignified life. Without these securities in place, no progress or peace can be realized in our societies.
Inequality is a problem that persists globally, since we are living in countries run on capitalism. The consequences of inequality are disastrous, and include class conflict, political domination, exploitation of the poor by the rich and waste of talent.
In conclusion, there are several ways to reduce inequality and provide essential security to our population. We need to create a more secure world: a world free from all forms of threats and insecurity, whether economic or social. We are all citizens, and we deserve to be treated equally and enjoy equal benefits. Our governments need to listen and address the issues concerning their populations.
The Usawa March will take place in thirty countries in 2020, including the United Kingdom, Uganda, Zambia, and Pakistan as part of global protests to fight inequality.