(The Asian Independent)
– Vidya Bhushan Rawat
Daniel Kobei is a Resource Rights activist in Keyna. He is the founder of Ogiek Peoples’ Development Program (OPDP) an organisation specifically meant for the uplift of the Obeik community in 1999. Daniel belonged to this community which is one of the indigenous communities of Kenya and remain marginalied till today. The organisation was formed by the Ogiek elders, opinion leaders, and professionals after long historical injustices that deprived the Ogiek community of their rights as Kenyan citizens. For his inspiring work, The conversation also reveals how each society develops its own corrupt forces and then denies space to the marginalised communities. The colonial legacy has corrupted the political leadership in all the former colonies making it difficult for the marginalised communities to survive and live with dignity. Daniel Kobei won the International Land Coalition’s Award for the year 2018.
Daniel Kobei has is well acquainted with India as he came to study engineering here. While deeply respecting India’s strength of innovation and science and technology, Daniel knows the caste and colour prejudices in India which according to him is sad. This conversation is extremely important for all of us who are keen to know what are the challenges before us from the point of view of a friend from Kenya, an African nation and how Indians have treated them. Globally, the world is speaking up against racial discrimination but we need to be more forthcoming on these issues. Danial believes that issues of access to natural resources, particularly forest, land and water are extremely important to maintain food sovereignty of the indigenous people and marginalised communities.
Listen to this conversation of mine with Daniel Kobei which gives you an idea of what are similarities between India and Kenya. How people in Kenya are using music and herbal medicine to handle Covid 19. Our discussion started from Covid situation to caste, race and land issues. Hope you will find it informative. Your reactions and responses are welcome.