Safe working conditions are a basic human right and a fundamental part of Decent Work; however, there are some dangerous jobs that are life-threatening.
The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that over 2.3 million workers in the world die each year from work-related accidents and diseases, and 4 percent of the global Gross Domestic Product is lost due to accidents and poor working conditions.
At some point in our working lives, we have all convinced ourselves that we have the worst jobs on the planet. But let’s take a minute (or ten) to spare a thought for those who put their lives on the line, on a daily basis to earn a living.
According to the United Nations, journalism is considered one of the most dangerous professions in the world. The UN reports that with more than 500 killings during the last 10 years, journalism is not a career for the fainthearted, and is, therefore, one of the most dangerous jobs in the world.
Here in Kenya, the situation is not so different. Journalists in Kenya have been facing intimidation, harassment, assault and even killed while in the line of duty, this in addition to the loss of jobs that most of them are facing.
Investigative journalism, particularly, is one of the hardest and most dangerous professions because journalists put their lives at risk by interviewing dangerous people and even uncovering things that should remain hidden.
Being a Kenya Defense Forces officer in Kenya is no easy task. Your life is constantly in danger given the current state of the country being at war with the Al Shabab.
The KDF was deployed in Somalia in the year 2011 under the “Linda Nchi” operation with the reasons that Kenya’s national security was threatened by the Somalia-based Islamist militant group, al-Shabaab, that had carried out a number of cross-border raids into Kenya during the months ahead of the operation. Since then, numerous attacks on KDF officers have been reported.
In January 2016, an attack on KDF’s camp in El Adde, Somalia, claimed the lives of over 100 Kenyan military men and women after a suicide bomber drove an explosives-laden vehicle into the camp.
Later on, on January 2017, Kenyan Defense Force (KDF) military installation in the Somalian village of Kulbiyow was attacked by militants from the al-Qaeda affiliated group al-Shabaab. In an official statement, Kenyan official estimates placed KDF casualties at only nine and al-Shabaab dead at over 70. However, the terrorist group claims to have killed more than the stated number.
These are the men in blue who are often criticized and condemned for use of excessive force and sometimes unfairly targeted unknown to the public that it ranks as another one of the most dangerous jobs one could ever do.
Being a police officer regardless of the rank is one of the riskiest jobs in the world. Policemen swear to protect the nation even if it means with their own lives. Police officers are targeted by threats of all kinds and nature, be it by thugs or terror attacks.
The Kapedo massacre of 2014 that left 21 police officers dead is a perfect example of what it means to be a police officer in Kenya. The murder of the officers is made even more tragic by the fact that most of the slain officers were young, and perhaps looking forward to long careers in the police force.
Another harrowing incident was the Baragoi massacre that saw 42 officers killed in Suguta Valley in November 2012. Similarly, most of those who died in the massacre were young and inexperienced, with some having graduated only two months before the incident.
Imagine being paid to act as a “human shield” to the president, a Governor, an MP or someone important. In such a case, you have to be prepared for the worst.
Such dignitaries face a lot of threats and if anything is to happen, bodyguards have to protect these people with their lives, even if it means jumping in front of a bullet for them.
In a case in 2011 where Kabete MP George Muchai was killed, his two bodyguards and drivers were not spared, having all been shot dead in cold blood Kenyatta Avenue-Uhuru Highway roundabout in Nairobi.
In 2012, the bodyguard to Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi also died in the line of duty trying to safeguard his boss when members of a suspected outlaw group stormed a rally that he and other leaders were attending in Mtwapa.
Being a teacher is very risky depending on the working location. They are often targeted by criminals or terrorists when working in regions facing serious security lapses.
Teachers working in North Eastern Kenya face the most risk due to Al Shabab activities in the area.
In February 2018, three teachers were killed in an extremist attack in Wajir county, when gunmen attacked Qarsa primary school and targeted non-Muslim teachers.
In another attack in October 2018, two Mandera teachers were killed at dawn in an Al Shabab raid. The terrorists stormed Arabia Boys Secondary School at about 1 am and hurled an explosive device at the teachers’ quarters. Two teachers, who were in the house, perished.
There have also been reports on students attacking teachers and, in the process, killing them. In August 2018, three students were arrested for allegedly hacking their high school teacher to death in Nyakach, Kisumu County.
Early this year, two Nakuru students were arrested over their teacher’s murder after he confiscated their mobile phone. The physics teacher at Hopewell High School was attacked while on his way to his house located within the compound.