Sunday, April 07, 2013

Recall them.

Is it wrong to state without fear that my heart is in Ukambani? I should hope not. Though I'm a long-time resident of the Green City in the Sun, it is the affairs of my motherland that keep me sane. One day, and that day may come sooner that we all think, I shall retreat to the home of my ancestors, raise a family and crops, not necessarily in that order. But my heart is distressed at the antics of one of my governors. Dr Alfred Mutua is obviously an intelligent man (we will ignore the hiatus as the government spokesman) and also, obviously, a consummate politician. Going toe-to-toe with the terrifying Wavinya Ndeti and Mutua Katuku to emerge victorious is a victory worth celebrating. But when he joins with the likes of William Kabogo and Ken Lusaka to demand "better treatment because we are governors," doubts about the governor's intentions for the people of Machakos begin to emerge.

Mwai Kibaki was quite right to tell off the governors assembled in Naivasha. The issues that they enumerated in their ill-advised memo to the President reveal men (and it is all men, remember?) whose idea of service delivery is setting up their (mostly) fat asses in palatial homes, offices and swanky cars, while the people they "lead" live in squalid misery. Back to my beloved Ukambani. Makueni has the rather brainy Kivutha Kibwana (we will forget the little hiatus as Mwai Kibaki's "advisor" on coalition affairs) while Kitui has the equally brainy Julius Malombe. Thank God the two are professors; it must explain why they are not getting all worked up over flags and offices the way "Dr" Mutua is.

Received wisdom has it that Machakos is set to be the most important county in Ukambani because of its proximity to Nairobi and Dr Mutua's ties to the Mt Kenya region. Allow me to offer an alternative: Kitui. Kitui sits on large reserves of coal, iron and limestone. The coal, if it is exploited intelligently, and not in the manner that Kiraitu Murungi's ministry had intended, is set to be the backbone of an electricity revolution in Ukambani, climate change deals notwithstanding. The limestone, if properly exploited, is set to establish Kitui as a rival to Machakos as a producer of cement. The get my drift, don't you?

Both Kivutha Kibwana and Julius Malombe demonstrate that governance is not about the flash-in-the-pan moments when one gets notoriety, the kind that Dr Mutua is attracting with his bandwagoning over the flags and whatnots of the past week. Governance is about establishing systems that will help you meet the challenges the your people face. This is the path that Dr Evans Kidero, who does not behave like "Dr" Mutua at all, has chosen to tread. (Now that we know he has the strength of character to sow panic in the corruption cartels in the City, we wait to see how long he lasts before things become kawaida.)

Dr Kidero, when he was informed that the PM's office would not be available to him as Nairobi's governor, announced that he would work even out of his car if necessary; it is not the trappings of power that make one honourable but the performance of his duty even in the face of challenges. Dr Mutua and the rest of cabal that thinks they should be treated like kings need to learn this lesson before we are motivated to seek their recall. In California, an actor unseated a sitting governor in recall election; this is something the new governors should keep in mind when going about their duties.

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