Wednesday, February 26, 2014

We'll screw it up our way.

The battle between the National Government in the odious guise of Parliament and the devolved government in the unsophisticated form of several governors is much more than about "transparency" or "accountability." Senators have fired the first salvo by taking an overly muscular interest in the management of finances by the devolved level of government, laying the blame squarely at the  feet of governors, many of whom are inept and hapless before the rapid-fire hotshot interrogators of the Senate such as Bonny Khalwale and Kipchumba Murkomen.

Kenyans have lived through the fifty-year experiment of centralised government; to a man, they revile it to its core. The presence of the hated provincial administration in our midst in the twenty-first century is proof that the old way of governing is still being clung to by those who should know better. The presence of a mheshimiwa in Nairobi telling us how our money will be spent is a hangover from the days when the central government was baba na mama. The televised gargoyle-like spectre of Kithure Kindiki, another voluble senator, that Parliament would work towards the erosion of the powers of the devolved government is proof that even the most eruditely intelligent who have tasted a bit of power tend to lose their marbles in the marbled corridors of Parliament Building in Nairobi.

This blogger comes from the semi-arid badlands of Makueni. To our eternal shame, famine is a constant companion, stalking our county like a colossus and laying waste to families and livelihoods. By the grace of God alone, our county is spared the banditry and violent mayhem that seems to define parts of Northern Kenya, the Capital and the chang'aa-drenched highlands of central Kenya. What has ensured that famine destroys this blogger's county has always been the heavy-handed way that the central serikali mishandled everything. The co-operative farming movement was snuffed out at its infancy. Agricultural extension services were notable by their glaring absence. Then Mzee jomo and Baba Moi decided to impose kingmakers amongst our people who could barely read or write, but whose loyalty to the central government bordered on the idolatrous.

As a consequence, roads were not built, schools remained mere dreams, hospitals were rumoured to exists in Wote or Masaku , and hunger stalked our people like the Angel of Death. In 2010, while our national leaders bickered unseemingly as they had been trained over the previous 47 years by the central government, we determined for ourselves that devolution was our saviour. In Ukambani we chose madaktari: Julius Malombe in Kitui, Kivutha Kibwana in Makueni and Alfred Mutua in Masaku. Whether they are honest or not, they are our choices. It is not for the loudmouths in Nairobi to tell us whether they are doing their jobs well or not. It is not up to the old-fashioned central government to tell us that Mutua wa Masaku is a thief; like my taxi driver says, Hata kama ameiba, kazi ametufanyia ambayo serikali haikufanya!

How the senate can dare to question Malombe wa Kitui about mashilingi we do not understand? Is it because they want to remind him that just like Wambora of Embu, they will snap their fingers and all his bold initiatives for the benefit of the peoples of Kitui from the coal, limestone and coal will go Poof! When we elected the three, and the county assemblies, we did so consciously. We knew that deep down the central government would never let us go, but we are determined to shake of the unremittingly dead hand of the central government and do things our way. It is our turn to determine what we think is best for us. Bonny Khalwale, Kithure Kindiki and Kipchumba Murkomen better go peddle their book theories elsewhere. They should take Johnstone Muthama with them too. We want to screw things up our way.

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