• Leaders who should have turned around the region's fortunes and made use of the devolved resources to transform the restive notch have turned out to be merchants of poverty.
• The leaders from this region have mostly offered their electorate hardship, bad governance and insecurity.
The 2010 Constitution was a turning point in the country’s history as it reconfigured balance of power by devolving it and responsibilities from the national government to 47 elected county governments. It also recalibrated the powers between the executive and the people.
Under the new devolved system of governance, we have witnessed progressive democratization and expansion of the political space especially for the historically marginalized communities.
People power became the norm rather than the exception.
Since the advent of the devolved units, instead of reaping the fruits of devolution, majority of the voiceless people of the North Eastern counties of Mandera, Wajir and Garissa have endured hardship brewed by leaders who cannot make head or tail of governance.
Devolution was intended at creating opportunities for the people of Northern Kenya, but it seems to be hurting them as opposed to the intended.
The leaders from this region have mostly offered their electorate hardship, bad governance and insecurity.
Leaders who should have turned around the region's fortunes and made use of the devolved resources to transform the restive notch have turned out to be merchants of poverty! What a pity.
The hardship in North Eastern did not start in 2010. It started way back but it has in fact been made more visible than it was previous by the administrators of the devolution in the region.
Folks who were elected to serve have focused on amassing wealth for themselves.
Their missions are to make their lives better not the lives of those who entrusted them to bring about change.
North Eastern counties are some of the worst managed in Kenya, forsaken by successive regimes since independence - and now being devoured by corrupt and incompetent governors and their cohorts.
Their challenges have consistently remained the same, despite the National government sending billions of Shillings since the start of devolution.
These counties have been among top most corrupt counties in reports released by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) in successive years but still least is done to bring the leaders responsible to book.
The most recent report by EACC that was tabled before the Senate's Justice and Legal Affairs Committee (JLAC) in September, Marsabit county was leading with 90 cases, followed by Samburu with 87, Wajir 32 and Mandera with 22 active cases.
While the numbers are out there for everyone to see, the inaction is sickening to the local who continue to fall victims of corrupt leaders every election cycle.
Recently, former firebrand Senator of Mandera and Political Economist Billow Kerrow was quoted saying that his county was “looted like there is no tomorrow”. The case is the same for Wajir and Garissa counties.
My question remains, how much evidence does the EACC need to act on these individuals when the Auditor General reports chronicle these lootings?
It is time North Eastern counties take the bold step of working with leaders who will prioritize their issues and their wellbeing. A lot is at stake in terms of education, health, security, jobs and development among other critical issues.
The writer is a socio-political commentator.