DEVOLUTION

Regional blocs a dream come true

Peaceful co-existence and development are elusive dreams in far-flung parts of Kenya.

In Summary
  • Structured blocs headed by governors-general or regional premiers with cabinet status could be the ideal link between the units and the central government.
  • In the face of attempts to micromanage the counties from Nairobi, public intervention is urgent and cannot be deferred beyond the BBI final report.

The diversity of the newly formed regional economic blocs could be a blessing in disguise in a country that has endured injustices and bitter ethnic rivalry for decades. The structured integration of counties could not have come at a better time as the country seeks solutions to recurrent problems—political, economic and social.

Peaceful co-existence and development are elusive dreams in far-flung parts of Kenya. Cross-border hostilities are commonplace and development non-existent in the one-time closed frontier districts classified as hardship areas. Development was a luxury the government could ill-afford in such areas, as well as the homes of government critics.

Like-minded governors determined to address some of the historical challenges could no longer wait for solutions to man-made problems. Collective objectives amongst other things are fast and efficient services, fostering cross-border peace and developing neglected regions.

 

Structured blocs headed by governors-general or regional premiers with cabinet status could be the ideal link between the units and the central government. In the face of attempts to micromanage the counties from Nairobi, public intervention is urgent and cannot be deferred to a later date beyond the final report of the Building Bridges Advisory Task Force.

De-ethnicised administrative boundaries of the regional blocs in the formative stages should be drawn, legitimised and structured to achieve objectives that stand out as unfulfilled promises of successive central governments in independent Kenya that inherited the colonial outfit known as the provincial administration.

There is a looming fear of sabotage by remnants of those who helped kill regional governments anchored in the Independence constitution. The future of devolution is bleak but can still be salvaged if the political class swallows its pride and stops chest-thumping before the downtrodden population. Give peace a chance and condemn retrogressive forces.

Without an iota of reforms, this particular outfit was until recently in charge of elections and maintaining law and order. Not much has changed with regard to this outfit under the 2010 Constitution.   

Before the onset of devolution, some of the county headquarters were sleepy centres bearing visible scars of marginalisation. With yesteryear ghosts lurking actively in the background in the Ministry of Devolution, the administration of the counties has not been a walk in the park, to say the least.

Gluttonous lynch mobs have been enlisted to downplay the achievements of the devolved units in the seven years of their existence. To add insult to injury, some county assembly members burn the midnight oil drafting impeachment motions against governors.

There is a looming fear of sabotage by remnants of those who helped kill regional governments anchored in the Independence constitution. The future of devolution is bleak but can still be salvaged if the political class swallows its pride and stops chest-thumping before the downtrodden population. Give peace a chance and condemn retrogressive forces.

If sacrifices, painful and unpalatable decisions are to be made to make a fragmented Kenya peaceful and prosperous, so be it. 

 

Cacophony notwithstanding, the Building Bridges Initiative has to rise above petty political and parochial interests and prove sceptics wrong on the widely held belief that solutions to local problems have to come from strangers. The opportunity is rife to transform Kenya into a better society free of hatred and suspicion.