- The one-man one-shilling narrative that implies that every citizen should receive equal funding from the government regardless of where they live.
- However, the narrative overlooks the historical context and ongoing issues of marginalisation that have left many regions underdeveloped.
In the wake of the now collapsed Building Bridges Initiative, there was heightened demand by a section of leaders that the country needed to allocate resources based on the population of certain geographical locations.
The same argument found itself into the BBI document that also seemed to favour the narrative and proposed some regions be allocated more parliamentary representation based solely on population. Thank God that did not materialise!
Lately though, the debate seem to have been revived with some politicians, especially from the Mt Kenya region, shouting hoarse on the need for national government to be shared on a one-man-one-shilling philosophy.
But this policy is not fair and should not be allowed to go through whatever the noise.
The one-man one-shilling narrative is a simplistic slogan that implies that every citizen should receive equal funding from the government regardless of where they live or their economic status. However, the narrative overlooks the historical context and ongoing issues of marginalisation that have left many regions underdeveloped.
In this article, I will argue against the narrative and support the need for affirmative action to promote development in underdeveloped areas of Kenya.
Firstly, the idea ignores the historical context of marginalisation in Kenya. During the colonial era, the country's resources were exploited for the benefit of the British Empire, leaving many areas underdeveloped and impoverished.
After independence, successive governments continued to neglect marginalised regions, resulting in a significant development gap between urban and rural areas. This gap has widened over time due to uneven distribution of resources and inadequate infrastructure.
For instance, in northern Kenya, many people lack access to basic services such as water, healthcare and education. This region has been marginalised for decades, with little investment in infrastructure and services.
As a result, the people there have suffered from poverty, malnutrition and disease. The one-man-one-shilling narrative, therefore, fails to recognise the need for targeted investment to address the specific needs of marginalised regions such as northern Kenya.
Secondly, private enterprises primarily invest in major towns and cities, leaving remote areas solely reliant on government support. While private investment is crucial for economic growth, it often favours urban areas where there is a higher return on investment.
This often leaves many rural areas without access to critical infrastructure, services and job opportunities. Therefore, the government must step in to support these areas and promote economic development through targeted investments.
Moreover, the one-man-one-shilling narrative assumes that every citizen has equal needs and resources. However, this assumption is incorrect. Different regions and communities have varying needs, and some require more resources than others.
For example, communities living in arid and semi-arid areas face unique challenges such as water scarcity, frequent droughts and limited access to healthcare. Providing equal funding to these regions would not address their specific needs, and they would still lag behind in development.
Additionally, the narrative ignores the fact that development is a complex and multidimensional process. It requires not only financial resources, but also social and political investments.
Political stability, good governance, and peace are, for example, essential for economic growth and development. These factors are not uniform across all regions and communities and require targeted investments to ensure their success.
Therefore, deliberate affirmative action is necessary to address the specific needs of underdeveloped regions and promote equitable development across Kenya.
Affirmative action policies such as preferential hiring, targeted investments, and infrastructure development in marginalised regions can help reduce the development gap and promote inclusive economic growth.
In conclusion, it is the government's responsibility to ensure that every citizen has access to basic services and opportunities for economic growth, regardless of their location or economic status.