Is devolution the Northern Curse or its Too Long of A Teething Problem
The Constitution is binding to all and being the document that is relied upon to give the nation guidance in all matters of interest to everyone, implementation of all its articles is what gives life to it. It’s impossible for us to enjoy the constitution if legislatures and especially the parliament remain coy in letting the new dispensation guide all decisions that are to be made in this Country. It’s now close to ten years since its promulgation and several arms of Government are focused in trampling on it and open disregard to the constitution still marks the way we do things. Devolution was the most important step we took as a Country and we were hoping to spearhead development in every County by devolving funds and sharing the national cake but it turned out to be a man eat man society as county bosses continued with their eating spree. It became very evident that we had just unleashed monsters in every county who had no any other agenda but to suffocate resources meant to benefit the poor.
Devolution in Northern Kenya proved to be a curse and embezzlement of funds meant to benefit the poor was the order of the day and corruption seemed to thrive right within our corridors. A region that had suffered 50years of neglect and marginalization from every single Government of the day had just been given a lifeline but goons in the name of leaders opted to dine on the graves of its own people. MCAs who are earning peanuts started driving V8s, buying properties, accumulating wealth and turning their backs on the very people that placed them into the seats. A monster had been unleashed and it was the worst kind of an animal as it was destined to leave nothing lying idle and innocent people watched as funds meant to benefit the poor was squandered in resorts all in the name of meetings. Scandals after scandals were revealed as millions of money went into the pockets of few individuals as others languished in poverty and people cried that they should have been left with the National Government.
Northern Kenya received more than 100Billion Kenyan Shillings from the National Government in the last 5years and over 10Billion being grants from other development partners. These Billions of money has done nothing for the region as perennial problems like lack of water, bad roads and lack good health facilities continues to scourge the people. The former Isiolo County Governor was mentioned in several corruption scandals by the EACC as millions of money was even found hidden in his palatial home in Isiolo. The wage bill in his administration was obnoxious owing to the fact that he decided to employ so many ghost workers in the name of, ‘It’s our time to eat.’ In 5years with a budget in excess of 15Billion Godan Doyo’s only legacy was installation of 30 street light lamps in town. The health sector died under his watch and people could not even get access to pain killers in Isiolo General Hospital as the man and his folks siphoned from the County coffers. Tenders were dished out to only few individuals who could not be pushed to do a good job as they swallowed money and forgot their contracts.
Ukur Yattani failed Marsabit people terribly and his reign killed a region that had very high prospects following the completion of the Isiolo-Moyale road. Ukur only prioritized his clan in awarding of tenders and contracts and he directed the County resources on one side and forgot the other. EACC filed numerous corruption scandals against him and millions of money went into his personal accounts and the people continued to languish in poverty. Ali Roba the current Governor of Mandera County also seemed oblivious of development and he had no plan for providing any meaningful development to his people as he continued rewarding his cronies. The health sector succumbed under him and no single development has been witnessed in the whole County and the 5years of devolution just went down the drains.
Different Monkeys but same forests
Just like that Northern Kenya lost its 5years of devolution and going by the current stats we are set to suffer another 5years of tragedy if we don’t act soon. Isiolo County voted a man that had been absent for 15years and counted on him to turn things around but that seems like a mirage as Isiolo County is still dragging itself. Kuti has turned out to be a Face book Governor appearing to be spearheading round table meetings with nothing tangible on the ground. If only he could be launching development projects in Isiolo rather than enjoying sumptuous meals in Nairobi then Isiolo would be headed for greater heights. The 100days promises he gave openly on his inauguration has just been washed away and now 8months into office Kuti has done nothing but meet delegations left and right without any meaningful outcome.
Mandera County boss Cpt. Ali Roba has spent all his energy battling in court at the expense of the residents of Mandera. Heading into his second term in office Ali Roba has fulfilled zero of his 2013 manifesto and there is no expectation that he will even focus on development knowing it is his last term in office. Northern Kenya was in the wrong hands and it might have just changed the years but there is little for people to anticipate moving forward and that is the sad reality. The County bosses have a lot do considering the fact that we are already 50years behind when it comes to development and we have already lost the first 5years of devolution we cannot afford to lose this. There is need for more focus to be placed in prioritizing service delivery and improving people’s lives by all means possible and that calls for complete overhaul of our system and elimination of corruption by all means possible.