Tuesday’s terror attack and NEP Kenya’s Census
A month before the terror attack on Riverside’s DUSIT2 hotel that claimed the lives of more than 20 people and caused the physical and psychological injuries of thousands, there was the toxic debate of who among Kenyans 44 communities is more populous ignited by the windbag member of parliament for Gatundu South constituency. Moses Kuria has not actually started this debate, he just stocked its fire and as he knows best fanned the flames of re-centralizing resources long after Kenyans fought for devolution of the country’s much misused national cake. Mr Kuria long before his sham resignation, was thought to be the eyes and the ears of the powers that be. Why misappropriation of devolved resources is ongoing in devolved units is a different kettle of fish and a debate for another day but certainly not an excuse for diehard centralists to call for taking back devolution’s small gains. The census debate was brought to a close by the statistical facts of Hon Billow Kerrow; former Mandera County senator and shadow finance minister or so we thought. It will soon become clear why Billow Kerrow did not contest in the 2017 elections or why the Pastoralist party of Kenya (PPK) he was one of the founding architects died a silent death. This is in the mix of the murky Kenya politics but will give you a hint as to how Kenya is ruled by small unelected oligarchs. This too is a point I will leave for you to ponder. I think it is not too much to mention that we now have a Prime Minister in place. This is part of the larger debate and just brings the referendum question closer. The powers that be may be telling naysayers to put up or shut up. I digress.
I am more interested in the Tuesday’s terror attack that claimed our loved ones lives in their prime and what it may have to do with next month’s census. The census, since Northern Kenya’s Emergency laws were lifted (at least on paper) and the recording of actual figures were made subject to explicit provision to the country’s hitherto new constitution particularly in the era of limping devolution, has become a matter of immense political interests to the small elite ruling our country. He who pays the piper calls the tune. In order to control populations, the elites claim you have to control their purse and in the Kenya we live today and indeed the world over, the only ‘virtue’ is money. Show me the money and I will show you someone’s morals. The noise of ‘’Punguza mizigo’’ by avowed centralists like Kuria is an insincere rhetoric meant to recentralise the resources and powers the 2010 constitution let free. The Kenyan Oligarchs will do anything and everything to bring back power and resources under their control. This includes rehabilitating the only formidable force outside their control, a man who will in turn do anything and everything to become President. As much as it is good to bring people together, it is always politically prudent to be cautious of initiatives such as the building bridges. The man who fought so hard for devolution may be, in few years, the same man to fight to snatch it from the jaws of its true protagonists. Show me a selfless man in politics and I will show you a saint.
The Tuesday terror attack was more likely political than it was ideological. We do not know what will follow but those mandated to guide the integrity of the census exercise, albeit too late, must be more than alert. For a starter the same discredited IEBC kit will be used for the census. How credible will this be? How will people believe in the exercise? Has the tragic terror attack anything to do with the census (we urge the Police and DPP to follow this lead). Is there a plot to disenfranchise people from the counting exercise? If this comes through, how much will it affect the constitutional rights of the people?
Kenya must realize the increasing importance of the Northern buffer zone and the region’s geopolitics that almost always depends on the horn of Africa. It is a relationship worth cultivating for the good of the region.
Has the government learned lessons? Yes so far but it is actually too early to tell. Rogue politicians must be reined in and stopped from destroying our country from within. Ethnic jingoism and xenophobic attacks have never been known to build. Greed is good was yesterday’s disaster capitalists’ mantra and today’s economic emancipation tomb. It is worth learning lessons not to repeat the electoral violence of 2008 or the political upheavals of 2017.
Guled is a socio-political commentator. He can be reached at Guled09@gmail.com