Pesa Mashinani Quest Not Justified

It’s slightly over 4 years since the promulgation of our current constitution. The Committee of Experts led by the then chairman Nzamba Gitonga and politicians led by former president Mwai Kibaki advocated for the passing of the current constitution. These group of individuals believed that the solution and answers to most of Kenya’s problems lies within the pages of our constitution and they promised if it passes Kenya will be a land flowing with “milk and honey.” As Kenyans we were subjected to a referendum on 4th of August 2010. The constitution sailed through with 67% approval rating. The 33% who were against it were criticized harshly. They were called anti-reformers and others were nick-named Pharaoh’s who still wanted us to remain in Egypt despite our effort to move to the promised land of a devolved system of government. For most of the electorate, the devolved system of government symbolized the biblical Promised Land.

Sadly the “milk and honey” that is flowing within our county governments only flows to the governors and those around him. We the electorates have not felt the impact and benefits of the county governments with the exception of the people of Machakos County. Thus this brings me to the question, is the referendum call by the governors justified? For most people whom I have asked this question they claim that it is justified. Their argument is that if we question and ask the governors whom we elected what they have done with the little allocation of funds given to them, then we as the electorates need to also pose the same question to the National Government and precisely the President whom we also elected to account for the tax payers money at the National level.

This argument is credible and we will get to the National Government, but before we start to eat this “bull” (National government) I suggest we start by first eating the “tail” which represents the County governments. The 67% of the electorate excluding myself who belonged to the 33% of those who were against the passing of the constitution because I strongly believed the Committee of Experts gave us a raw deal voted with the intention and expectation of bringing the power back to the grassroots. Meaning that they will be able to have a say on decision affecting the counties, they will be able to reduce the bureaucracy that used to be there before, also implement projects that they really think are more important to them. But has this been the case?

What most of these County Governments have done with the little allocation of funds led by the Governors is to build very expensive mansions for the Governors, buy limousines for them and their county executives, make unnecessary trips abroad, go for retreats with the Members of County Assemblies and to some extent use the same funds to bribe the MCA’s so as not to impeach most of the non-performing Governors. Thus the Governors advocating for Pesa – Mashinani remind me of the Gibeonites Deception (Joshua 9:1-26). The Gibeonites deceived the Israelites by saying they come from a far region and all they want is peace and to acknowledge the God of the Israelites. They did this by dressing in rugged clothes, torn sandals, use of old wine-skins and dry moldy bread. This deception was to avoid the Israelites from driving them away from their land. The Israelites made an oath not to drive them away without knowing that they have been deceived and that the Gibeonites actually lived nearby. When the Israelites noticed that they have been deceived they had no option but to let the Gibeonites continue to live on their land because they had already made an oath to them. As a result of this deception the Gibeonites were cursed and they ended up being woodcutters and water-carriers for the rest of their lives.

This is what we need to do to the governors. They have deceived us by claiming that the referendum is only to strengthen the role of Senate by creating a nexus between senate and county governments and assemblies, increase division of revenue to 45%, advocate for counties to have their own law gazettement framework, MCAs to have similar privileges as MP’s, formation of loans and grants council and form a successor to CIC as a gatekeeper of Laws – KLRC….., Unfortunately all what the governors want is to have more money to control because in Kenyan politics, the more funds you have at your disposal the more powerful you are. Thus the call for a referendum by the Governors is nothing but a deception that we as the electorate should not allow.
Article by
Dennis Mwaniki
Political Scientist


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