Kenya is at crossroads. At the very core is the decision to move on – whatever that means or to take a step back and deal decisively with emerging issues.
Politicians would want us believe otherwise but the important decision here can’t be made until we ask whether we need a Kenya for Kenyans or a Kenya for the elite.
Uganda’s opposition leader Mr. Besigye captures this powerfully when he described the deteriorating relationship among member countries within the East Africa Community (EAC). He said, the integration process will remain a song until it becomes about East African people and not regimes.
To put his words into context; Kenya is now having a subtle diplomatic spat with neighboring Tanzania after the latter auctioned off 1300 cattle that had wandered across the border.
Our country has lodged a formal protest over the same, and of course the torching of over 6000 day -old chicks only made things worse. Tanzania claimed the chicks could spread bird flu.
In the same week, Ugandan Police Officers arrested 22 Kenyans from Migingo Island over fishing dispute and the government’s response according to the Inspector General (IG) is that, he can’t protect people violating Uganda’s territorial integrity.
This captures aptly the crossroad that Kenya finds itself in. On one hand, a country where there are Kenyans who feel they belong and the government will be outraged when their livestock is auctioned if it wanders off the border.
On the other hand is another group of Kenyans who don’t feel they belong because the government will do nothing to bring back their people arrested by a foreign government because – your guess is as good as mine.
Never mind the territorial integrity IG Boinett mentions has no bearing because there is no publicly available record confirming the dispute was ever resolved. Not even a committee of experts report.
The country is in such a bad state that a number of counties allied to the opposition are now considering secession as way of sorting out these challenges. But is this the solution?
Are the secession calls justified if Governors in these counties can’t show what they have done with the billions allocated for County development?
To paraphrase the Holy Scriptures, if you’re not faithful with the little (billions) how can you be faithful with much? (An entire country’s money-assuming secession is even remotely successful).
Wasn’t the formation of the 47 Counties about devolving resources and therefore keeping us from this madness that makes presidential elections a do or die affair? Has devolution failed in this regard or are there actors undermining it?
And while we’re on undermining devolution, what does it mean when the President “chairs a task force on regeneration of Nairobi” the project is reportedly set to spend billions of shillings. One therefore wonders, can the national government select counties to partner with outside the usual channels?
This is not just an idle banter. There have been serious attempts before to remove Nairobi from the list of counties and make it part of government through a Bill that failed and was accused of undermining devolution. In light of these, the true intention of this partnership must be revealed.
The truth is as a nation, we are in a crisis and no one should pretend otherwise. But the crisis is not just about the elite controlling our society, No! The crisis is also about our collective love for lies.
Dishonesty that’s birthed by false prejudice. Dishonesty in accepting a flawed process because we think it favors us. Dishonesty in entertaining secession calls when we can’t press our leaders to account for the billions we entrusted them with.
If we want to, we can salvage this country. Let’s forget about NASA and Jubilee for a moment and ask ourselves what country we want to bequeath our children.