The five breeds Kenyans must avoid in tommorows nominations and the March 2013 ballot
["Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember?"(Mark 8:18). ... This people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart...]
Kenya is positioning herself for a circus in the waiting; on Thursday 17th January, 2013 dominant parties nominate their favourites to run for elective positions in the March 3rd 2013 general elections. I can’t wait as well, the stakes have are high, and a string of fallouts is looming amongst party losers. Anyway, I have been accused many times before on this blog of being overly pessimistic, paranoid, suspicious and reactionary. I hope this sits well with the sceptics: this is my 20 pence counsel to Kenyans as they go to the nominations and into the epic March 2013 ballot.
If there is any miracle that ever happened to Kenya, it must be the promulgation of the new constitution on August 27th 2010. The perks are already too evident and the prospects appetising. For me I seek to warn Kenyans, to live up to their true selves, not to squander this one. Kenyans, when you go to the ballot forget all else and pay utmost attention to the GOVERNOR. There lies the paradise that new katiba promises the ordinary Kenyan. There lies what symbolises the break from the old order.
What governors do:
The governor has a greater effect on the daily lives of ordinary citizens than the president, the senator, or Member of Parliament ever would. Governors across the globe lead county governments or states with executive and legislative authority. They set policy (have influence on national policy decisions as well), recommend/enact legislations, prepare and administer budgets and determine how revenues are spent at the county/state level. They regulate business and are generally responsible for the delivery of crucial goods and services like health and safety, transport and planning that profoundly affect the overall well being of their citizens. They are mandated and accountable to the public on the promotion of economic development, wealth creation, social development, environmental management, and cultural preservation. They are directly responsible for policing the performance of the county/state.
"... What do businesses need to grow and flourish and take on new people? They need their employees to be able to afford to live within a reasonable commuting distance from their place of work. A job creating economy [therefore] needs good HOUSING and good TRANSPORT" (London mayor - Boris Johnson).
What your governor must do:
However away from the theories of the roles and responsibilities of the governor; the overarching duty of the typical successful governor must be wealth creation and equitable redistribution of public resources. It boils down to attracting investment, promoting new businesses and creating jobs. Clearly, out of the fear of losing power the political establishment in Kenya already skewed the system to favour the central government and denied the counties substantial resource allocation to actualise the aspirations of citizens. As it is less than 25% of total government revenue will reach the devolved structures to be engaged in direct delivery of public goods. The successful governor must thus be the one:
· That will generate surplus resources; look beyond government, to marshal inward investment (both foreign and domestic), make the environment (in terms of energy, infrastructure, security and housing) suitable for new business to set up and thrive and with the sanity to avoid destroying jobs.
· With the aptitude to ring fence resources for development while still maintaining prudent public finance management policies and ideals.
· That will muster the skill and capacity to exploit the existing resources to the advantage of the county while guaranteeing their sustainability.
· Who will enhance the competitiveness of the county’s urban areas, step up place marketing and attract new populations to do business and to increase the market.
· With the instinct, connections and skill to organize indabas and investment fairs to sell the county as the ultimate destinations for business, tourism, education and the many other unique attributes it might posses.
While that must sound as the typical economic approach to management of the county, it must happen on the background of a political framework with ideals that most often run parallel and invariably antagonistic to the business model. As provided for in Article 176 –
‘There shall be a county government for each county consisting of a county assembly [the legislative arm] and a county executive’. What this means then is that the governor must be the individual with the ability to tactfully marry the politics and the economics of the county. Surely, that demands a mix of a technocrat with experience and skill in public administration, management, and governance; business acumen; a knack of politics, and wide connections borne out of outward linkages abroad as well as in other counties domestically.
If that doesn’t help you decide on the most suitable. Here is a list of the characters you must avoid like plague. Experience has taught us that these breeds of persons are capable and indeed will squander the fortunes of a county no matter how endowed. Do not elect/nominate:
I - The tattered ex-MP
This is the typical hangovered Member of Parliament who has squandered five years of exclusive authority, resources and political will now only looking to save a dying political life, struggling to keep relevant in Kenya’s hyper-dynamic political-economic trajectory. Let his/her record speak for itself, the mediocrity he/she has served you over the past five years will sure not metamorphosise overnight into the brilliant entity that the onerous county leadership demands. Do not be fooled, the typical one just won’t however sweet he/she talks.
II – The loud mouth devious know it all attorney
No offence to the legal profession. But with all due respect, it is the crop of lawyers that have hijacked the Kenyan legislative system that bare the greatest responsibility for the dark times this country has endured. If they have not cleverly mutilated every little bit of well thought legislations, they have arrogantly manipulated the legal system to award themselves outrageous undeserving perks. They have taken over parliament and treated us to perennial side shows and confounding legal jargon that effectively distracted us from the serious issues that affect the prosperity of our nation. And most shameful is the way they have presided over the polarisation of our once peaceful united nation. Woe unto to you positioning yourself to rebrand another loser like that into a governor.
III – The tired retired civil servant
There are those who have diligently served Kenya, those who deserve and must be accorded the respect they have so earned. In whatever state department they have worked, they have done their duty to this nation. However, it is my opinion that they must do the honourable thing: let the country move on and enjoy the leadership of other equally capable, young and apt citizens. While some of them have been very dynamic and could manage the demands of the current system, there is also the lot (the larger constituency) that has clearly been overtaken by events, the ones only keen on keeping themselves busy, or gratifying the lost authority/power that came with higher echelon civil service jobs.
IV – The ass-licking party leadership darling
This is personal and I must let you know that these are so far the greatest enemies of our democracy and the thieves of our destiny and prosperity. These are folks who boot lick, the ‘yes men’ of the Kenyan political partydom. They are cannon fodder for the ‘big man’, they heckle when needed, provide quorum when it is due. They are political sycophants that will do anything to satisfy their patron because that’s the price they pay for political favours yonder! These characters will scare you with direct nominations, party assurances and support from party bigwigs. History has it they most often get their way; they end up in leadership out of deceit and political arm twisting of the electorate. Open your eyes, these folks have no agenda for their constituents but you will be told by party bigwigs that they have been loyal, provided funding, championed the course blah blah ...
V – The Ill-schooled ‘man of the people’
He/she is charismatic, commands a great following, is down to earth and probably has a feel and great understanding of the needs and aspirations of their constituents. The trouble with some of them is their capacity (intellectually and/or practically). If they are not utterly out of touch with logic and commonsense, their schooling is deficient and invariably hamstrings their ability to think constructively and layout coherent plausible plans that can be appreciated by others (development partners, investors or academia). If I were you, their popularity notwithstanding, I would shy away from this breed as well.
“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” - Matthew 11:15