The New Constitution might have brought to us a lot of wrongs, top being the unsustainable wage bill thanks to increased civil servants both at the National and County levels, the needless commissions that are doing work Parliament and Ministries can do, and the added numbers of MPs.
In my personal opinion, the National Assembly should be abolished as the Senate is capable of enacting the required legislation to Govern the country and at the same time oversee the performance of the various counties. When out of 349 MPs less than 20 sit to pass an important bill like the Media Bill, why should we pay close to 400 million every month to people we practically and realistically do not need?
Other ills in the New Constitution have been pointed but we must acknowledge progressive articles in the New Constitution. As all agree, the creation of counties is the best blessing this country has given her people, ever. To a very large extent, development in hitherto neglected places like in Eastern, Coast, Western and North Eastern regions now solely depends on the people elected as Governors.
Provision of basic services and infrastructures necessary for steering the counties to be capable of sustaining basic human needs is a function of the Governors and their respective offices supported by the County Assemblies. It is now the work of Governors to ensure that efficiency exists in service delivery, collection of revenues, and allocation of those revenues to provide social amenities to his/her people. This argument then means that at county level, the people should no longer have a reason to point accusing fingers to the head of the country and as such tribalism should start fading.
Of the 47 Governors that were elected into office on March 4 2013, I truly do not know what they are doing. Those who have made headlines including the Governor of Bungoma, Kisumu, Siaya, Kiambu and of late Garissa have come into the limelight all for the wrong reasons. If it is not about allocation of tens of millions for catering services or spending thousands of shillings per day to reside in big hotels and buying tens of Prados, then it is the accusation that development projects are allocated to particular clans. But I do not fringe when I hear such news. The beauty still exist in that at the end of five years, the electorates that elected development phobic Governors shall still be in 1963 where the central Government left them at as those who elected development conscious Governors enjoy Utopia.
No, I do not want to be sarcastic in this post. What I mean by Utopia is that some of the promises made by Governors like Cyprian Awiti and Alfred Mutua indeed sound like Utopia. But as I argued out in the post MachaCity: MachaCity: Ambitious Machakos projects, white elephant in the making, a Governor with big dreams as Mutua’s deserves a chance to prove how far he can implement the promises. Apparently not everyone is willing to give these Governors, namely Dr. Alfred Mutua, Dr. Evans Kidero, Hon. Hassan Joho and Hon. Cyprian Awiti, the benefit of the doubt. One such man is the Editor of The Weekend Star, Mr. Wycliffe Muga.
In his article, Do Governors Know What They’re Doing? Mr. Muga argues that the Governors were elected to provide “better (and affordable) services in education, health, water supply and modern sanitation” but not to promise “a new city within their county”. Mr. Mugo seem to be of the opinion that these performing Governors that have been able to attract investors to vouch for the big projects do not have running programmes geared at supporting human basic amenities in education, health, water supply and modern sanitation. What I would like to tell Mr. Muga is that Governor Mutua has already bought tractors that are already helping farmers plough their fields. Dr. Mutua has also put in place mechanism for supporting these farmers in planting, caring, and harvesting of their produce. There is a program in Machakos for Poultry for exports, better education and improved health services. I would also like to bring to the attention of Mr. Muga that Governor Awiti not only have the grand plan of an AgriCity, but he has also attracted investors in Poultry, Potato, and Other Farming projects.
On Poultry Farming, the Governor updated:
ABOUT THE PROJECT
A local poultry improvement support project is being rolled out to support mini hatcheries development in the wards. The income generation initiative will support the installation, initial stocking and capacity building for those qualifying.
The Potato farming has attracted a US investor who will set up a factory for processing potatoes grown all over the county given that Potato is one of the stable foods in HomaBay that has been neglected lately due to economic viability. The factory will make potato farming viable again. Talking about economic viability of Agricultural projects in HomaBay, Governor Awiti is already rolling out programs to export Omena and Sweet Potato (apparently that Prince Charles and his wife Camilla Parker ate at Brilliant Restaurant in 2007) to UK. He has rolled out several health programs, solar power programs, and many others in the county. My illiterate grandmother is already living a better life, and she knows it, thanks to the many programs that the Governor has rolled out since he was elected just seven months ago.
The farming, education, and health projects running in Mombasa, Machakos and HomaBay are largely targetted at Women and Youth Groups. This means that the programmes are not only support the most common mwananchi but are also planned in such a way that startups and SMEs including chamas are geared to immensely benefit not so long from now.
Then Mr. Muga questions the logic behind AgriCity. He asks, “Where else in the world is there an “AgriCity” which cost about $7.0 billion to create? What does it produce, and if these products are basically agricultural, then where does the “city” part of it come in”. I would like to bring to the attention of Mr. Muga that there is a website that exists solely to define what an AgriCity is:
- A quality or state of balanced, sustainable, connected urban life
- A Washington DC based company committed to building healthier, more sustainable, more productive cities through innovative agricultural, manufacturing, and clean-energy ventures.
There is no need to go into details on HomaBay’s AgriCity as the information is available via simple Google search. But I just want to state quickly that HomaBay’s plan to provide urbanized housing and business premises, manufacturing plants, parks, and tourism joints in an Agricultural Centered County qualifies to be an AgriCity.
Back to Mutua’s development projects that Mr. Muga and co seem to question, I just want to say that some of the projects that are already underway like creation of a state of the art auditorium, a state of the art garden and a state of the art stadium will generate revenue to Machakos that the county has never seen since independence. Today NairobiWire provided photos showing the initial progress of Machakos’ Kenyatta Stadium. Accompanying the photos is this short description:
One month ago, Machakos’ Kenyatta Stadium was all sand. In just 4 weeks, red soil was spread on the pitch, grass planted, and now the grass is grown. Metal stands for the spectators are coming up well and the locker rooms for the players are almost complete. This is in readiness for the CECAFA tournament, set to begin later this month. You got to love what Alfred Mutua has done here.
It is very clear to me that the Governors who have the big promises are the very Governors that have several other important but critical projects underway aimed at empowering their women, youth and persons with disabilities. Projects that have been set to run at ward levels in these counties largely target SMEs and startups in general.
There could be challenges in implementing the Utopia promises but as long as sustainable SME/Startup geared projects are running to alliviate poverty in our counties and country in general, we should develop an attitude of supporting the grand projects that are well though-out and practicable.