Let’s forget elections and build a better Kenya

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BY JOSHUA KUTUNY

It is not in doubt or debatable that notwithstanding the results of the March 4 General Election, campaigns for political offices in Kenya are things of the past and life has to continue in an atmosphere of tranquility.

In any contest, there are winners and losers but the world never ends with an election. Contestants of diverse political persuasions and ideologies are sons and daughters of this country under one Constitution, one leader and one flag.

In view of the foregoing, it is indeed time to reflect on the problems and challenges ahead and prescribe workable and acceptable solutions without hindrance. The long and short of the story is to say the least that dreams for a better Kenya lie and rest with Kenyans, their diverse political beliefs notwithstanding.

All of us are aware that delivery of public services is a right not a privilege and without doubt Kenyan taxpayers are entitled to quality service delivery from the government. Within three months after taking office, the Government has been alive to the need to fulfill most of its pledges.

For instance, the pledge to offer free maternity service to expectant mothers in all public health facilities has turned from a dream to a reality. Blameless and fragile leaders of tomorrow delivered in public hospitals no longer risk being held hostage for non payment of fees by their economically challenged parents.

The promise to provide solar powered laptops to standard one pupils in all public schools come January 2014 is another milestone development. The delivery of the equipment to school children irrespective of their station in life promises to leapfrog the country from the analog to the digital age.

Every Kenyan without regard to their political persuasion stands to benefit from the Uwezo Fund as well as the Women Enterprise Fund pledges. These are but a few examples of what good governance entails in a democracy, and the commitment of the leadership to addressing the challenges and problems in society cannot be overstated.

These services that are or will be delivered without bias across the 47 Counties including places where the Jubilee coalition failed to get votes are manifestations of unity in diversity under a new governance structure.

Already, devolution of political power and resources address inherent inequalities as well as current and past development imbalances in the country.
Allocation of 32 percent of collected national revenue against the 15 percent stipulated in the Constitution to the counties is a clear demonstration of the National Government’s commitment to the success of devolution. In this regard, the government will continue to support and finance development projects in the devolved units regardless of political leanings.

However, each county can only bite as much as it can chew. To ensure we devolve development and not ineptitude, County Governments require demonstrating capacity to efficiently utilize allocations devolved to them. That includes well organized structures and most importantly properly prioritized budgets.

To demand more funds without demonstrating the proper use of what is already in the County treasuries can only serve to derail development. While CDF with an allocation of only 2.5 percent of collected revenue made a difference in constituencies, county governments already have the 32 percent allocation, the recently approved 2.5 percent CDF plus the revenue collected within the county, bringing the total to about 40 percent of all national revenue, yet it doesn’t seem to be enough.

Having clearly analysed all political party manifestos, it is not hard to conclude that Kenya is home to a wealth of ideas that could move the country to the next level. The government acknowledges that these documents have valuable input for Kenyans that should not be swept under the carpet and therefore undertakes to study and possibly incorporate those ideas in the development agenda.

That said, any new government in office has its fair share of challenges and the Jubilee Coalition Government is no exception. It is against this backdrop that the Administration welcomes constructive criticism from the opposition and civil society organisations whose input helps it identify areas of weakness.

The government is also alive to the grievances of public sector workers and has set in motion mechanisms to consult and dialogue with the trade union leaders on conditions of service and living wages. Nonetheless, we as Kenyans must also appreciate that problems which lasted years will take time to settle. Pushing a three month old government to honour pledges that were entered into decades ago can only serve to cripple aspirations and dreams of a nation.

The Government has and will continue to pursue an open door policy for dialogue with political friends and foes alike .

(Joshua Kutuny is the Director of Political Affairs, Office of the President. [email protected])

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  • Duncan Muchina

    A well analytically and poignant piece of writing that tells it as it is. What have you done with the “little” you have received before demanding for more? Why should you be trusted? I think Joshua has hit the point home eloquently.

    • Joshua Ngaatu

      Mheshimiwa is right on the general context but quite open and vague on putting systems and procedures which would be sustainable and not open to manipulation by our ethnicised political framework. Since time immemorial(independence) there has have been consistent, factual and fictitious representation that the ruling “communities” in our democratic system and previous autocratic system have been taking it all, in fact milking from the others. This has brought dissent, hate and polarisation among ethnic communities. Others who are hardworking are branded as thieves, others who are sidelined using favourism system are branded as lazy e.t.c. The 15% county development funds and 2.5% CDF funds =totaling to almost 17.5% is itself a lot and i beleive the systems of county goverments will work in 10-15 years with other counties lagging and others taking a lead. However, the provision of the allocation should not be left at the will of political process rather enshrined in constitution to avoid manipulation. Jubilee has done great of allocation of almost 30% (of previous budgetaty allocation) but lets make the process constitutionalized rather than become a campaign promise. Due to our ethnic nature deep devolution will assist in de-ethnicising our socio-politics. 40% allocation through constitution provision will show that whoever gets into power, equity would be preserved and the best man with the best idea would get a chance to rule and no one can polarise as resources would be distributed equally. The little given should be their right not a favour, there will be those who would destroy and benefit but with time they would all catch up. This should be the same to natural resources, i.e goverment takes 50-60% counties (as they represent local communities, take 40% e.t.c).

      • Duncan Muchina

        Summarizing your lengthy post above gives me no option but to conclude. You are an advocate of 40%. Just like RAO is calling for. Well, why? You never said what you did with 15%!

        • Joshua Ngaatu

          Am calling for soberness and factual not hogwash. Rao calling for Parliamentary System is naive and deft as it does not adress anything rather than personalities. However, 45% for governors will go a long way to even deethnicise and cleanse our centralisation system which makes others cringe. The taxation is done to all Kenyans and a system is suggested to address problems in the society. Its not a prerogative of the state to decide rather the katiba and people. 15% is embeded in Katiba and can do something for development, but at 15% the central goverment will still wield 85% which can be well utilised or poorly managed just like counties and can be used politically. I also beleive 15% is not enough though a relatively good start, but to ensure its effective somewhere between 25-40% will be ideal, a county will be given around 6-7 billion, that will be a good economic start. Another key point, policies are developed to adress economic and social equilibrium. Our negative ethnicity which derails us is due to resources competition through power maintenance..at 15% the coalition of tribes of any party will tend to maximise or revenge using the advantage. I am from coast for instance and this has been a negative perception, which may be fictional. But at 40%+ a society ills or let down wont be blamed on others and further open for fair competitive..There will be blips and ups but with good measures it can succeed. The fear of resources exploitation, dominance e.t.c would quietly fade..and Kirinyaga, Kilifi, Siaya, Meru counties will surely up the tempo in development..this adresses social-political and economic aspects

        • Kwessi Pratt

          40% goes to who any way, not the people? After devolving central government would be running very little show indeed. Whats all the money for? Fund allocations should be put in the constitution to stop tribalists from deciding who gets what. And thats not asking for too much!!!!

  • Margaret

    I disagree: We cannot forget the malpractices of the general election ; We
    can forgive and move on building Kenya but forgetting – It shall never
    happen! Did you forget the Mau clashes? The Kaya bombo killings in
    Coast? The Kiambaa church deaths in Rift-Valley?…..No, you cannot forget ….but yet – you can forgive!

    • Qwani

      Now Margaret, if there were malpractices at the recently concluded general elections and you have the evidence I would suggest you submit it to the relevant authorities. When the author says we forget, he is referring to the recent elections not the killings during all past elections in Kenya. Let us keep things in context when commenting.

      • Kwessi Pratt

        What purpose would that evidence serve? Our Supreme Court endorsed a fraud and that was the end of it. Thats why calls for change are coming up so soon. Its actually record-breaking turn of events! However, injusice has never ever stood a chance in the history of man. And with ICC hovering overhead, you should expect alot of earth-shaking happenings in not too distant future.

        • Qwani

          Well, the evidence will lead us straight to the perpertrators who can then be prosecuted. It is not too late, don’t give up hope. You have mentioned calls for change. Kindly point out exactly what those calls for changes are about. That way, I and the rest of the public can have an idea of your line of reasoning. As for the ICC cases, I will use the words of a wise man who made reference to the just concluded elections: ” It (the elections) will come and it will end.”

          • Kwessi Pratt

            You are getting utopian pal. You can neither punish a whole leadership nor is it possible. Kenyans never exercised their collective will in last elections. What happened was that 2007 fiasco was upgraded through mischievious incidences as stated above here. In such scenario where a whole out-going government perfects thievery to select successor, how would you undo that without resorting to referendum or worse? ICC is a tsunami continuously dismissed a mere little twister. 8 Months down the line I hope you will prove me wrong. Thus, hidding behind empty statements wont help at all. God is on the side of people. It wont take long before that hard reality dawns on us.

          • Qwani

            Clearly your deductions are neither based on facts nor evidence but rather on what politicians say. What changes are these that you refer to as “record breaking turn of events”? Can you list them for us or will you wait for the politicians to list them for you? Once again, as for the ICC, don’t tie your destiny with the outcome of those cases. Focus on your life. Those cases will come, they will end and life will continue. Lastly, don’t go wishing ill upon other people or even on this country in the misguided hope that your “prophesy” may be realised. Rather pray that we have peace and liberty and that plenty be found within our borders.

          • Kwessi Pratt

            Dont tell me your understanding is too low? 5 months after elections and guys are asking for referendum is not record-breaking? Am not wishing anybody bad but facts are facts. If the guy ignored wise counsel not to run for office before he sorted out the ICC issue, what pride is there in having a whole deputy president being tried in foreign land? Am concerned because he demeaned us and the country. His wisdom on this one is no more than hot air. Kenyans dont deserve this monumental shame!

  • Margaret,
    We cannot be held hostage by our history. “Kiambaa” did happen. People were burnt in the house of the Lord. A tragic and horrific act.What we have to do is learn from it and move on. otherwise it is going to consume us alive. Justice is overrated, forgiveness is not. The justice that you seek is not going to bring those who died back. Nor is it going to change the fact that this was a horrific act.If black South Africans can forgive whites after all the pain they put them through Our tribes should be able to forgive but not forget. The president and his deputy are leading the way on reconciliation. I suggest the rest of us follow suit. Peace starts with you and me.

    • Kwessi Pratt

      No reconciliation is going on, only merrymaking! Actually behaving as if other Kenayns never mattered!!!!

  • Kwessi Pratt

    Justifying your salary is not a bad idea. However, Kenyans cant forget fraud in hurry just because those who visited the fraud wantit that way. There are three instances that cant be disputed about those elections.
    1) Mungiki letters and airport sagas were schemes to fool Kenyans.
    2) Tyrany numbers were practically fictitious and meant to reduce Kenyans to defeatists.
    3) 111s, 333s, 444s, and 888s in election results were actually the tyrany numbers and nothing else.
    So

  • arap chumba

    i see the paper writing scheme scandal is up and running. Having known former mheshimiwa this type of writing is clear he did not write this paper. maybe hired someone. hayo tu.

  • EDDY

    Ati Joshua Kutuny is the director of political affairs, office of the president! Surely, how and when was this appointment done? Isn’t it a public office?

  • Jp

    How can you talk of building kenya yet the Kalenjin and Kikuyu’ s think they are Kenya, be realistic in order to build Kenya all tribes should be involved,

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