BY ERIC NG’ENO
With their last press conference, the Opposition has confirmed my worst fears; that many of our leaders do not understand the Constitution. They may claim to have read it – even to read it daily at bedtime- but the understanding they display is worrying.
The Constitution is not the manifesto of make-believe desiderata. It is a real document governing real situations in a real country. One of these realities – an immutable reality of our political and legal order- is devolution. Executive and legislative power has been devolved to 47 counties, together with the resources required to make devolution meaningful to Wanjiku and Ewoi, Kanze and Wafula, Mueni and Otieno.
The Jubilee Alliance has done everything it can with the resources available, to make devolution happen. It has enabled the county governments begin executing all the 14 functions set out in Part 2 of the Fourth Schedule of the Constitution without delay.
Part 1 of that Schedule vests the national government with 35 functions. The President is the Head of State and Government, and exercises the Executive authority of the Republic in accordance with the principle of service to the people of Kenya, and for their well-being and benefit. The President directs and coordinates the functions of ministries and government departments. Because of this immense responsibility, the Constitution mandates the President under Article 132 (4) to establish any office in the public service in accordance with the recommendation of the Public Service Commission.
He has a mandate, and is accountable for that mandate. Towards this end, the President has moved to perfect the Executive by making it rational, effective, professional and accountable within constitutional parameters. Our tragedy as a country is that we have an Opposition which only just over a year ago, were part of Government. Their performance as components of a governing coalition was dodgy at best. To be honest, a number of the problems Kenyans grapple with today are a direct result of their ‘leadership’.
This is the reality that CORD and its fan base wishes to deny. Under the pretext of containing an ‘imperial presidency’ they insist that the presidency and national Executive can only operate in State/Harambee houses, leaving over 562,000 square miles of Kenya unattended, except through the 14 functions of county governments.
National Government means exactly that: Government services throughout the Republic. The President has moved to coordinate government vertically and ensure that all parts of Kenya receive Government services wherever they are, without having to travel to Nairobi. Anyone resisting this wishes to deny Kenyans important government services, effectively disenfranchising all citizens.
The argument by the Opposition is therefore absurd. Are they protecting devolution from Executive encroachment, or are they denying wananchi effective Government service? Taken to its logical extent, the Opposition actually are using devolution as a mere excuse to undermine the national Executive.