MAJIMBO IS THE TALK OF THE VILLAGE AND CITY IN 21ST CENTURY KENYA
By John Cheruiyot
I watched keenly a televised debate on Majimbo system of government where Majimboists faced their opponents head on. Both ODM and PNU politicians and academics took the bull by the horns.Prof.Anangwe led the ODM while Prof.Munene the PNU.The studio audience were an array of Kenyans from all the regions and communities of Kenya. The buzz word Majimbo was defined by each group.
Prof.Munene defined Majimbo as an ethnic cleansing government where locals will rise up against the immigrant communities throughout Kenya. On the other hand Prof.Anangwe defined Majimbo as the devolution of power, authority and resources from central government to regions, counties and communities to be fully involved in their regional and local affairs. The audience clapped to acknowledge the Majimbo as defined by ODM panelists.Prof. Munene used an archaic dictionary of anti-Majimbo propaganda and was jeered.
Prof.Munene met a very hostile audience who accused him for misleading the nation by his concept of Majimbo. The youthful crowd was irritated by PNU panelists who chose to lie about a system that has made great global economies prosper.
For the first time Kenyans were reminded that the Bomas Draft which was rubbished by the Kibaki government and substituted with Waki Draft defined Majimbo and devolution appropriately.
I have met and interacted with the elite and hoi polloi from Gema communities and all of them define Majimbo the PNU way. Majimbo according to Bomas Draft guarantees freedom of movement throughout the nation. It further protects private ownership throughout the nation.Prof. Munene praised current centralized system that through CDF the country has advanced. The ODM brigade faulted him that CDF cannot handle regional and district projects like regional infrastructure. CDF for example is not controlled by the local people. They do not hire or fire the managers that handle the fund.
The ODM observed that centralized system of government has failed to spur regional and local development throughout the country. Those regions outside Nairobi and Central are totally marginalized. This explains why Nairobi and Central have lower poverty index and those regions further from the centre are reeling in poverty. For 44 years the centralized system of government has totally failed to empower regions and make each region prosper economically and politically. Regions like North Eastern, Rift Valley, Nyanza, Western and Coast endowed with massive resources have remained backward for 44 years under the centralized dispensation. In fact Nyanza a region that receives massive rainfall and fish rich land is the least developed in the land followed by North Eastern the home of wild life and beef industry.
What is emerging is the fact that communities and regions that benefited the most through current system are up in arms against Majimbo system to safe guard their dominance and hegemonic status in the land.Gikiyu, Embu and Meru regions have been favored in the last 44 years under the centralized system in place. They thus see Majimbo as a disruption of their status quo.They fear that should devolution come other areas and communities will challenge their current economic prosperity.
The other aspect that has emerged is the outright blindness by the prosperous communities and regions to the plight of the marginalized regions.
What is interesting is the fact that professors like Munene and others from Gema regions are blind to the sheer marginalization of other regions for as long as their communities and regions are okay.
This notion is true throughout the world and throughout history that the elite and the people who are favored by unjust systems are the die hard supporters of evil systems. During colonial era the white minority enjoyed unfair advantage and preferential treatment while Africans suffered every kind of discrimination and marginalization. The white settlers, their academics and the clergy justified the inhuman system in the name of civilized race and Christianized nation.
The white missionaries and the white priests treated the Africans the way the white colonial settlers did. The centralized system of government was first invented by British colonialists. They used it to control the Africans and their resources. They used the system to exploit and oppress the people of African descent. The oppressed Africans during colonial era had no say. The provincial administration imposed the will and the whims of the masters in London via Nairobi based white governor. Provincial and district commissioners were white and so was the governor who was appointed by the department of colonies in London.
When Kenya was granted independence in 1963 the colonial provincial administration was left intact. The president continued to appoint DCs, PCs, permanent secretaries and the cabinet on the whims and the will of his cohorts and tribesmen. The colonial system thus for 44 years as reduced Kenya into a prison of poverty and hopelessness.
The Ghai Commission which authored Bomas Draft using the aspirations and ideals from all the 42 communities of Kenya scrapped the provincial administration and in its place gave regions and communities regional autonomy. It gave four levels of governments from the division, the district, the region and at national level. This was what Kenyans wanted. Kenyans in the 21st century are the most informed lot. The emergence of FM radio stations mostly in local dialects has transformed Kenya into a dynamic society. The role of state controlled electronic media has lost grip on the masses. The freedom of expression that was ushered into the nation in the early 1990s is today ushering into the nation another system that is a twin to multiparty: Majimbo.
The PNU basically driven by the elite from one region championing selfish ethnic agenda are facing the inevitable defeat as they met during the referendum. Kenyans outside Mt.Kenya are highly informed. The KAMATUSA of Rift Valley is 100% for Majimbo and so are other communities and regions, namely Nyanza, Western, North Eastern, Coast and Nairobi. They do not support Raila per se they are pursuing their interests through devolution and decentralization. The poor throughout the country are up in arms against the oppressive and impoverishing centralized system based in Nairobi.
The fact that PNU is led and controlled by Mt.Kenya elite speaks volumes. The fact that the churches and parties led by Gema elite are pro-PNU and anti-Majimbo system of government has divided the nation into two: Mt.Kenya versus Kenya.Raila and ODM are expected to get massive support through out the nation. This will mark the second landslide win by an opposition party.
Kenyans are fed with centralized system of government that has promoted intra-ethnic colonialism, tribalism, corruption and poverty. Kenya today is the third most unequal nation on earth. Kenya is a nation of 33 million super poor and less than a million superrich. If the current systems is not replaced Kenya will enter the pre-French revolution stage. A stage where the clergy, the merchantry and the royalty conspired to oppress and exploit the masses. A stage where a popular revolution swept away all the oppressive systems in place. It marked the end of monarch and oppressive papacy. Kenyans expect less than a revolution during this year’s general election.
The combine force of the poor in their millions is no match to the affluent minority riding on public loot and grabbed public resources.
This general election will be won or lost on the issue of devolution and autonomy of regions and communities. This general election is set to change forever the way Kenya has been run for decades. The superrich will face the super poor at the ballot.
The more the people understand the true meaning of Majimbo the more they will resolve to vote for devolution and regional autonomy.PNU now backed by political mafia since independence is an interesting group to defeat. The Kiambu, the Rift Valley and Mt.Kenya mafias are no doubt set to face their waterloo on December 27th.