Calls for se­ces­sion have no ba­sis and will only take us back­wards

Daily Nation (Kenya) - - LETTERS -

Of late, there have been many calls for the se­ces­sion of cer­tain parts of the coun­try. This was trig­gered by the Au­gust 8 elec­tions, where re­gions pur­ported to have voted for the op­po­si­tion made calls to se­cede from the rest who voted for Ju­bilee.

Among the griev­ances put for­ward were ex­clu­sion, eco­nomic marginal­i­sa­tion, eth­nic pro­fil­ing and gov­ern­ment bru­tal­ity vis­ited upon in­hab­i­tants of the Nyanza re­gion af­ter the polls. Last week, Coast gov­er­nors echoed the calls for se­ces­sion. They cited marginal­i­sa­tion by the na­tional gov­ern­ment and pledged to use con­sti­tu­tional means to ad­vance their goals.

On marginal­i­sa­tion, the nar­ra­tive ped­dled by pro­po­nents of se­ces­sion is not only fal­la­cious but mis­lead­ing. No sin­gle com­mu­nity can claim to have been de­lib­er­ately marginalised or ex­cluded, par­tic­u­larly af­ter en­act­ment of the cur­rent Con­sti­tu­tion.

Some may re­fer to Ses­sional Paper No.10 of 1965, which pro­posed de­vel­op­ment based on pro­duc­tion, leav­ing out swathes of ar­eas in North­ern Kenya and parts of East­ern Kenya. But there was a paradigm shift from 2003 when ad­min­is­tra­tive dis­tricts were in­creased to 210.

Al­though crit­i­cised as a ploy to bribe vot­ers, the el­e­va­tion of di­vi­sions into dis­tricts ac­cel­er­ated de­vel­op­ment in far flung ru­ral ar­eas. This was fur­ther ac­cen­tu­ated by the 2010 Con­sti­tu­tion which de­volved gover­nance and es­tab­lished the Equal­i­sa­tion Fund.

What we have wit­nessed in the coun­ties is the cre­ation of fief­doms by feu­dal lords. Cor­rup­tion has been de­volved. Any gov­er­nor worth his salt should not dare give the ex­cuse of marginal­i­sa­tion or ex­clu­sion to cover for his non-per­for­mance.

How­ever, the or­di­nary Kenyan re­mains ex­cluded from gover­nance and is marginalised in re­source al­lo­ca­tion. There is a very wide gulf be­tween the rich and the poor. Marginal­i­sa­tion and ex­clu­sion cuts across tribes.

The de­pri­va­tion in Nairobi’s Ju­bilee strong­hold of Koro­go­cho is the same as that in Nasa’s Kib­era. If there is a gen­uine case for se­ces­sion it should be ad­vanced by the 40 per­cent job­less Kenyans, the 40 mil­lion who don’t have med­i­cal cover and the 20 mil­lion who re­li­giously pay taxes so that a few elite can en­joy the trap­pings of power.

The nar­ra­tive that there are some favoured re­gions must be treated with the con­tempt it de­serves. To de­bunk this myth, Baringo Cen­tral con­stituency was rep­re­sented by Moi for 39 years, 24 of them as pres­i­dent, yet it re­mains one of the poor­est places in the world. You can also take a trip to the ru­ral ar­eas in Gatundu South.

Let lead­ers not lie to us that se­ces­sion is about us, it’s about them. Let them show us what they have done with the bil­lions they have ap­pro­pri­ated.

KUNGU WANJIRU, Nairobi

FILE | NA­TION

Coast lead­ers led by Mom­basa Gov­er­nor Has­san Joho (left) when they called for se­ces­sion at the Gov­er­nor’s Of­fice in Mom­basa on Novem­ber 3, 2018.

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