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