JOHN BURUGU: AUTHOR AND ASPIRING POLITICIAN
JOHN BURUGU, CANDIDATE LARI CONSTITUENCY / After the promulgation of the Constitution in 2010, Burugu published a book Understanding Devolution and Governance in Kenya. Two years later, he published a second edition whose contents were approved by the Ken
JOHN BURUGU remembers the days when he served as Uhuru Kenyatta’s Personal Assistant with nostalgia.
It was 16 years ago when Uhuru was a Nominated MP and Minister for Local Governments in Kanu government.
“It was the first time I got a peek into real politics,” says the former District Officer and author. He was at one time rumoured to be a possible head of public service.
“The opportunity introduced me into politics high politics even though I never served Uhuru for long.”
Having been seconded to Uhuru’s cabinet office in 2001, Burugu was forced to part ways with the future president when Uhuru was elected Gatundu MP in 2002 and became the Leader of Official Opposition in 2003.
Even though he returned to his official post in the civil service, the brief sojourn in Uhuru’s office had left him with a political itch that he is yet to scratch.
He probably was the only other politician from Kiambu who contested a parliamentary seat on Kanu in 2007, besides Uhuru.
Whereas Uhuru won in Gatundu South, Burugu lost in Lari largely because of the strong PNU wave that hit the area at that time.
Burugu has set his eyes on the same seat come 2017 after sitting out in 2013.
After the promulgation of the Constitution in 2010, Burugu published a book Understanding Devolution and Governance in Kenya.
Two years later, he published a second edition whose contents were approved by the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) for training in devolution matters.
He says devolution is one of the best things to have happened to the modern Kenyan state.
“It’s a consequence of a long time centralised decision making,” he says, discounting claims that devolution could have been a mistake.
“Of course it is going through some teething problems, but all these challenges can be resolved.”
In his estimation, one of the lingering challenges devolution faces is in its hurried implementation and the failure by the national government to surrender some powers related to devolved functions.
“We are rushing things that is why the we have challenges in the implementation.”
He cites the rapidity with which the Transitional Authority’s mandate expired even before they could take an inventory of the public assets and liabilities between the two levels of the two governments.
He also defends governors for their role in devolution saying in general terms most of them have had an impact and performed well.
“IN 2013 I SUPPORTED JAMES NYORO BECAUSE I BELIEVED HE HAD THE BEST VISION FOR KIAMBU COUNTY. HE DID NOT MAKE IT. THIS TIME I AM READY TO WORK WITH ANYONE”