Majimbo may cause tensions between tribes
PNU are right when they suggest that devolution may cause tensions in certain parts of the country. The community that will be worst hit will be the Kikuyu who have invested heavily in almost every corner of the country which is a good thing. In some areas there has been resentment towards them and the re-introduction of Majimboism may affect a few of them. However it is NOT true that the problem will be rampant all over the country. And besides the constitution clearly protects every Kenyan wherever in the country they may wish to settle.
Will weaken the Central government
It is also true that the system will weaken the Central government in many ways including its’ ability to collect revenue. In all likelihood this will be the initial effect, however over time the Central government should be able to re-position itself and find a new role that will restore power and strength to it as the central overall governing authority. One can also argue that to strengthen the government in the medium term and long term devolution is vital so as to fully exploit the massive untapped potential we have in the country.
Certain areas in the country will be bankrupt before they start
It is also true that while certain regions will be very strong and prosperous, others will not only be weak but totally unviable. Take most of the vast North Eastern as an example. Prospects of raising revenue there are gloomy at best. The population is too low and there is not much in terms of viable commercial activity that can take place there. However this is not entirely a disadvantage because it will present the devolved government in that area with a challenge that they have to find a solution to.
If we can abandon the 60s thinking for a minute, the North Eastern province has vast potential to do many things. For instance lots of solar energy can be generated from the province to be sold to the national grid (energy is a major problem worldwide and we are going into a serious deficit in the next few years). Wind generators for the same purpose can also do extremely well in the province. Even agriculture can be successfully practiced (the soil and climate there is not very different from what there is in Israel today and that nation produces a huge amount of agricultural produce and most of it is exported). Without a Majimbo system North Eastern will never change but with devolution it stands a fighting chance of changing it’s fortunes. Just look at what the Americans did with Las Vegas (also a desert).
P.S. Here is yet another idea for revenue generation in the North Eastern province. It is clear that our cities are drowning in garbage (our politicians will only take note when people start drowning in it), the wide open spaces of the North eastern province are ideal for the operations of a waste disposal company that will concentrate on recycling as much of the waste as possible for environmental reasons. There is also plenty of space for landfills and no huge population. Enforcing city bylaws will be enough to guarantee such a company plenty of business from the 3 major cities in the country and many other towns.
P.S. 2 The traditional income generating activities in the province can also be enhanced. For example goat rearing and in some areas cows and other livestock as well. The ideal place to create beef-related factories. Also if it is successful in becoming a major energy generation area can attract IT and Internet-related businesses which are on the increase worldwide.
The only way to ensure equitable distribution of wealth
Apart from ensuring equitable distribution of wealth countrywide, Majimboism is the best chance Kenya has of narrowing the gap between the rich and poor because many more opportunities will be created at location and even village level.
Poverty is something that has to be fought and this is much more urgent than many in the political class seem to realize. Because poverty can be directly linked to so many other serious problems in our society like crime and HIV Aids.
Will dramatically speed up development
There is no doubt that devolution will dramatically speed up development countrywide.
Will dramatically reduce corruption
A Majimbo system will help fight corruption. When ordering supplies for the whole country, it is much easier to play all sorts of games and overprice things. However when each region is responsible for its’ own supplies it will dramatically reduce and ultimately eliminate corruption because each region will be able to clearly see exactly what is going on on the ground and vote accordingly in the next elections. With the current structure of the country it will be much easier to prosecute corrupt persons in the district level than it has been to deal with the national heavyweights.
In the long term has a better chance of dealing with tribalism
In the long term, a majimbo system is ironically the best chance the country has of dealing with tribalism. What will happen is that there will be more interdependence between regions and a greater appreciation of each other over time.
Will solve rural to urban migration problem
Devolution will create a lot of jobs at the village and location level as well as small business opportunities and will therefore help reverse the current massive ruiral to urban migration that is of great concern and worsens many other problems the country is facing in its’ major cities and towns.
There seems to be a very deliberate effort to confuse ordinary Kenyans about Majimboism and to create fear. However majimboism as spelt out in the Bomas draft presents great opportunities for Kenya. We need to shun old ideas and old leaders who are bankrupt of new ideas and embrace the future. We cannot embrace that future by looking at the past and the way things have been done in the past.