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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Why Tom Mboya Would Have Supported Devolution

For those who know anything about the original Majimbo debate of the 1960s in the run up to independence, this headline would strike them immediately as being a rather curious one.

This is because Tom Mboya was a strong advocate against Majimboism as spelt out in the Lancaster House independence constitution and did everything in his power to frustrate it.

Still I urge you to stay with me and I will prove to you why Tom would have strongly supported devolution as per the Bomas draft was he alive today.

For starters had he survived the assassination attempt he would have known that the very reason why his life was on the line was because centralizing all the power in one powerful executive office had produced some very predictable results. Thos with the power had abused it and wanted to retain the status quo. Tom dies because he stood in the way.

One of the things that devolution (Kusambaza kwa mamlaka) as per the bomas draft, will do is to dramatically reduce some of the powers of the presidency (a point most debators on both sides are yet to realize). This dramatically reduces the chances of a kitchen cabinet milling around the centre of power and even if they still do, the impact of such an inner cabinet will be greatly dimished. This is because resources will already be in the districts and ther will be no need for people to attempt to get close to the president to get their share, like he was doing them a favor.

If you read the words in the national anthem (which Tom played a very key role in creating) you will understand what he stood for. Basically justice for all the people of Kenya and equality for all. In fact shortly before he died, he had already confessed in his writings that too much concentration of power in one office was proving to be harmful to the young Nation of Kenya.

It is also important that we state here clearly that the Majimbo Tom fought against in the Independence constitution was very different from the devolved system proposed in the Bomas draft. The latter emphasizes national unity based on the strength of diversity in the nation. Then you also need to consider the politics of the time. KADU, the party which had successfully fronted for Majimboism was financed and supported mostly by the local white settler community whose motives were obvious. They felt that it would be easier to bribe and control small regional “governments” because many of them did not want to leave and were frightened of the Kanu government which was viewed as radical.

The other clear historical facts that many are falsifying is the claim that even that Majimbo failed. IT did NOT. It was frustrated and finances were cut off from the regions as part of this Kanu scheme.

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