By Dikembe Disembe
They oppose referendum because one thing really scares them – and this thing is in both CORD and Pesa Mashinani – the control of Kenya’s mineral and natural wealth.
The Council of Governors, for instance, demand a clarification of the role of counties in the management of environment, forestry, land and natural resources.
CORD, and Okoa Kenya, on the other hand, boldly puts the case for a clearly stipulated benefits for communities in natural resources use and management. It is even bolder on Land.
At issue here is an observation poetically made last year in a high school play by Butere Girls (a play which was banned) that it is possible for a dominating community to import its greedy practices such as runaway theft of public money and utter exclusion of others while functioning on the mineral resources being extracted far away and deep in other communities territorial area.
And don’t tell me that bullshit about lack of borders within a country. In fact, I dare say, as counties take shape, these borders will become as visible as river Chania.
Take Mau for instance, already, four county governments already lay claim to it. That’s because unknown to many people, Mau isn’t just an ecosystem but a multi-billion shilling industry that should be able to pull out thousands living around it, not in it, out of their current squalor.
With a world wary of a changing climate, billions of shillings come in the country to cater for the environment which have made Nairobi politicians, racketeers, wheeler dealers and ‘environmentalists’ wealthy without sweating.
Some people are Mau Forest millionaires yet they have never been to Mau.
It is shameful that people who live around such colossus resources as Mau can only watch as Nairobi takes everything away.
It happened for us too. When Nairobi turned its back to Nyanza, or realised it couldn’t auction it easily, it watched the other way as water hyacinth ate away one of the biggest freshwater lakes on earth.
The government, for its cheap and petty politics of looking at Nyanza only as an ‘opposition backyard’, or, its newer dishwater, ‘Odinga Caliphate’ (currently being popularised by the Canadian-Kenyan Miguna Miguna) did nothing to save L. Victoria and because the lake was, and still is, a national government resource, the local community couldn’t, and, even with devolution money, still can’t do much.
The same can be said of that ‘piece of rock’ called Migingo Island – a rich fish reserve most locals believe Kibaki auctioned to Museveni for supporting him as ‘duly elected’ in 2007. Again, people lost their livelihoods.
The same can be said of roads and bridges.
In Lamu, a Nairobi businessman and an international mineral company have signed a 25 year deal to mine its coal. The Lamu people, with a governor ‘forgiven’, will wait to enjoy the ‘corporate social responsibility’ of the ‘companies and people’ of Nairobi. That’s how ugly it is.
Because I interact with CORD leadership, not necessarily the politicians, I can tell you that there is so much in this Okoa Kenya campaign that will effectively end the patronage, tribalism, theft and pettiness of Nairobi.
The pettiness of Nairobi proceeds from the idiotic assumption that Isaac Rutto should account for Sh. 184 million; when it, Nairobi, cannot account for Sh. 15 billion.
I believe in a united Kenya. One nation. But I believe in the prosperity of Migori and Homa Bay, Kisumu and Siaya, Kisii and Nyamira more. I mean, I believe in nyanza more, I believe in Western Kenya more, I believe in counties more!
I reject these choreographed powerlessness of people in their own communities. That to equip a school in Nyanza, some mandarin at Nairobi’s ministry of Education must accept that the school needs to be equipped. Even more egregious, that Nyanza cannot supply its schools and the supplier, mostly with a funny second name, all have to come from Nairobi.
I want kids at Migori primary school to have books to write on. However, how about if the supplier lives across the bridge? In Kimaiga? Or, in Rongo? How about if the supplier is a parent, trustee or financier to the school? When CORD says the infrastructure of Education should be devolved, I suppose, that’s what is in it for the business people in Migori.
In the Kenya we are slowly defeating, so many contributed so much to so few living in Nairobi.
As Raila Odinga said yesterday at Bomas, “we know where we’ve come from, we know where we are now and we know where we are headed”.
Good Friday wanaCORD.