IF YOU CANNOT BEAT THEM; SUCCEED – WITHOUT THEM!
By Dorcas S
California, America’s 3rd largest and most populous state is also the 6th largest economy in the world – larger than Brazil, France, Russia, Italy, India, Canada, Australia, Spain and Turkey.
The state’s population (39.3M) is 80% that of Kenya (48.7M) and its economy is 15x larger – $2.514T v. $164.3B. The state’s population is as diverse as its economy. It is America’s breadbasket and home to Silicon Valley – sectors powered primarily by immigrants i.e. minorities. California is the cultural, arts & entertainment capital of the US – home to Hollywood and the Oscars.
In 2008 (and 2012), the “Golden State” gave its 55 Electoral College votes to Barack Obama making him America’s first non-white male POTUS. The state has become – over the years – reliably Democratic eschewing the selfishness, intolerance and monolithic strain of America’s Jubilee Party – GOP/Republican Party.
The one time a California governor tried pulling the “tyranny of numbers”-like move was in 1994 when Gov. Pete Wilson (along with a mostly white support-base) supported demonization of Hispanics with the xenophobic and discriminatory Prop 187 ballot initiative. Though the voters passed it, Prop 187 was ruled discriminatory by the federal district court and the damage was done. The state swung blue and aside from electing actor/body-builder Arnold Schwarzenegger as its Governor from 2003-2011, California has been and will remain reliably Democratic for the foreseeable future.
The state’s current governor and Jesuit Seminarian Jerry Brown recently ignored the Trump Administration’s decision to pull the US out of the Paris (Climate Change) Accord. Instead, Gov. Brown flew to China shortly after the announcement to reassure one of the state’s largest trading partners that it will continue to comply with the Paris Accord regardless of Mr. Trump’s decision.
The state is also home to the world’s most acclaimed public university – UC system of colleges – Berkeley, LA, San Diego, Davies, Irvine etc. This is in addition to Stanford and Caltech.
With the on-going talk of “secession” (and “succession” (sic)) in Kenya, I was reminded of the Golden State’s pre-eminence and independence in America’ economical and cultural space; positions that have little to do with who the president is and everything to do with the demography of the state, the quality of its leadership and the socio-cultural underpinning.
California is diverse and accepting of all regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality, creed, class etc. – just like NASA. NASA-leaning Luhyaland gave UNCTAD its current Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi. Professional footballers McDonald Mariga, Dennis Oliech, Noah Wanyama and Divock Origi (Belgium/Liverpool) all have their roots in Nyanza and Western Kenya – as do Lupita Nyong’o and Barack Obama.
If the NASA-leaning regions can produce talent and intellect to take on and conquer the world, they sure can do the same in Kenya – especially with devolution. As frustrating as the last 3 elections have been, supporters of NASA can and should take solace in the fact that on the global stage where no one knows one’s tribe or ethnicity, they have shown that they can excel.
I see in the non-Jubilee leaning regions of Nyanza, Western, Turkana, Kitui, Kisii, Coast, a California-like potential; indeed awakening. These counties have enough natural resources and human capital to develop vibrant communities and economies independent of the ethnically-tainted central government.
This is particularly true with devolution.
It is this potential that spooked Uhuru Kenyatta into going after Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and his Turkana counterpart Josphat Nanok this past election cycle: The two governors called out Jubilee for machinations that were potentially detrimental to the economies of the respective regions – Coast (job losses due to relocation of dry dock facilities and land issues) and Turkana (reduced oil revenues to the county where the oil comes from!)
The on-going talk of secession is understandable given the frustration of (a) being marginalized throughout Kenya’s history, (b) losing some of the regions’ best and brightest via central government-backed violence and (c) losing multiple elections due to under-handedness by the incumbency. It is the discrimination and indignity suffered by Jews, Blacks and Hispanics in the east coast, south and mid-west that drove the early pioneers westwards towards California.
Rather than secede, California harnessed its disparate, dispirited, diverse but determined population and took on the rest of the country and succeeded – wildly.
As goes California so goes America!