By Silas Nyanchwani
There is a shallow argument that is increasingly gathering storm and we are being boxed into buying it. Don’t do that.
The argument is that the government is bloated, expensive and the wage bill is suffocating our budget, as the recurrent expenditure eats a large portion of the pie(funny that foreign debts eats nearly 60 per cent and there is no accounting for the monies borrowed in the last 5 years).
So now, they say, ooh let’s do away with women reps, ooh we have so many MCAs, oooh, we don’t need senators…oooh, we have so many MPs…nyef nyef.
It is true given the size of our country and our population, there is over-representation. But this over-representation is not as a result of an accident. There are certain geographical, social, political and economic reasons we have such posts.
Personally I do favour the old models of provinces. It was pretty good, if only it worked. It didn’t work, because Mean Kibaki and Tom Mboya back in 1965, over a glass of beer decided to write a policy paper(presumably with good intentions) but that will be used to marginalise the northern half Kenya. The paper too, gave any sitting government to develop their region with government resources at the expense of other regions.
There was no way places like Turkana and Marsabit were going to be developed. So we had to find a way to share the national cake.
Trust you me, you can abolish so many seats, cut down the size of the government, do away with the 47 women reps but you will only save less than Sh 20 billion.
But consider this, we lose about 40-50 percent of budget to corruption, via inflated costs of tenders and money just vanishing. That is a whopping Sh 300-500 billion. And most of it goes to specific families.
Do you know how much State House receives as pocket money? Do you know how much is given to the millitary and it is not supposed to be accounted for.
Besides, the counties receive only 15 percent of the budget. The central government still toys about with 85 percent.
The best defense against devolution is that now each community has a chance to steal. Now some official in Turkana or Marsabit County can steal and build a supermarket or something and in a way the money would have trickled down as opposed in the past where that money was eaten in Nairobi.
Devolution did open many doors and nowadays each county has received a facelift and things will get better. Counties actually need 50 per cent of our budget for them to operate well.
Let’s tackle corruption, especially big league corruption before we can talk of sacking people and resizing the government. Otherwise, we can save money from such, only for the money to end up in the pockets of a few families.
So, don’t be manipulated into buying that BS. Seek accountability.
Finally, we only talk of sharing the cake, but never how to bake the cake