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How Kenya’s ruling elite hijacked development process

Money in politics in Kenya – a failure of a system.

In many civilized states in the world “development and economic growth” is the prerogative of the state. I repeat, there should be development and economic growth with or without a politician in office. In Kenya, politicians have cleverly made development process their personal identity card. Development has become a political campaign tool for quite too long. During the former regimes under the old constitution, a politician would campaign telling his constituents of how many projects he is going to bring…some even promised bridges where there was no river. This brought about sycophancy in which politicians would lick the boots of the president in order to get goodies and state appointments in order to push for development agenda in his constituency. Presidents managed to manipulate this loophole in the system to make pohliticians adore them.

However, the constitution of 2010 has revolutionized the sycophancy ensuring that state appointments do not involve politicians. Only the President and his Deputy are the only politicians and the heads of the government. Cabinet Secretaries and other state officials are supposed to be professionals with focus on the performance and service delivery to the people of Kenya. President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, being the first president appointed under the new constitution, has had difficult time. At some point he was forced to offer cabinet slots to his political supporters. Hon. Charity Ngilu became the Cabinet Secretary of the Ministry of Lands, then Water and Irrigation. Hon. Najib Balala, the political supporter of Hon. Uhuru landed into Ministry for Minerals then Tourism. The same fate followed Hon. Kazungu Kamba, the Ministry for Labour and Hon. Eugene Wamalwa who got the Ministry of Water and Irrigations when Ngilu fell off with the regime.

The same old regime in which the president would make politicians adore him is back to haunt Kenyans. The appointed politicians would get access to resources to woo their constituents to support the incumbent, a thing that the constitution tried to deal with. Politicians are still relentless with dominating development policies as a campaign tool and a way of getting re-elected. Those who have not done much have been since voted out by the electorates. They have nothing to show to the people.

The same tendency is the reason why the Constituency Development Fund cannot be taken to Counties. Members of Parliament would fight to get how to manage public funds. Without this, then they have nothing to dangle to the electorates. It is a way of bribing people politically.

The so called Ward reps at the county level have been agitating for control of development funds destinated to their wards. Most of them have used the fund for their own benefit and wealth, and nothing for development. Since the constitution does not provide a mechanism of how such leaders could be held liable of the stolen public funds, many professionals are gearing towards political positions such as being the governor and not a senator. The propelling factor here is that the governor is charged with billions of shillings meant for the county and he can monopolize the system at the county level and bribe the Members of the County Assembly (Ward Reps) to keep him in office. The governor must learn how to bribe and sweeten the mouths of the MCAs in order to stay in office. He cannot only do this by compromising development funds. Most of that fund goes into political campaign and the devolution has failed Kenyans another time.

At the eve of 2017 elections many senators started to vie for becoming governors. This is where the money and political influence is. What is at stake is the policies/ development agenda/overseeing/check and balances. The judiciary has no jurisdiction over such political and economic crimes. The dormant Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, now headed by a retired Bishop, Rev. Wabukala, is one of the most useless institutions ever in Kenya. It is toothless and its officials know how to fatten their pockets.

It is very sad that political elites lie to Kenyans that any road construction is because of their good work. Any development is their own achievement. No. Such development agenda must and should be there with or without the politician. The state must be stable without the government. When the President borrows money from China it is like this is his own money. No. It is a loan that all of us shall pay back with interests. Remember that the borrowing rate of the government must be checked and controlled.

Now cost of living is sky rocketing and the president is exonerated from any wrong doing. It is an Act of God. This si blunder number one. Then why do we have political leadership if it cannot provide solution and strategic national plan in short and long term? Why do suffer from food security? Where is the money going? How comes the stolen money is never recovered? Such money is shared by many leaders including judges. How do you shoot yourself on the foot? Nepotism and Corruption shall ruin Kenya irreversably. I find the question of maize shortage troubling. Many average Kenyans really suffer and there is no leadership that listen to them. It is business as usual.

Political leadership is rotten. Remember that South Africa is agitating to bring Jacob Zuma down and the ANC may be a past tense due to bad governance. Kenyans are still supporting their corrupt leaders. A thief is a small god in this country and there is no way one can dismiss this fact.

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About Peter Onyango

Dr. Peter Onyango O. is one of our main contributors. He is a senior law lecturer, a writer, a consultant, peace ambassador, and a researcher. He assists so many professionals, legal minds, and debaters with his skills and scholarly wealth! He supports children and village community as a way of giving back to community. He edits, proof reads, and publishes various articles for our page!

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