By Peter Wanyonyi
Political and social scientists say we are all born with some inalienable rights. Among these, they claim, is the right to be governed by people we choose and the right to secede and form our own micro-republics.
Imagine that! They are saying that if you come to the well-considered conclusion that Kenya is not serving your interests adequately, and you despair of ever getting access to State House to press your case personally, you can secede. You and your neighbours can solemnly declare that your ten houses are a sovereign, independent republic. What freedom!
You would need at least ten households because, let’s face it; you cannot quite be a republic of just you and your family. You are way too few. Who would handle foreign affairs? Even if you and spouse split Foreign and Internal Affairs between the two of you, who then manages Finance?
Including the neighbours in the scheme widens the pool and gives you access to more manpower.
Along the way to running your new republic, however, some familiar pitfalls await and must be negotiated carefully.
First, you will need to negotiate how to choose the new mini-republic’s leader. This is no easy task. While one neighbour might prefer a straight vote, another might want something more dramatic, like an eating contest. After all, your experience of being Kenyan has taught you that all politicians do after getting into office is eat and grab everything in sight.
One way or the other — and hopefully without coming to blows — the neighbourhood, now an aspiring republic, will find a way to select a leader.
Since you came up with the idea of starting the republic in the first place, you will naturally want the lion’s share of proceeds from the new State — but you must first get the proceeds going.
And so you will need a finance department of sorts. This is best left to the kiosk operator amongst your neighbours — if you have one. Kiosk operators are known for their deft handling of creditors and debtors, in effect, robbing Peter to pay Paul.
You want a kiosk operator running your finances because after all, your new republic is not a fish market, or is it? You will need to keep watch over your accounts, though, as kiosk operators are known to come up with fake figures here and there, the better to hide a coin or two from sight.
Being a small republic, the only remaining portfolio would be that of police boss. You will recruit a few noisemakers from amongst the neighbours to handle trespassing foreigners and the like, and you will need an enforcer for this. Don’t look for someone too educated. Beating up people doesn’t require knowledge of calculus.