By Jesse Masai
Ikolomani legislator Boni Khalwale would have us elect his Sabatia counterpart Musalia Mudavadi as president because, as a weekend news report had it, the latter “had proved himself as the best suited candidate because he did not court controversy and possesses national appeal”.
The merits or otherwise of Mudavadi’s attempt aside, Dr Khalwale would do the country a favour by explaining how the controversies of our times may be addressed by those who won’t court them.
I don’t know what a non-controversial president won’t do, but here is what I think a controversial one should do:
Nairobi: I want a president who will turn the city into our commercial capital, and initiate moves to make Isiolo our administrative capital.
The latter is geographically at the country’s heart, is primed to grow on the basis of the proposed transport corridor linking Lamu to both Juba and Addis Ababa.
More importantly, such a move would shift lopsided investments into an already over-grown and poorly planned city and its satellites. Government, forever absent in Isiolo and surrounding counties, might also be felt a little more intimately.
Development without consultation: Closely tied to the Lamu project is what, for this purpose, we may refer to as “development without consultation.” Until the mainstream media picked up new messages, concerns from Lamu residents nearly always centered on having not been involved in what could easily be post-independent Africa’s biggest infrastructure project.
From Liboi to Busia, and Namanga to Lokichoggio, Nairobi coming down as the know-it-all has been the long-running cry for many. It has been suggested that devolution should help cure this shared, national experience.
Observers of ongoing, slow-punctured efforts to prepare for a Kenya beyond Mwai Kibaki may – however – be wise to ask for moral and institutional clarity on the proposed democratic and developmental state.
Are we evolving towards the desired devolution, or creeping back to the highly centralised State of the period between 1963 and 2010?