Real power lies with the people in Makueni, not MCAs or speaker
SEE ALSO :Sonko reinstates sacked executivesI don’t want to use hyperbole, but Makueni today stands out as the model county in Kenya. I’ve always known there are very sharp minds in Makueni. I have scoured records of national examinations and the county outperforms many others. May be it’s something in the water, although I am told that element isn’t found in abundance in Makueni. So, it must be a certain grittiness – scrappiness – in the people. The county has produced some brilliant legal minds, not least of which we can count Prof Kibwana and the late Mutula Kilonzo, the first East African to obtain a First Class degree in law from the vaunted University of Dar-es-Salaam School of Law. Great civilisations come from great minds. Moving spirit I’ve known Prof Kibwana for eons. He was my professor at the University of Nairobi School of Law. Later in the 1980s, we were both students at Harvard Law School. Often, the late Prof Hastings Okoth-Ogendo, an academic giant in his own right, would come to Boston as a Visiting Professor in law schools there. We got together every time Prof Okoth-Ogendo came to Boston.
SEE ALSO :'No one has died due to hunger'That’s not surprising considering his legal IQ and the years spent in the vineyards planting seeds of democratic constitutionalism. That’s what he took to Makueni. He’s only one of a handful governors who truly understand their job – and do it. However, Prof Kibwana was in for a rude awakening in his first term. Old-style apparatchiks blocked his reforms at every turn. Former regime elements wanted him to despair. But he drew his strength and inspiration from the people, not the MCAs and the Speaker of the County Assembly. At one point, gunfire was exchanged and he was almost shot. But he soldiered on. Many of those adversaries were shown the door by the electorate in the last election. You can’t stop a good idea whose time has come. Prof Kibwana gives citizens at the lowest rungs of society a voice they’ve never had. He’s recognised the long-forgotten Mau Mau veterans of Makueni. The people literally run their own county. They decide whether contractors will be paid. Servant leadership One picture of Prof Kibwana sitting on a lonely boulder in a windswept field intently listening to barefoot peasants went viral. That picture symbolised deliberative government, grassroots consultation, servant leadership and humility. In Prof Kibwana’s Makueni, no citizen is too small. The biggest office is that of citizen, not governor.
SEE ALSO :Sh720m given for Nyandarua water, roadsProf Eunice Njeri Sahle of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has done governance research on Prof Kibwana’s Makueni. Her verdict – what’s happening in Makueni is revolutionary. Governors elsewhere should go benchmark in Makueni, not America. - The writer is SUNY Distinguished Professor at SUNY Buffalo Law School and Chair of KHRC. @makaumutua