Mohamed Yufu Haji goes down memory lane as he leads his team to Mandera County
SEE ALSO :The unseen war - Part 2“We had pails serving as latrines and they were emptied in the wee hours,” he recalled. The veteran administrator who was later to serve as district commissioner, provincial commissioner, assistant minister and minister said it was courtesy of devolution and political tranquility brought about by ingenuities such as the handshake on which BBI is anchored that Mandera and other formerly marginalised areas were now catching up in development.
SEE ALSO :Moi urges support for handshake team“You now have tarmac roads, street lights, slap up hotels, reliable air transport and relative peace, all of which were unimaginable only recently,” noted Mr Haji who was accompanied by the Chief Executive Officer of the Building Bridges Initiative Stephen Karau and several members including Dr Adams Oloo, Maj (rtd) John Seii, Samburu Woman Representative Maison Leshoomo, Bishop Lawi Imathiu and the recently retired Catholic Archbishop of Kisumu Archdiocese Zacheus Okoth. Mandera Governor Ali Roba described the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) as a body in a shambles that ought not to be allowed to handle another election. “What we need is not the much talked about referendum which this IEBC cannot handle, but fixing of the electoral system plus investing in civic education, intelligence and security,” he said. Roba said if the collection of views by BBI results in a referendum, then Mandera people will participate to contribute to the agenda with the view to shaping the outcome, but cautioned that old bridges must not be destroyed even as new ones are built. ”I am personally of the view that there is nothing wrong with the current constitution,” he said.
SEE ALSO :Groups push for real power sharing“Let it be dictated by development priorities, levels of underdevelopment, commitment to poverty eradication, access to proper health care, access to education and such like issues,” he suggested. He said devolution ought to be strengthened by removing duplication of functions by national and county governments and allocating 50% of the collected funds of the previous financial year and not the last audited and approved accounts. “We want absolute devolution where resources follow the functions. If water for instance is devolved, the resources allocated should go to the counties directly,” said Roba. Mandera was the 13th county of call for BBI. Amb Karau hinted at extension of time to cover all the 47 counties.