It's time to decentralise how we are taxed, policed and governed
SEE ALSO :War over division of revenueThe reality is when counties are managed with some care, they do wonders, as the Makueni miracle consistently shows. And even when the counties are mismanaged—and there are more than a few examples of that—the benefits to the locals, be they indigenes or settlers are far more than before devolution. To be clear, even before devolution, a few local authorities lucky that their wildlife zones were classified as game reserves, rather than national parks, were managing and running them directly, while KWS had the management of the animals in a unique working arrangement that worked. National parks are run from the centre. Insecurity It is not rocket science to manage parks. Narok County has done a decent enough job running Masai Mara game reserve for decades and turning profits consistently. Proceeds from the Mara have educated thousands of Narok youth up to university, provided jobs for residents, and increased access to water. So too with Samburu game reserve though this one has had more problems on account of insecurity and the use of the surrounding areas for military training by Kenyan and British forces, which at one time drove a lot of wildlife from the area, given all the shooting and blasting that went on.
SEE ALSO :Devolution should bring community prideThe point is that if Narok County can manage its own resources, why not Taita Taveta? The idea of centralisation is a colonial one borne of the need to control the majority of natives by a minority. The advent of devolution was expected to come with different mindsets on governance but this regime has proved particularly adept at frustrating even some of the more simple ideas that can lead to less dependency from Nairobi, thus avoiding the persistent conflicts between the regime and Nairobi and the counties. But I guess Kenya remains the classic example of good laws but inept and unwilling implementation. One would have expected that once Taita Taveta announced its intentions, other counties with natural resources would have joined in making similar cases. Why are Nakuru and Nyeri counties quiet about the Aberdares national park and having that devolved? Why are Meru, Laikipia and Nyeri quiet about the Mt Kenya park? Why is Mombasa County deadly silent on the port of Mombasa? It is so warped that we saw leaders from Turkana County begging for bigger scraps as oil that is under their soil is exported! And this from a county that was not only neglected from the colonial times, but deliberately marginalised until oil was found, in exportable quantities, under its soil. The leaders should have been demanding—not begging--at least 70 per cent of oil proceeds (to make up for historical injustices as well) and using this oil as a magnet to draw people from other parts of Kenya to invest and help develop the county. [email protected]
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