By Philip Kaloki
On July 26, the people of Makueni made a profound political statement. In exercising their democratic right to elect a senator, they showed exemplary political maturity and embraced peace on a scale that set a standard for our country, and this in an election that was preceded by unnecessary drama and restiveness.
It is something that made me immensely proud to be a citizen of this great county and country.
While I congratulate Makueni County on its choice for senator, I must thank those who believed in my vision to cast their votes for me. I shall continue to be engaged, ready and willing to serve the county and country in furtherance of development objectives.
I also thank the people of the larger Kibwezi constituency for having elected me as their MP for the period 2007-2013.
It was a humbling endorsement and an affirmation of their faith in me, something I treasure. Driven by a long-nurtured desire to make a tangible difference in the lives of my people, and my international exposure and training as a development economist, I am proud of what we managed to achieve.
Among these are the establishment of the Southern Eastern University College at Mtito Andei; the Sh120 million water project through the Turner Foundation and a further Sh700 million for water projects and irrigation for the larger Kibwezi and Makueni. We built 53 secondary schools, seven dispensaries, three police posts and 28 market-sheds in Kibwezi town. We also managed to construct new roads, besides grading a number of existing ones.
My campaign for the Makueni senatorial seat was informed by a desire to positively transform the lives of our people, who despite back-breaking labour and the best of intentions, continue to wallow in abject penury. I felt that this would be best achieved by aligning our county development objectives with the Jubilee Manifesto and other key national blueprints.
Having gained over 15 years of global exposure as a scholar-lecturer (Dallas Baptist University) and consultant (Global Centre for Business Development) and through interactions in Kenya, I believe I have something tangible to offer Makueni in identifying and actualising our unique development needs.
Makueni County is so central to the business of Kenya that it cannot be left exclusively in the hands of a few of us. I support “Mutui Museo” and similar platforms.
As Kenya moves emphatically into a devolved system of governance, Makueni County and indeed Ukambani, need to hoist a new paradigm for engagement not just among our own citizens, but also with other county governments, the national government, donors, development partners, investors and other stakeholder groups. The era of sterile brinkmanship, exclusionism and isolationist thinking and a silo mentality is long gone.
The age of reconciliation, partnership, people participation and constructive engagement is here. Makueni must play in the same league with other counties and the rest of Kenya. I am willing to do my part to ensure this happens.
The writer is former Kibwezi MP