Parliament and counties should be our true jewels

General view of the national assembly sitting during day two of the Orientation of Members of National Assembly at Main Parliament buildings, Nairobi ahead of the swearing-in of the members.  [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

As focus shifts to the Supreme Court petitions filed by Azimio La Umoja and others relating to the presidential race, we should not forget that parliamentary autonomy and devolution are the crown jewels of the 2010 Constitution.

Despite failures of Bunge’s leadership in the last decade, the 13th Parliament still has the chance to actualise aspirations of Kenyans for an independent and co-equal representative branch of government.

In the same vein, the teething problems that have hobbled devolution over the last decade should not define the future of sub-national self-government in the counties. All indications are that the 13th Parliament will be better than the 11th and 12th.

In the National Assembly, Moses Wetang’ula or Kalonzo Musyoka will be Speaker. Both are strong leaders who will not be easily captured – not even by their coalition partner in State House.

One hopes the new Speaker’s political gravitas will inspire the cultivation of a collective corporate identity built around independence among all legislators.

Given the strong likelihood of State House capture of the Senate, we will need a strong National Assembly to balance and check the other two branches of government.

The results of gubernatorial races also sprung shoots of hope. We have seven female governors. We also have a strong cohort of young governors.

Kenyans throughout the country are beginning to understand the importance of county governments for local economic development.

Majority approve of devolution and want even more functions to be devolved. All these facts are a recipe for positive political development in the counties.

The new governors and county assemblies should harness public goodwill and singularly focus on human development.

Not all our legislators or governors will be public-spirited. Many will steal from us or fail to take their jobs seriously.

However, I remain hopeful that, despite being men and women with feet of clay, enough of them will attend to the promises they made on the campaign trail. Godspeed, waheshimiwa.

The writer is an Assistant Professor at Georgetown University