Sunday, 7 August 2016

Is the Sultan system marginalizing NEP?

The control of large budgets and political influence that came with devolution has turned competitive politics in Northern Kenya into a zero sum game. It has also seen the emergence of winter-white haired men with spade-shaped devil’s fork beards. Unlike in the old cultural system where women and youth had a specific role, the new generation of Sultans have completely sidelined this important group despite being the majority and they even determine who gets elected to the detriment of the people.

Since the 2013 elections, NEP counties received close to hundred billion, if not more, and there's nothing much to write home about as far as development is concerned. Why? Because majority of those elected are not answerable to the masses but to these old men who call themselves sultans. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with having a council of Elders but all that is wrong is, they're involved in the wrong job. All communities in Kenya have councils of Elders but they hardly get involved in politics to the extent of nominating individuals for political posts. Theirs is purely cultural. Why can't ours just restrict themselves to matters cultural and allow Northern Kenya residents to exercise their constitutional rights to elect whoever they want? Isn't it time the marginalized majority (Youths and women) wake up and revolt against this barbaric political culture that has made the region lag behind? These Sultans have made northern Kenya more divided than ever.

From Banisa to Tarbaj, Giriftu to Balambala, Madogashe to Marsabit, Northern Kenya's so called Sultans will be converging to 'determine and direct their clan's political future'. Which begs the question, where were these sultans since the 2013 elections? If they really care about their people, as they will claim, why not hold the current office holders accountable and make them answer for every shilling they have received since 2013? Or are the sultans for sale to the highest bidder?
The Sultans have always got it wrong when it comes to deciding the various political posts.

Save for the Majority Leader,– he is not a by-product of the disastrous sultan system and that is why he is who he is today and he is the only MP who represents the larger interest of the Somali community in this country- NEP members of Parliament have failed. Both in the House and in their constituencies. Why? Because they know they are not representitive of the people but a few men who can always be silenced by some brown envelopes.

The recent frenzy on the so-called Sultanship is actually the biggest mistake Northeastern has ever made. Look for instance,  the system encourages incumbents to loot and do less in terms of development because they know very well that they won't be re-elected. The scourge that is Sultanship actually fosters underdevelopment.

Immediately after the last general elections, majority of NEP youth who went back home to vote along with their Sultans were so disillusioned that they vowed they will never repeat the same mistake again. Social media is my witness. Am now shocked to see the same Facebook-ers and the ones in the various whatsapp groups druming support for a system they know well won't benefit them. The only way out is; ONE MAN, ONE VOTE.

The new county governments and the political and economic largesse that comes with them are, if not managed equitably, likely to further exacerbate existing conflicts in the poor and conflict-prone counties of northern Kenya.

Is Sultanship the bane of Northeastern Kenya? Your answer lies pretty well in the track record of its products. Now you know.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Why Duale will determine the Pastoralists’ political future come 2017

Majority Leader Hon Adan Duale with  Sultan Hassan Omar Shurie

There is no one from the pastoralists’ political landscape who can whip a crowd quite like him. Nor are there many with his special talents for handling political foes.

From a junior politician in the 10th Parliament to a political bigwig in the 11th Parliament. Currently he commands myriad support across the North – the political base of the pastoralists - not basing on tribal cocoons compared to his foes.

Patronage from his followers is overwhelming, above all, to his political opponents who deploy all means to thwart his political determination. But, he has outshined their conspiracies innumerable epochs and emerged as the winner. Refer to him as the Member of Parliament for Garissa Township or rather the first Majority Leader of Kenya’s National Assembly, Adan Barre Duale. 

The effect of Hon Adan Duale’s national position – Majority Leader of the National Assembly – is being felt across Northern Kenya; from Marsabit to Mandera, Moyale to Masalani just to name a few.
Before Jubilee came to power, Garissa residents – and the region at large - were treated to frequent power blackouts as businesses often came to a halt due to lack of energy. In those days, electricity was a preserve of few and those in urban areas and businesses in rural areas were left to find alternative ways of operating.

Things are different today. Jubilee government’s national project of Kindaruma-Mwingi-Garissa 135 KV line has reached Garissa - the gateway to Northern Kenya since independence- twitted the Majority Leader @HonAdanDuale. The honorable member for Garissa Township also reminded us in his tweets that ‘’history is being made by expanding the transmission line and transforming energy supply to all corners of the country’’. After connecting Garissa, the Ministry of Energy plans to extend the national power grid transmission to Wajir and Mandera. This, says the Majority Leader, will translate to more industries hence improve the economy of the region thus empowering the residents. The President, H.E Uhuru Kenyatta, will be in the region to officially launch the project sometime in May, this year.

Hon Duale addressing a mammoth crowd
The energy sector has recorded tremendous progress and continues to register growth under the Jubilee administration. The dedication by President Uhuru Kenyatta's Jubilee government to transform the energy industry is clearly godsend and will help boost the country's economy.
Last July the President broke ground for Africa's biggest wind-power project in Laisamis, Marsabit County – One of the Northern Kenya counties - as Kenya took giant steps in asserting its position as a leader in green-energy production globally. According to reports, the project is the biggest single private sector initiative in Africa, costing about Sh70 billion with a galaxy of investors participating in the project.

The region does not support any other economic activity except nomadic animal husbandry due to its harsh weather. But this is set to change with the new investments that the power project will unveil.
The Jubilee government's goal is raising electricity access to 70 per cent by 2017 and universal access by 2020 and the North won’t be left behind since NEP’s celebrated son will deliver its fair share.

This is a clear indication of Jubilee administration’s interest in developing the restive north. This and other ongoing projects will definitely change the economic aspect of Northern Kenya positively since investors will be attracted to the region due to the availability of power and other related infrastructure necessary for business. Hon Duale, as the undisputed kingpin of the pastoralist politics, has a say in all these and how they unfold.

A mammoth crowd in Northern Kenya listening to the Majority Leader Hon Duale
On Nomadic animal husbandry, the president, on March while addressing the Pastoralist Leadership Summit, announced the formation of the Independent Livestock Authority with the objective of providing a ready market for the Pastoralists livestock.  In the same Summit, the President launched the Sh6 billion Equalization Fund to assist the marginalized areas in providing basic services to bring the counties development to par with the rest of the country.

Infrastructure-wise, the road from Garissa to Madogashe is under construction and the contractor is on site. Meanwhile there is also a plan to start the construction from Elwak to Mandera town as the Madogashe one connects all the way to Wajir.

Lately, the Majority Leader has locked horns with his opponents in their attempt to register a tribal, individualistic political party in the name of Pastoralist Party of Kenya to ‘’fight for pastoralists interest’’ when in the real sense it’s the political vehicle of one Senator who is fond of ranting on social media and castigating other leaders even when he has nothing to show for his time in political office since 2002.
The Senator also knows that his own political star is at its peak today and cannot shine brighter than the Senate seat he currently enjoys. The writing is on the wall!

Hate or love him, the Majority Leader Hon Adan Barre Duale remains the kingpin of the Pastoralists’ political landscape. Hon Duale knows the way, goes the way and shows the way! And the Pastoralists have no option but to be with him. And sure they will.