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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Is Majimbo Good For Kenya?



It is instructive that the World Bank has declared that it is in favor of a Majimbo (devolved government) system for Kenya. But today the Catholic church in Kenya has declared that it is against Majimbo in what I consider one of the most irresponsible things the Catholic church in Kenya has ever done. The reason is that the move is an open provocation on Muslims most of whom are in favor of Majimbo and with the tensions in the country at the moment it is very easy for this issue to degenerate into a duel between Christians and Muslims which is the last thing any Kenyan would wish for.

The PNU (Party of National Unity) which has hardly shown any initiative in this general election has very quickly pounced on the issue of introducing a Majimbo system in Kenya sensing that it is ODM’s soft under belly where they can quickly accumulate votes in their favor and reverse the current situation. Many ODM supporters also fear that the party and its’ presidential candidate will lose votes on this issue.

Yet this is a classic issue pitting the two real tribes in Kenya against each other. Namely the filthy rich and the rest of Kenya. A Majimbo system is definitely not in the interest of the rich tribe because...

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13 comments:

Taabu said...

The present Majimbo craze is Moi/Kibaki's creation just like Raila. Not that the causes are popular or right but M/K failed Kenyans who are ready to EXPERIMENT with the devil provided they will get out of the present poor status.

Fear for Majimbo is premised on FEAR OF TH UNKNOWN. Our politicians know when to hide behind their lot best. What a nice oportunity to drum up misplaced fears with eyes singularly trained on protecting your TUFF? And true to form we never disappoint and fallen hook, line and sinker for the bait.

Majimbo may the magic bullet that will wipe out unproductive TRIBAL tension and competition. We wouldn't have excuses not others to blame but compete constructively to be like them or even better.

The Catholic church stopped being impartial in 2005. And they seem to believe that Kenyans think with DOGMA. They have been ashamed and beaten before and will be beaten again.

Fear not but fear itself. Majimbo is an idea whose time has come and you only reject it at the risk of being consumed by its embers. Long live Kenya and may God bless the motherland.

kalamari said...

No offence to those about to rush for their pocket bibles after reading the following sentence. The Catholic church, like all religions, thrive on poverty and depravity within parishes. In fact, economic prosperity is an enemy of the church. If majimbo will bring about development and possibly raise the living standards of our population, then it is in the best interest of the church to thwart any efforts to have it introduced. The evident growth of the church in developing countries (and sharp decline in developed ones) is not based on the idea that third world people are genetically and culturally predisposed to believe in a higher being.
The only other explanation, which unfortunately will be largely accepted on the ground, is that Njue amekula pesa ya Kibaki.

Chris, change makes some people very uncomfortable. This thing needs courage. You are right that just like multi-parties, change in the form of majimbo is a fifty fifty preposition. It may turn out to be the best thing since sliced bread or the worst idea on earth for Kenya. Either way, we must develop the testicular fortitude to step into a dark wet room. Further, if indeed it turns out to be a nightmare, then if we are Kenyans worth our salt, we should be able to revert back to the old (current system) or try something else altogether. You see if we cannot control our destiny then were are doomed.

Taabu, only the chosen few can dance with the devil and not get burned.

Vikii said...

I have always said in this blog that it is CHRIS and TAABU together with their students here who are masters of EXPEDIENCY and SUBJECTIVE ANALYSIS (pooh, I have heard these words a hundred times now). You guys have always accused people of defending opinions just because some 'presidential candidates' back those opinions. In my opinion, it is you people who have stubbornly refused to have opinions of your own. You often times embrace those of your so called leaders (Leaders to where?). Barely seven months ago, your views on this matter were the opposite of what you are writing here today with your misplaced arrogance. Kalamari said consistency is not a virtue but nevertheless it should not be thrown out through the window.

I have always argued that both systems, unitary or federal, can work with sound laws and a leadership that has respect for those laws.It really doesnt matter. I am however more inclined to economic federalism.

Below are Chris's and Taabu's views on the same subject on Tuesday, March 20, 2007. I have also included my views on the same as at that day.


Chris said
"One of the worrying things I have been observing in this blog in recent times is the radical and blind support for certain candidates by many Kenyans who have no idea what their candidate really stands for or what sort of president they would make.

Now an extremely worrying new development has emerged as all leading ODM presidential candidates have recently made an explosive announcement. This is to the effect that they are in full support of Majimboism or a federal and mostly separatist form of administration in Kenya. Their argument is that this is the only way of ensuring equitable distribution of resources.
----------------------------

This announcement was big news to me and should be to every Kenyan.

The idea of majimboism or federalism is not new in Kenya. It dominated the constitutional talks in Lancaster in the 60s and in fact won the day only to be ruthlessly crashed by Tom Mboya and the Kanu government who were victorious in the general elections of 1963 and were strongly in support of a strong central government.

Majimboism was strongly supported by Kadu leaders at the time, including party leader the late Ronald Ngala and the likes of Daniel Arap Moi. The thinking then was that smaller tribes have a chance of enjoying equitable distribution of resources with a majimbo system of government. What majimbo in essence calls for is regionalism with each region (read tribe) having some sort of regional government and controlling their affairs and development in their region.

Naturally such a system would promote tribalism and the system of tribal chiefs merging in a strange coalition long before elections with the intention of winning the general elections.

One thing is for sure, this is the sort of issue that would easily tip the scales and win an election for any party. It is no secret that the distribution of the natioal cake in Kenya has been very lopsided at best and grossly unfair at worst with only a few tribes greatly benefiting at the expense of others. Take the current Kikuyu-dominated government as an example, then consider the fact that we are seeing a repeat of what happened during the administration of Kenya's first president Mzee Jomo Kenyatta. Then we had 24 years during which the Kalenjin held sway benefiting immensely simply because President Moi happens to hail from that community. In this kind of back drop, telling Kenyan voters that you will introduce a majimbo system to ensure equitable distribution will win you lots of popularity very quickly.

But there are tough political decisions where what is best for the country must prevail over sheer populist politics.

Here are the great dangers that majimboism will pose to Kenya and Kenyans;

i) It wil promote tribalism and destroy any progress that has been made towards making Kenyans view themselves as one nation and one people.
ii) There are several experiments of the past that prove that Majimbosim is no guarantee that there will be an equitable distribution of resources. One that stands out is the district focus strategy launched by President Moi earlier in his presidency that saw DCs (district commissioners) emerge as more powerful than even PCs (provincial commissioners). It also looked very practical and beautiful on paper but in reality national issues and the need for the national government to retain control and power countrywide, continued to dominate and take away resources from the districts. There are numerous other examples that clearly cry out; IT WILL NOT WORK.
iii) It will promote corruption on a massive scale as there are no checks and balances on the ground to keep a leash on the tribal/regional leader and their inevitable excesses. The problems we have seen with some MPs and the CDF funds will be greatly magnified.
iv) Anther majimbo experiment now will be fatal because it will take away attention from urgent national issues that require the whole country to be focused as one people to tackle. High on that list is the unemployment situation that has fuelled escalating crime and poverty amongst a host of other problems. It means that if for example the new government comes up with a massive energy program based in the North Eastern Province and designed to create thousands of new jobs, the efficiency and success of such a project would be greatly hindered by limitations brought about by the sort of rules that Majimboism would call for.

Being one of the most popular parties in the country currently, ODM-Kenya must denounce their majimbo policy or at least call for a national debate on the issue instead of dictating and making sweeping policy statements on crucial issues that are capable of affecting the country negatively if implemented."


Taabu said
Majimboism is the epidemic whose symptoms already have Kenya bleeding from ethnic hatred. And if we were to legalize it then God have mercy.

The whole ODM-K argument for majimbo is pegged on the wrong premise. First even before we engage ourself in the debate, we have to accept the truth that the timing couldn't have been any worse. Kenya is boiling with tribal tension that only need a spark to explode. The ODM chaps are alive to this fact and want to take advantage for political expediency at our collective peril.

Two, the merit and demerits of majimbo are neither here nor there. With persolized and/or regionalized rule, majimboism will be the icing on the cake on emergence of tribal chiefs ready to sell their tribasmen pound of flesh to cobble up tribal collisions. All we need is structured administration build on institutions that can operate independent of the office bearers. Simple put must go back to the basic and not even entertain the idea of taking us back to Misri, as my brilliant granny often wisely warned.

Why would we create mayhem to unsettle the prevailing peace among tribes. Our cheap politics that has perfected the paradigm of our turn is the bane in this poltical madness. A fair distribution of wealth and resources would make us be tribeless.

Unless we stop providing an elastic and infatigiable back for polticians to ride, we are inadvertendtly abetting the speedy slide of of our motherland into abyss. We must stop the politicians from playing the small tribes against the perceived large ones.

All are equal and any trace of calibration is the height of deception anchored on cheap and unproductive leadership. We must resist the lure to opt for cheap plastic options in the face of gigantic problems. Regionalism is no panacea to the present sickning spate of tribalism among Kenyans. If anything it will only succeed in fuelling the vice.

With no dependable institutions, we are simple inviting ourselves to into the jungle with all its unpleasant laws. Lest we want to creat unviablke 42+ jimbos for each tribe, Kenya and Kenyans must retrace their values and agree to either grow together of severaly exterminate each other. There is no success story anywhere in the world on this. So why pretend to be having the tools to reinvent the wheel? I rest my case."


Vikii said
"For the first time Chris and company have come up with what i would call a topical issue. We will now respond to ur case with sobriety and tolerance because it is a healthy discussion.

It doesnt really matter what name we give to our government. When Taabu says that it is good to have structured institutions instead of vesting power in individuals,i cannot agree more. But dont u people think that we can create structured institutions built along these majimbo? I dont really care whether we have majimbo or central goverment (I am not a defender of either of the two) but it is wrong to imagine all that majimbo can bring to the table is civil war,animosity,corruption and all that.

The most successful nations in the world today are the US and Australia. Are these not federations? The major reason they are so successful is this federalism. This ensures each region benefits from their resources. For example coast is rated as the second poorest province after Nyanza yet they have a port serving many countries. All the revenue collected is taken to the exchequer for disbursement around the country. This is not a bad idea but the coast people have been crying for a university for as long as i can remember. In my opinion whatever income comes out of the port should first benefit the coastals. Every single region in Kenya is endowed with a resource that is not available to the other regions. This in itself is a very useful tool in fostering unity among the different regions. We all know that trade fosters unity among the parties involved.
In the same way that Arizona and Nebraska supply the other US states with beef and wheat respectively,we can have each region do what they know best and buy what they dont have from the other regions.

As I said institutions are governed by statutes and we can legislate taxation laws that govern the same. We can have jimbo (state)tax as well as federal tax. The money under the control of treasury can be used to top up those areas that are not self sustainable. Major national expenditure can also be catered for by the central (federal) government. Economically I think that is the way to go.

When it comes to politics, I will first correct Chris that we should not think of a jimbo as a tribe. As the other guy gave u an example,we would have Nyanza as a jimbo. Nyanza is home to more than 4 tribes. My eastern province can be another jimbo (5tribes) and so on. Its is the duty of those in your jimbo to demand proper governance and not follow an individual blindly. And again power should be tied to institutions and constitutions as opposed to the present case where individuals set the agenda for the whole nation. If anyone would fear fragmentation of the nation there is nothing to fear coz we are more divided than we can ever get. With each tribe having a chief already, the country is as good as a federation albeit in very absurd and unstructured way. We can move from that by formalising everything.

My take on the whole debate is that the central constitution should be the supreme law of the land and any conflicting state law shoul be null and void.
The problem as some of u have already said is that the timing of the whole thing is suspect. The messengers are also suspect. Majimboism is a great idea born by rotten minds with ulterior motives. May be it should be food for thought for the time being. It is something we could implement after the elections if we should at all."


Tll me now, Who is being expedient? Who is shifting goal posts?

And chris do you really know what your presidential candidate stands for or what kind of president he would make?

Mwanichekeshaga sana.

Anonymous said...

Vikii, excellent work. When I said before that politics really has revealed those who have nothing between their ears, no more so than on this blog.

Anonymous said...

Could the Catholic church tell kenyans the kind of Administration system they use in church coz to me it somewhat majimbo like. Has it worked for them or against them?

Anonymous said...

Njue has adopted Uhuru's position...its actuallly nothing to do with the merits and demerits of devolution

Njoroge-mzee wa kijiji said...

Vikii who have exposed them. As we shout on our rooftops its important to take positions that are informed,argue ur case through - but today to say this and tommorrow this is called double speak. This is criminalising independent thinking.

Majimbo is not bad as expounded by our politicians, but majimbo takes a turn for the worse when everyone is told were it not for the kikuyu, Luo and Luhya - they would be rich. This example is based on Likoni. Infact the three tribes lost lives and property. If the common man understands it as it should be thats fine.

My worry on Majimbo is for North Eastern, Ukambani, some parts of coast like Kinango etc. My understanding is that the larger you generate revenue as a jimbo - the more you get from the central government. Otherwise you would expect revenues of 100 billion generated by coast province - 60% (60 billion to remain there). The rationale is that those jimbos with 1 billion will retain (0.6 billion). Alot needs to be done. My thinking is that this majimbo business may end up benefitting central and rift valley and indeed coast. Coast province i believe have every reason to support majimbo. Its good for their people. Centralised system has not served them well. Other areas take caution.

Why my tribesmen fear majimbo is interpretation - does it mean those in Kenyan diaspora (other jimbos) go to their home provinces. Thats what most politicians mean.The problem is major tribes would suffer the same. Other than the issue of expulsion of some communities - majimbo would make the poor regions (other than coast) even more poorer.

luke said...

If the next government of Kenya and the 10th parliament truly want to reflect more of what this country is really about, then majimbo will simply be a means to the greater end of turning this country around for good so that once and for all the direction we're headed in and the society we're building truly begin to reflect the aspirations and hopes the people of Kenyan have been dreaming about in their hearts for the past 40+ years
The truth is centralisation of resource allocation from the capital has been a hit and miss affair up until now, working well sometimes, delivering zero most other times. The reality of widening poverty gap and inequality on the ground mostly tells a story of inefficient bureacracy and poor management which is the greatest threat to our recovering economy-nevertheless, we are partly to blame because we're the one's who vote and elect incompetent MPs year in year out
majimbo or centralised Government are simply a means to an end-future Kenyan governments had better deliver progress and improvement and stem the inbuilt destruction of corruption
IT'S INTEGRITY NOT THE ECONOMY STUPID

Anonymous said...

The Catholic church has a different system of Majimbo. A Briton can become the head of jimbo la Ngong and a Mkamba heads jimbo la Bungoma. They are hierarchical and not democratic.I don`t know whether that can happen in the majimbo we are advocating for. Can`t we hold this debate when everyone is sober?

kalamari said...

Vikii, Ala!! Kwani haujasikia miujiza; The man we call Taabu was previously known as Baabu when he lived in Essex. It was during a trip to Wembley, on horseback, that he was struck by a blinding flash of lightening, heard a thundering voice and forever changed his way. As for the guy previously known as Krishna……..
No bad blood….I just couldn't resist.

The way things are going, ODM must quickly change its rallying call from 'Majimbo' to 'Power to the People'.

bloggeratti said...

Remember the saying, "Man can't live on Bread alone?"

Rephrase that to "Kenyans can live on promises alone."

Be it Raila, Kibaki, Moi, Kenyatta, whatever clown comes along with a happy tune, we obediently fall in line and troop after them like lemmings to their death.

I've heard about Faith, but....

chris said...

OK Vikii,

Thanx for quoting my words of early this year.

I have changed my position on the issue of Majimbo. Only fools don't change their minds, or so they say.

-Kumekucha-
P.S. By the way, I am not the only one, it seems that everybody has changed their positions since the referendum. ODM, PNU guys etc.

Phil said...

Not really Chris, Vikii conveniently forgot to carry my comments that I first made during the referendum days. Welcome to the club. I am sure in 60 days (you gave us an accurate count) you and Taabu will cease to be horseless and give a strong approval to the win of Raila. Majimbo 4 LIFE!

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