Saturday, December 15, 2007
Why Kenya Needs Devolution Badly
For a start, I will let the figures do the talking:
KRA Tax collection 2004-5
Central Province Sh. 1.8 billion,
Nyanza Sh. 6.9 billion,
Western Sh. 5.5 billion,
Rift Valley Sh. 5.56 billion,
North Eastern Sh. 43 million,
Coast Sh. 2.7 billion and
Eastern Sh. 920 million
Allocation of Water Development Funds by Ministry of Finance (Treasury) 2004
Othaya Kshs. 595 million
Meru Kshs. 429 million
The rest of Kenya's 72 districts got Kshs. 5 million each!
Another eye opener is when one compares the government resource allocations in Turkana and Nyeri districts in the financial years 2003-4 and 2004-5.
Turkana District: 2003-4 (Kshs. 72.69) and 2004-5 (Kshs. 94.60),
Nyeri District: 2003-4 (Kshs. 320.42) and 2004-5 (Kshs. 685.69),
What makes these figures a bitter pill to swallow is the fact there are open disparities and a fraud on the Kenyan tax-payer when it comes to government 'development' allocations. For instance, it is a sad reality that officially Nyeri district is NOT classified as an Arid and Semi-Arid Land (ASAL) yet it has enjoyed a budgetary allocation for what is referred to as an ASAL projects for the last five years that Kibaki has been in power. Incidentally, the water development allocation referred to in the first part of this post formed the biggest percentage of the total annual budget. If this is not fraud, what is it?
On the other hand, Turkana District (which is not just the largest district in Kenya but home of the largest desert lake in world) is an ASAL area, a water scarce region inhabited by a highly marginalised Kenyan community yet it did NOT receive any ASAL allocations in the first two financial years of the so-called NARC government.
These allocations are also good indicator of how political power and economic resources are related. It is also a good reason for any right thinking citizen to support devolution of executive power so as to remove power from the centre and put it in the hands of the people themselves to decide which projects to fund using public money in the order of their own pre-determined priorities.
Devolution will eliminate the gross inequalities and marginalisation of certain communities so that all Kenyan people benefit equitably from existing and future development programmes.