I missed the Katiba celebrations because I came down with something quite serious on Friday night. Am still resting but mercifully the worst is now over. I guess we shall have to continue my weekend special on the Kamba people next weekend.
There are many things in Kenya which are going to change enormously after the events of last Friday. In fact right now my big worry is if Kenyans can handle change on such a massive scale and at such speed. The human mind and body is designed to take in change much more gradually. But alas this is what tends to happen when a people get so totally fed up with the old order of things. They reach a place where they just want out and have no time to stop and ask themselves if they can handle the change they seek.
Many political commentators agree that they have never seen the president so passionate about something (like he has been about the new constitution) and they have never seen him so happy about something (like he was in the picture after signing the new constitution into law). The fact that Kibaki delivered the new constitution has rescued his legacy rather dramatically. Lucky man!!
But for the purposes of this post let me focus on the change in our politics that the new constitution will usher in. Do you know the most powerful political seat, indeed more powerful than the presidency in our new constitution? I am of course talking about the Governor of a county. For instance the president’s appointments will have to be approved by parliament but the governors will NOT. I mean this man or woman will have such power in the county that even retired President Moi who was a god in his time, will envy.
What all this means is that the public will lose interest in National politics. It will all be happening in the counties where decisions will be made every day that will impact very dramatically and quickly on the people’s lives.
I keep wondering about how the media will adjust. The media in Kenya has gone through many changes in the recent past and now comes this most dramatic and far-reaching one of a new constitution with new demands. I see media houses like Royal Media services having a head start over other media houses since they have such a large stable of FM radio stations covering many different regions of the country. There will be great need for media at the counties and I would expect the FM stations to be the initial major form of communication at this level. There will also be opportunities for quick thinking entrepreneurs to find a way to make low circulating newspapers work. Some prosperous counties may even be able to sustain their own TV stations. Indeed even Kumekucha has to re-invent itself to fit snugly into the new Kenya and I am still thinking about that very deeply and will appreciate suggestions from my usually quick-witted readers here.
There have been fears amongst some old school Kenyans who will always want to believe that nothing but the old systems can work in Kenya, to the effect that counties will promote tribalism. Admittedly a few short-sighted governors may want to promote negative ethnicity at the beginning but they will soon find that their counties are lagging behind. The bottom line will be to promote the prosperity of one’s county at all costs and the way to do this is to co-operate with other counties while encouraging a rapid influx of investors from other counties. Smart governors will seek to find what resources and talents their areas of jurisdiction can best exploit because the truth is that nobody can be good at everything. So it is unlikely that any county will be self sufficient in everything.
True entrepreneurs should now be rubbing their hands in glee waiting for the full implementation of the new constitution. This is because there will be massive new opportunities at the county level for all kinds of things. For starters basic essential services like water and electricity are going to be in very high demand and so companies that deal in solar energy, water tanks and other basics should be positioning themselves to sell proposals to respective counties. Entrepreneurs prosper while solving people’s problems and so enterprising companies will now have to take a serious look at the problems in counties and how their products and services can help solve them.
And that brings me to the most important change in politics that counties will bring. The focus will shift from individuals to issues. Until now our politics has always been about personalities whilst real issues have mostly been ignored.
I dare say that what I love most about this new order of things is that silly tribal comments like Kikuyu this and Raila that will lose all meaning even in a blog like this one. That will be the day!!!