By Job Kiniale
Kenya has a long and interesting political history. This history has shaped our democracy, governance, rule of law, our social-economic life, and politics. Come 2010, Kenyans ushered in a new constitution that offered hope in modernizing our political system and institutions of governance.
For the first time after independence, the 2010 constitution introduced devolved units of government. We now boast of 47 counties that also double up as single-member constituencies for the election of Senators and special women MPs.
Never had expectations been so rife over a constitution document like the one for 2010. We envisioned a nation where development would come down to the grassroots. It was time for the hoi polloi in the devolved units to get their fair share of the national cake.
I remember how excited I was to elect my first governor, senator, and special women representative in my home county of Bungoma.
According to Narendra Modi, India’s Prime Minister, “Good governance depends on the ability to take responsibility by both administrations as well as people.”
It’s time we residents of Bungoma took responsibility for our own County. It’s time we stop divisive politics and engage in a constructive political debate on the future of our county. We have the responsibility to elect the right leaders into the office and also highlight the governance ills bedevilling our county.
We have a range of tools at our disposal that we could use to highlight governance issues in our county. A good tool, for example, is like this blog post. Through blog posts, we can highlight the right and the wrongs and call our leaders to take responsibility for their irresponsibility.
We can also use social community forums like Facebook group Bungoma Digest to voice our concerns on governance issues in the counties. Lately, WhatsApp groups have also become popular in constructive criticism and debate and raising awareness on key governance issues that our leaders need to address. We could also use Webinars to educate and encourage the public to take responsibility for their civic rights.
It’s also time we face our leaders head-on and write them letters/emails that highlight key governance issues that they need to address. Whether it’s your MCA, MP, or Senator, you elected him or her and you have a right to tell them what you need to be done right. Gone are the days we took handouts and kept silent over key issues.
Thanks to the digital space we live in today there are lots of platforms we could use to highlight and launch campaigns that call on our leaders to respond and sort out governance issues affecting the public. Key platforms to use include Facebook, YouTube, WordPress, eBlogger, and Twitter.
For instance, Governor’s Wangamati’s administration is already grappling with a COVID-19 funds scandal that saw money (Ksh. 6 million) meant to buy handwashing jerricans being misappropriated by key county officials close to him. A social media campaign dubbed #Return COVID funds for Bungoma County could go a long way in bringing the much-needed accountability in our administration.