Devolution is the only hope that Turkana County and residents of the rest of northern Kenya have to transform their lives.
After more than 100 years of neglect, first by the colonial government and then the post-independent regimes, the region had been completely isolated and denied any meaningful economic development.
Now in the third year of devolution, Turkana’s expect to see more tangible development other than rhetoric that our leaders are treating us to. All we see is our politician engaging in political party coalition politics and now these supremacy wars are threatening our common dream.
Turkana still remains the poorest, hungriest and most illiterate county in Kenya. In the past two years, the county received billions of taxpayers’ and bilateral aid money for development. By now, we expected our local politician to show us the outcomes of devolved funds, development aid and private investments in Turkana since 2013.
However, the reality on the ground shows that local leaders have failed in service delivery and servant leadership. Instead, they are busy engaging in rent seeking activities and lots of blowing their own trumpets of little-known development records.
Meanwhile, poverty is deepening, inequality is widening, food insecurity is increasing, security is a mess and youth unemployment is a disaster in the county. It is time our local leaders explained to wananchi how they spent CDF, county funds, private investments and development aid funds, especially in the last three years. How many lives have they transformed? Have they provided access to quality healthcare, education, water, better rural roads and generally contributed significantly in lifting the Turkana people out of poverty since devolution?
Turkana residents are carefully auditing your performance from the election promises you gave in 2013. As we look forward to the next elections, our Members of the County Assemblies (MCAs), MPs, Senator, Governor and President - sit back and let your development record speak for you. In the remaining two years, we expect local and national leaders to pull up their socks.
Notably, we commend the organisers and sponsors of the Kenya “Champions Walk for Peace” initiative. We celebrate our veteran world athletes, local leaders and communities participating in the 836km walk from Lodwar to Lake Bogoria to preach peace and harmony in the seven conflict-prone counties in the North Rift.
It’s time we silenced the guns and embarked on reaping meaningful development benefits from devolution.