By Farah Yare
In North Eastern Kenya, there is a new cash cow that every Ali, Abdi and Asha wants to take control of. They call it ‘kontrokti’ . This is none other than a Somalization of the English word – contract.
From Garissa to Wajir all the way to Mandera, the new market frontier that is the target of every other businessman/woman is getting a contract. A contract to build classrooms somewhere. A contract to gravel some roads or fill pot holes. The list of contracts is endless.
I am amazed by the common driving force of all those seeking the so called contracts. Your guess is as good as mine. To make a kill. The end product? Shoddy work.
Politicians and those in office use the award of contracts to reward their supporters or attract new ones. If you are not politically correct, sharing the kill may land you one but in most cases the share of the awarding party is paid up front.
If you walk around, you will find a lot of shoddy work and a lot of other white elephant projects. One thing that these guys are forgetting is the fact that by awarding contracts to someone who cannot deliver, you are selling off your country. The classroom that is built in a sub standard way may not last longer for your grandchildren to sit in one day. The poorly done roads may not last longer to give you a comfortable drive one day. Remember nothing is permanent in this World and one day one time, you- the awardee or awarded of a certain contract, may need to use the same project. Regretting will not help you then.
Corruption is also taking its tall on us. Nowadays, the number of registered companies outnumber the population of Kenya. Most of these are brief case companies with no offices, equipment and staff to deliver the jobs they are bidding for. The owners of the said companies have no knowledge of their fields of operation too. It is not a wonder that you find a construction company with all the necessary documentation, run by somebody who has never seen the inside of a classroom. The only asset of such a company may be a Toyota Hilux the owner bought from a previous kill.
Having said all these, I am not in any way suggesting that all contractors are ill equipped. There are a few well staffed, well equipped and well run firms but am not exonerating them from blame too. With all their correctness, they may still do shoddy work in the name of making ‘good profit’. A well known contractor whom I once interviewed told me on condition of anonymity that it is very hard to deliver quality service because if you do so, you will not get your mathematics right. You will not make ‘profit’.
“You need to grease the hands of the awarding parties, you need to meet your operating costs, you have to make profit. You can not afford to make losses in the name of delivering quality service. So we have to balance” he said.
In conclusion, let me request all parties concerned to be patriotic and have the interest of ‘wananchi’ at heart. Award contracts to those who can deliver quality service. Those who have the necessary skills and equipment to carry out the required tasks. To those who seek contracts, if you know that you don’t have the necessary skills, manpower and equipment to carry out a job, don’t bid for it.
Remember on the day of judgment you’ll be audited by your creator the Almighty Allah and you’ll have to account for your income and expenditure. So, audit yourself before you are audited!
Mr. Farah is a concerned citizen of this Great region of North Eastern Kenya. The views expressed here are his own and do not necessarily represent those of Nepjournal.com