By DR. M.Y. ELMI
Wajir County Government blundered their golden inaugural opportunities in the last financial year to develop and transform Wajir County from poverty stricken county to middle income county, through prudent use of allocated resources and existing opportunities.
Being a pioneer government and with sufficient resources from the central Government consisting of more than five billion shillings, the performance of the county government according to most of the citizenry was below par and expectation.
Most of the resources were used to for political expediency as a payback for election debts to political cronies who were the financiers of the last general election rather than fulfilling election pledges. The government officials adapted lavish lifestyle and expeditious administrative spending on travel, workshops, seminars and salaries with little consideration for development agenda.
The County Government of Wajir is allocated 6.2 billion for this financial year to the exclusion of conditional allocation funds. Both the commission for Revenue Allocation (CRA) and Controller of Budget want counties to adhere to legal requirements in preparation of their budget which must have public participation.
The prudent use of financial resources requires good governance. Good governance is an indeterminate term used in international development literature to describe how public institutions conduct public affairs and manage public resources. The concept of “good governance” often emerges as a model to compare ineffective economies or political bodies with viable economies and political bodies, which is centered around the responsibility of governments and governing bodies to meet the needs of the masses as opposed to select groups in society.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) declared in 1996 that “promoting good governance in all its aspects, including by ensuring the rule of law, improving the efficiency and accountability of the public sector, and tackling corruption, as essential elements of a framework within which economies can prosper”
The Wajir County Government in its current form is laden with work force selected through mediocrity that are largely inept and inefficient who cannot produce the required budget and invite public participation as required by law. There is conspicuous manifestation of massive corruption and other forms of bad governance.
The famous American declaration for independence of 1776 states in part” ….We hold these truths to be self- evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are life, liberty and pursuant of happiness ,that to secure these rights government are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the governed, that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it’s the right of the people to alter or to abolish, and to institute new government , laying the foundation on such principals and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness…”
In this regard, history has been very cruel to leaders to perform below the expectation of the people. April 23 marks the birthday of James Buchanan one of the former American presidents, the man regarded by many historians as the worst president in American history. He was elected president in 1856 and did not seek for re-election in 1860. He was preceded by Abraham Lincoln and he reportedly told Lincoln “If you are happy entering the presidency as I am leaving it, then you are very happy man” So what did Buchanan do to earn the disrespect of many people? His apparent indifference to the onset of the American civil war and the resultant economic recession that followed riled up so many people. Just before his death in 1868 he said “History will vindicate my memory from every unjust aspersion” In fact history did not vindicate him. Buchanan has been ranked among the three worst presidents in America in every poll and survey conducted since 1948.
The leadership of Wajir County government shares with Bochanan, the attitude of indifference to the suffering of the poor and underprivileged of people of Wajir County and misplaced arrogance.
To the people of Wajir County, If I may ask, is another Bochanan in the making in Wajir County?
Time will surely tell.
Dr. Elmi is the Director of Garissa Campus, Mount Kenya University.