We made our bed so we must lie on it
04 September 2013, 17:38
The pomp and color that were the celebrations of the promulgation of the new constitution three years ago was astronomical. A new constitutional dispensation was finally here with us and we largely voted for the constitution with those opposed to it eventually joining the fore in ensuring its implementation.
Not only would governance be improved but also, in effect, service delivery. A key aspect of the then new constitution was devolution. Devolution would involve the decentralisation of the government and ensure that services and governance was taken closer to the people in the created counties. Jobs would be created at the county level and development projects initiated through the devolved system of government. All rosy, it seemed.
A huge factor of the constitution that we overly chose to ignore, was the cost of its implementation.
The county system has structures that would need funding. Structures that have to be in place to ensure that devolution is effected. We saw the signs early enough.
In fact, in one of the local dailies, retired President Moi described the then promulgated Kenyan constitution as the most expensive to implement world over. He could not have been much farther from the truth. Had we cared to read and internalise the constitution, we could have realised back then, what we were getting ourselves into.
But here we are now. Which is still alright.
There is no opportunity to go into the past. It is a bygone.
We cannot go back to the old constitutional order. We have to work with what we have now.
The cost of running any country is incurred by no one else but the citizens of the said country. Donors and other aid sources may come in handy but the financial burden of running the country solely lies on the citizens. This can and is only achieved through revenue collection.
The levels of taxation have skyrocketed in the recent past. We are all up in arms against the government due to the same.
The government has an external debt of KES 843.56 Billion as of June 2013, according to the Central Bank of Kenya. It is a debt we have to pay.
We have to run this country, remember. The constitution has to be implemented. We must cater for the ever increasing clamor for huge perks.
The recently concluded national wide teachers' strike saw the government cave in to pressure to increase the teacher’s salaries. We were all up in arms in support of the teachers as we wallowed in the oblivion of the consequences of increased salaries not only for teachers but for everyone else that may chose to go down the same road.
Where would the government source the funds to cater for the increased salaries? We hardly stopped to question ourselves.
Yes, the government also bears the blame for not cutting down on its expenditure - uncalled for overseas trips on every small opportunity, the clamor for increased salaries by members of parliament, senators, governors, women representatives and county representatives, to mention but a few.
We decided to go into a devolved system of government by promulgating the constitution. It is a great system whose positive effects we will find out in a couple of years especially if our leaders focus on development and job creation at the county level.
For now, let us lie on the bed that we made.
Pancras Mutuma is a Public Relations and Marketing Consultant based in Nairobi.
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