By The Coast Reporter
Tana River County Public Service Board has shortlisted 179 people for interviews for the 14 positions of County Chief Officers.
The board is set to interview the prospective officers from November 20 to December 2 2017, according to an advertisement placed in the county government’s website by board secretary Eunice Juma.
Among those shortlisted are two immediate former county executive committee (CEC) members Yusuf Adow Kuno Roads and Public Works CEC member) and Sofia Oblia Wedo (former Education CEC member), who aspire to take the lower position of Chief Officer for education.
There is also a host of immediate former chief officers and unsuccessful parliamentary aspirants in the list of shortlisted candidates published by the board on Friday November 3, 2017.
The department of education has the most shortlisted candidates, standing at 27, followed by that of Youth Affairs, Gender and Culture with 24 candidates and Trade with 21 candidates.
The lucrative department of finance has 19 shortlisted candidates who include the County Director of Development Planning, Mr. Lenox Chilumo Mbwana and assistant director of Revenue Frankjoy Kase Ddaiddo.
The Departments of Roads, Public Works and Lands has only four shortlisted candidates each.
Meanwhile the Tana River County Assembly is on Tuesday set to discuss and possibly approve the nomination of seven county executive committee members.
The County Assembly Appointments Committee vetted all the seven nominees of Governor Major (rtd) Dhadho Gaddae Godhana two weeks ago.
Leader of Majority Ibrahim Sala is expected to table the committee’s report on Tuesday Morning for members to give their input before either approving or rejecting some or all the nominees.
The nominees include current County Budget Controller Suleiman Yesse Buko (Finance) and a member of the County Public Service Board Abass Kunyo (Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Development and Veterinary Services.
The governor also nominated Mwanajuma Habwoka Mabuke of Action Aid Kenya to the department of Water, Energy, Environment and Natural Resources, Mrs. Khadija Harufa Algi (Public Service Management, Administration and ICT) and Mr. Adan Siyat Khalif to the Trade, Cooperative Development, Tourism and Industrialization.
Others are Eng. Stephen Wachira Kariuki (Roads, Public Works, Housing and Urbanization and Mr. Shukri Sugow Adhan (Education, Youth, Sports, Gender and Social Services). The governor is yet to present a nominee for the department of Health and Sanitation.
If approved, the names will be taken back to Governor Godhana, who is currently in the United Kingdom, for formal appointment.
Operations at the County Government have been left in the hands of directors after all the former CEC members and Chief Officers in the former regime were sent packing.
The County Public Service Board is set to interview 179 shortlisted candidates for the 14 departments from November 20, 2017 to December 2, 2017.
In Kilifi former gubernatorial candidate Prof Katana Gona is among a number of people who are to be vetted by the County Assembly for the positions of CeCs.
Katana had been earmarked for the position of County secretary but it’s not clear at the moment what transpired that led to the change of position.
Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission IEBC Returning officer for Changamwe Constituency Luciana Jumwa Sanzua is also short listed for the position of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries CeC.
Others are Samuel Kombe Nzai Finance and Economic planning, Mwachitu Karisa Kiring Water – Water, Environment, Natural Resources and Forestry, Dr Anisa Omar Health, Maureen Munyazi – Gender Social Services, Culture and Sports.
Former Technical University of Mombasa Vice Chancellor Prof Josphat Kazungu Mwatela is set to head the Roads, Public Works and Transport Docket while Charles Dadu Karisa will handle the Lands, Energy Housing and urban Development Department.
Devolution, Public Service and Disaster Management is earmarked for Rachael Musyoki who is currently heading the Health Department.
Nahida Mohammed Athman will be at the helm of the trade, Tourism and Cooperative docket when all goes well at the county assembly vetting exercise that is set to take place anytime from now.
By Prof. Dr. Halimu Shauri
There is a growing debate in the coast of Kenya that started in the yester years but has found a new rhythm and leadership. From the pre-independence, independence and post-independence Majimbo debate to secession under the predate irredentist Mombasa Republican Council (MRC) to the nascent oppositional political voices to secede, the song reverberates in the same crescendo. While the underlying reasons for secession have been compelling and rich in yielding the euphoria, the leadership and methodology has been in question. From historical injustices, marginalization and feelings of exclusion, especially among the youth because of runaway unemployment that stands at close to 40% to economic crisis and social vices of drug addiction and insecurity escalated by Al-shabaab returnees to the national presidential election hocus-pocus, the zeal to think of secession is in all time high and evident. You may be wondering what my position in this debate is. Secession or no secession, the million dollar question is seceding from what?
Allow me to begin from my historical articles that I have written in this and other local dailies that have been clear to the fact that Kenya is a political deterministic state. This is a kin to a scenario where all development decisions, economic, social and political, are made by politicians. You may be asking what is wrong with this. I would say there may be nothing wrong in this arrangement if the political leaders have the right technical and operational capacity to make such decisions. Indeed, from antiquity to date, the coast and indeed, the country, has been left to rulers who have not engineered real transformative agenda and hence development. For transformation to happen in a country or region there must be serious consideration for intellectual capacity for those who take up positions of power and responsibility. This intellectual capacity must have the ability to factor in all variables necessary to engineer transformative development. In fact, this must be an intellectual capacity that evokes and engineers transformative thoughts, ideas and things. Have we had such leaders in Kenya and the coast region in particular? This makes me to wonder and ask the question does the coast secede from Kenya or its political “leaders”?
Historically, I used to feel for the incapacitation of our politicians, all over the country, due to lack of resources but then I used to think they had the capacity for thought, ideas and hence things. However, the Constitution 2010 ushered a new down in Kenya under devolution, where financial power was moved, albeit partially, from the centre by 15% to counties. Though much (85%) of the financial muscle remains at the core (Central government), the periphery (Counties) have not yet had a significant foundation necessary for transformative take off after the first five year cycle of devolution. Am aware the core lacks transformative power in terms of development with the 85% tax payers’ money. This has in fact been one of the contentions between the ruling coalition (Jubilee) and the opposition (NASA), now aka National Resistant Movement (NRM) that has put the country at a cross road. How should Kenyans end this stalemate you may be worried? This can easily be remedied by devolving more resources to counties to reduce the allure to the presidency because of the power associated with the 85% resources retained centrally.
However, the reality of modern development must be understood and harnessed for our country and regions to flourish. This reality is neither economic nor is it political but in the middle and nursed by the new discipline political economy. This brings us back to our theme of this article with the question; do our leaders have an understanding of the political economy of the coast region? My answer to this question is an emphatic no. Thus, for coast to secede we must therefore have certain things right. Which things are these you may be wondering? Allow me today, because it’s a Monday, to talk only about one of the many pre-requisites of secession, which is leadership. What about leadership? I know you are asking.
From the political “leaders” we had in the election pre-date the one of August 8, 2017, the first under devolution, to date, the region has all the reasons to mourn. That is from MCAs, governors, women representatives, senators and MPs, very few have shown promise for the regional liberation agenda. Indeed, from coastal unity, fight against marginalization and historical injustices to drug addiction and insecurity due to radicalization and emergent criminal gangs, all have remained eye saws dotting the regional landscape. Whether the political “leadership” has an agenda for this growing desperation and hopelessness remains equivocal. The decades of my existence in the region, watching, experiencing and participating in supporting the super coast dream have taught me tough lessons about our politicians. These lessons have left me wondering about the nascent secession debate and I am asking myself seceding from what, our political “leaders” or from Kenya?
Allow me to enrich you with a few practical examples of my dilemma in trying to answer the question I have raised above. It is always valuable if one can be pragmatic about what they propose. Let me begin reawakening your intellect that coast is endowed with a rich and expansive marine resources spurning from Vanga in Kwale County bordering Tanzania to Kiunga in Lamu bordering Somalia. These resources are worth zillion of dollars if optimally exploited for the benefits of the people of the coast. If I may ask, who among the coastal “leaders” under the current devolution, if we don’t have to reverse our thoughts far away in the past, has invested in transformative thoughts, ideas and things to unlock this wealthy potential of the blue economy? The answer is an ardent none. Have these devolution “leaders” not had the resources and power to attract investors to do it? Are we aware of the billions they have received from the ex-chequer? Yes, but can they show what they have done with it? Many have been involved in “project air” that are neither here nor there. Do we then secede from our political “leaders” or Kenya?
Similarly, the coast is endowed with a rich agricultural land, where we produce, albeit, abundantly. More precisely, mangoes, oranges, coconut and Cashewnuts being favourite cash crops are produced in plenty. Have any of these political “leaders”, with Constituency Development Funds (CDF) held by Members of Parliament (MP), National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF) held by Women Representatives and devolved revenue and cess employed by the governors, engineered any agro-processing industries or value addition infrastructure? Have they attracted any investors or created conducive investment climate for their counties in the past five years? The answers to these questions are all no. Do we then secede from Kenya or from our political “leaders”?
The region is even richer with mineral resources and natural gas and other valuable and expensive game stones. Without much ado, the coast region in richer in substance, culture and civilization compared to other regions in the country. Nevertheless, do the coastal people and their political “leaders” know their worth? My answer is not better than yours. However, the mining that is already taking place in Kilifi and Kwale County has obviously had limited positive impact on the local communities in the concession areas. While the negative impacts are already becoming evident in these areas, it is apparent that locals have already moved from poverty to beggary and some to destitution. A casual visit in Kilifi salt mining and Kwale mining sites for example reveals a sad, sorry, desperate and hopeless state of community wellbeing. Are our political “leaders” blind to these realities? Or they are themselves suffering from the poverty of thought, ideas and things? If not, have they come up with any transformative thoughts, ideas and things with regard to these matters? Accordingly, do we secede from our political “leaders” or Kenya?
Further, for decades Pwani has been yearning and yapping for coastal unity. We must appreciate all the previous attempts to this fact because each one of them has brought us closer to this reality in our imaginations. The pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial political efforts and “leaders”, the professionals, especially the Coast Professional Forum (CPF) and during devolution, which was the closest, through the Jumuiya ya Kaunti za Pwani (JKP). The latter brought together all the six governors of the coast and other politicians working under the Article on intergovernmental cooperation in the Constitution 2010. This was a brilliant politico-economic corporation for the region, even better than secession I must attest. Why you may be asking? First, it was led by professionals devoid of political voilà and richer in trust by the public because of the scholars’ objective approach to issues. Second, it had the potential to harness internal (regional) and external (national and international) resources and ideas into the coastal pillars of social, economic and political stability and prosperity. What happened to JKP? It was conceived with pomp, colour and dance overtly, but inherently with hate, trickery and internal political predilections that the academicians, because of who they are, just objective scientists, were not privy of. What happened then you may still be waiting for a response? It moved straight from inception to ICU and ever since it has been ailing in its sick bed curtesy of coastal political “leadership” squabbles. Accordingly, do we secede from Kenya or our own political “leaders”?
Allow me to remind you that devolution which we celebrated so much because the region had been ever pro-Majimbo has not brought the transformation we all desired. Though we did not get the real Majimbo that we have been fighting for, the small Jimbos (counties) could have been managed and harnessed well, especially in the framework of JKP we would have been there or at least on the way there. Why do I bring devolution in this secessation debate? I know you are asking yourself. Relax; I bring devolution because of the enormous resources involved. While our “leaders” had been blaming the central government for underdevelopment and exclusion in our areas, devolution was to be a panacea for this problem. They used to speak openly that they had thoughts, ideas and things to implement but central government was stingy or did not release development resources to them. Devolution therefore gave us the money, albeit 15% of the national cake.
The coast region has only Lamu which receives lesser budget of close to 3 billion, the rest, Kwale, Taita Taveta, Mombasa receives closer to 8 billion, with Tana River and Kilifi receiving more billions per year. If we calculate for the last five years, Lamu County, the least had pocketed close to 15B, with Kilifi County, the highest in the region and fourth in the country because of additional equalization fund with 9.6B for five (5) years coming to more than 48B. But what is a billion if I may ask? A billion has nine (9) zeros, literary meaning it is equivalent to a Thousand Million (Kshs. 1000, 000, 000). In lay counting, one, ten, hundred and a thousand millions. Thus, Kilifi alone in the five years of devolution had received approximately (Kshs. 48, 000,000,000). What major flagship and transformative projects have these counties undertaken that are visible to our senses today? If you can identify some in your county, what has been their impact in transforming the lives of the locals? Indeed, do we secede from Kenya or from our political “leaders”?
Let us look finally at the combined effect of monetary stamina of the six counties at the coast region with all the billions they have received five years after the first tranche of devolution. The figures are coming closer to Kshs. 200, 000,000,000 minus internal revenue in form of cess and service charge among other local taxes. Accordingly, what is the push to secede? If we are interested in regionalism, then let our political “leaders” embrace JKP and pull all these resources in the six counties for the benefit of the region. In fact, from the leadership mishaps narrated in this article and from pragmatism, there is no greater secession in the world than to secede our communities from poverty and hopelessness. My unsolicited advice is to ask our political “leaders” to focus on real thoughts, ideas and things that matter in the lives of the coastal people. Accordingly, I urge all coastal communities to make the correct secession decision and humbly resist being part and parcel of endless dreams laced with overt ingredients of personal interests, fame and political relevance amidst past under delivery of their political mandates.