Monday, October 22, 2007
It is Majimbo-Stupid!
Story by MAZERA NDURYA and MATHIAS RINGA
Publication Date: 10/22/2007
Only a federal system of government (majimbo) can uplift the living standards of Kenyans, ODM-K presidential candidate Kalonzo Musyoka said on Sunday.
ODM Kenya presidential candidate Kalonzo Musyoka acknowledges greetings from party supporters during a rally at the Tononoka grounds in Mombasa yesterday. He said his party would introduce federalism if it wins the December election. He is the second presidential candidate to make a similar pledge. The other is Mr Raila Odinga of ODM. Photo/GIDEON MAUNDU.
He said majimbo had been misconstrued to look like a recipe for chaos by its opponents and this had instilled fears among Kenyans, yet it was a harmless system that would guarantee equitable distribution of wealth.
“Majimbo simply means a region and was well defined in the Bomas draft constitution which was well received by majority of the people of Kenya,” he said.
According to him, only a few individuals in the Party of National Unity (PNU) were against what was good for Kenyans.
He said that the Bomas draft had identified various regions that would form jimbos. These were Luo Nyanza, the greater Kisii, upper Rift, South Rift, Central, Central Eastern, Lower Eastern and Coast among others.
Mr Musyoka was speaking at Tononoka Grounds in Mombasa at the climax of his three–day campaign tour of the Coast Province.
Giving examples of disparities in the distribution of resources, he said Coast Province contributed Sh57 billion to the Treasury in 2003 but still lacked basic infrastructure.
During the same period Nairobi gave Sh129 billion while Central Province delivered about Sh1 billion. But when it came to disbursement of funds, he said Central Province gets the lion’s share while the Coast got very little.
“Majimbo is the only system that can correct the imbalance in the distribution of the national cake. Regions like the Coast that produce a lot of revenue have to get their rightful share to address economic and social development,” he said. According to him, the area had been marginalised for many years “and this must come to an end.”
PNU has strongly opposed majimbo, saying that it would divide the country along ethnic lines and that it might trigger chaos.
Some PNU leaders have said that people who do not come from particular regions will be evicted by indigenous people. However, both ODM and ODM-K have said this would not happen.
The position taken by Mr Musyoka contradicted that of his party secretary-general, Mr Mutula Kilonzo, who said majimbo was an idea whose time came and went and it should be left to rest.
“It is unfortunate that men and women who were teenagers or younger when the debate for majimbo in the 1960s polarised the country should be the ones to bring it back,” he said.
“It is a political backslide and worse, they are confusing federalism as a political system with Majimbo, a tribal snake pit,” Mr Kilonzo said in his opinion piece.
Mr Musyoka, who praised the system, asked Coast residents to reject PNU and Shirikisho Party of Kenya whose leaders have opposed to majimbo.
“After sensing defeat, these people are now creating fear yet they know too well that Coast people and others from marginalised communities have suffered under the unitary system,” he said.
Earlier, Mr Musyoka had pledged to engineer economic and social change in the country if he wins the General Election.
He said: “Today, I take this opportunity to make a solemn pledge of ensuring that there is change in this country should I win the top seat.
“It is evident that majority of Kenyans are hit hard by poverty making life for them unbearable. I will ensure equitable distribution of the national cake to benefit all and sundry.”
The Mwingi North MP spoke at the Jesus Celebration Centre in Bamburi where he attended a service before addressing a well attended rally at the Tononoka Grounds.
At the rally, Bahari MP Joe Khamisi said he was shocked by President Kibaki’s rejection of majimbo but assured Kenyans that ODM-K will revive the Bomas draft which contains the tenets of the system. “It is sad that Shirikisho Party of Kenya whose ideology is against unitary government has now joined PNU which is opposed to majimbo,” he said.
He said president Kibaki was solely to blame for the problems that Kenyans were facing and should stop blaming it on the opposition.
“I do not deny the fact that I served in both Moi and Kibaki governments but I was just a mere minister who had no powers to authorise anything because the Presidents had all the powers to make things happen,” he said.
Mr Musyoka said if elected, his administration would set up a metropolitan police force in Nairobi and Mombasa to root out insecurity and allow businesses to operate round the clock.
“Hawkers have suffered for long in the hands city askaris but promised to turn hawking into cottage industry to enable small scale traders do their business in dignity and build a strong economy,” he said.
Mr Musyoka said the Muslim community in Kenya was being cheated by some leaders who want to use them for their political gains then dump them.
Muslims have rights like all other Kenyans and this will be guaranteed under an ODM K government, he said.
His running mate, Dr Julia Ojiambo said cases of insecurity were rampant and this had caused bitterness among Kenyans. She called on Kenyans to vote for Mr Musyoka because he was focused on security and peace.
She also urged wananchi to avoid violence during the campaigns.