Some days it is difficult to decide whether the devolution brought in under Kenya’s new constitution is really worth all the trouble and cost of its implementation. There’s also the question of the bemusement that some local policies give rise to.
HOW TO RIDE A BODA BODA
First to the bemusement.
Kisumu’s County Assembly has ordered women wearing skirts not to sit astride boda bodas to ensure that decency is maintained: “It portrays a bad image”, said Kisumu North ward representative Caroline Owen.
BRING US THE HEAD OF OTENYO NYAMATERERE
The Kisii County Assembly have passed a motion calling for the return of the skull of legendary warrior Otenyo Nyamaterere who was hanged by the colonial powers and his head allegedly taken to England during World War II.
INTER-MARRIAGE TO END INTER-COMMUNITY STRIFE?
There is now a bill in front of Baringo County Assembly that calls on the Pokot, Tugen and Ilchamus, to inter-marry with the long-term aim of ending the warring over cattle that has being going on between these communities for generations.
“Why don’t these two communities marry each other and be united naturally”, said Kabarnet Ward representative Johana Chebon who sponsored the bill, “This will definitely end aggression because the Pokots will not attack where their daughters are married”.
MORE LEADERS, MORE PROTECTION, MORE COST
Now to just one area of the cost of devolution.
The National Police Service (NPS) have reported that they overwhelmed by the demand for VIP protection being demanded by the new leaders of devolved government. It is now estimated that about 4,000 officers are deployed to protect prominent personalities and their homes, a doubling of the ‘security needs’ compared to the old system.
THE DEMANDS OF ‘PROMINENT INDIVIDUALS’
The problem has been exacerbated, it is claimed, by some of these ‘prominent individuals’ demanding as many as five times the numbers of security officers to which they are officially entitled.
Cabinet and Principal Secretaries, reported The Standard, are entitled to two guards to protect their homes but at least three such officials have 10 armed police guarding them with ‘chase cars’ in support.
The Standard also reported that Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho travels with up to 10 armed guards and an extra couple of cars.
There are good reasons for providing extra protection for some of these ‘prominent individuals’, says the Kenya Forum, and Governor Joho may well fall within that category, but for many others we believe its is just a case boosting their egos at taxpayers’ expense.