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Leadership and Governance The Wajir County Headache By Adan Salah Abdi {adansalah_2012@hotmail.

com}

The funfair and glamour that characterized the promulgation of the new constitution is over and now we are in the implementation phase where so many important bills are near or completely passed already. One of the notable Bills is the devolution bill where the task force led by university don, Mutakha Kangu proposed radical changes at the county level. The uphill task of implementing the constitution will be over come next year and we will embark on serious business of seeing the real fruits of the new constitution and where everyone will be minding their business. Allow me to explore a specific issue enshrined in the constitution-the county governments. It is an open secret that every county is expected to manage its affairs and Wajir County is no exception. This is where my problem analysis begins. Oblivious of the opportunities at stake, several individuals have declared their interests in vying for local positions at the county level. New faces are endorsed in five star hotels in Nairobi and in informal setups such as under acacia trees cocooned by their ethnic chieftains. Interestingly, the list of contenders continues to surge by the day, professionals, civil service retirees, youth and politicians that cut across age and gender. There is no problem in declaring interest, infact; nothing can stop one from vying for a position provided he or she meets the requirements set by the constitution. However, societal interest overruns that of the individual. We should acknowledge that the journey ahead of us is rough, we are literally starting from the scratch owing to discriminative policies and neglect by successive political regimes. We are behind in terms of development and faces immense challenges such as lack of employment, hunger and thirst such as this perennial drought we are facing now which has never been witnessed for the last six decades, ill-equipped hospitals, Lack of clean water, poor student performance in the national final exams, not to mention the word infrastructure as it doesnt exist in our vocabulary among others, and we are expected to favorably compete with counties that have strong, well established structures, a network of roads and other infrastructure, higher natural and human resource endowment. This Herculean task requires individuals that have displayed exemplary leadership in their respective areas of concern, as a society we should separate the chaff from the grain, gauge the performance of these individuals aspiring to lead-their track record. One cannot claim to be good leader all of a sudden; we know all these people and their input to society prior to the time of declaring interest in governance and leadership. Remember in every five years we elect leaders to present us at the national level, but they forgot their primary purpose of serving the people they represent and sometimes we never hear a word from them for quite sometimes, and most of them pay their loyalty to authorities who are of higher rank or power forgetting their electorate who are living in abject poverty and indeed we as the electorate are to blame as we elect leaders on the basis of clan affiliations and whose pocket is deep enough to cater for handouts hence we get leaders we deserve

What is required are individuals that have quality education and experience, observe high moral as well as ethical values and are conscious of the task, duties, rights, responsibilities and challenges appertaining to leading the County to prosperity. Their clan or their physical orientation doesnt matter provided they pass the impartiality test. Those who get elected should realize that their positions are an embodiment of the will and mandate of the people. They must at all times uphold their oath of office, committed to unbiased quality service delivery. Patron-client politics has no place in the modern Wajir County that we all aspire to witness. The electorate too has a role to play. They should actively participate in the political process by regularly checking on the actions and performance of the leadership. However, this is not an easy task since majority of the residents do not know their rights and due to high level of illiteracy in the county there is little awareness of holding to task to these individual, It is inevitable, therefore, that vigorous and comprehensive civic education be availed to the people. This task is upon me and you to ensure that our people understand and they dont need to sell their votes in exchange for those dirty few shillings that politicians flood with the environments and instead think about the future of their children which is at stake. Those who subscribe to the school of thought that believe a prosperous and united Wajir county is unrealistic should shed off their pessimism. I believe if we elect competent and just leaders that are accountable to the people, nothing can stop us from achieving our dream of prosperity and peace that has been illusive for close to half a century. Lets all shun negative ethnicity,decivive politics that is based on reer (clannism) which has created a buffer zone among communities for a long period of time in Northern part of the country and we should embark on the serious business of nation building. I have a dream of witnessing a vibrant, productive and developed Wajir County that is devoid of poor leadership. Together we can achieve this dream through unity, commitment ndselflessness.INSHALLAH .