If you listened keenly to President Ruto’s speech in Homa Bay, the resources he pledged to deliver to Homa Bay in under one year seem to me to be more than what the national government under Uhuru Kenyatta delivered in 10 years.
In Homa Bay, and this holds to much of the commonwealth of Luo Nyanza, for the last 10 years, one has to use a microscope to pick what Uhuru actually did here. Ugly as it is, this is a fact.
During handshake, the totality of Luo Nyanza was reduced to Kisumu County. Much of what Uhuru did post-handshake, he did it in Kisumu. And even there in Kisumu, it was just a market that’s not in use, a port that’s big on paper, and one or two roads, in infancy.
I am not blaming President Uhuru. Luo Nyanza did not vote for him. Hence, whatever he did in Luo Nyanza, however meagre, was still better than NOTHING.
What am saying though is that if President Ruto goes ahead to put the resources he pledged in Homa Bay, he will dwarf what Uhuru did, and even Kibaki.
Luo Nyanza in the last 20 years has recieved a raw deal from successive national governments. The pace of development has lagged, with each regime doing the very bare minimum. It started with the Grand Coalition.
In the last 10 years, much of what’s happened in Luo Nyanza has been out of the county governments. They did this with budgets that were less than the allocations to some departments in some ministries.
The disempowerment of Luo Nyanza has been due to the failure of our region to win power, and, even more egregious, our post-election brinksmanship toward the new regimes.
On the first charge, the Luo must continue to seek political power, for itself, and for any greater good we think we are pursuing.
What we must change, in my view, is how we respond to electoral outcomes that do not favour us. Put more directly, how our leaders behave after electoral loss determines how our region develops. I am happy to report that there is progress on this end, not from our leaders, but by our people.
My last thought on this is to urge the Luo to remain cautious even as we breathe. To paraphrase Charles Dickens, to us: “it is the best of times, it is the worst of times, it is the age of wisdom, it is the age of foolishness, it is the epoch of belief, it is the epoch of incredulity, it is the season of Light, it is the season of Darkness, it is the spring of hope, it is the winter of despair.”
I conclude by saying, we hold the trump, we have nothing to lose and everything to gain.