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Document is in every sense a majimbo constitution

Sunday May 30 2010

By KOIGI WA WAMWERE

KENYA HAS GONE FULL CIRCLE to the majimbo constitution of 1963. Unnoticed, an ethnic scramble for Kenya has been going on and has now culminated in an agreement that we shall ratify in a referendum on August 4.

The agreement, not between people and leaders, but between elites of various ethnic communities, is the new constitution.

Though written with the blood of the victims of negative ethnicity, amazingly, the new constitution is silent on this ideology that is almost singularly responsible for our problems today.

But this is not by accident or default. It is for a good purpose by those who view negative ethnicity not as an enemy but as an ally.

ABLY AIDED BY HIGHLY-CONCEALED negative ethnicity, the new constitution has carved Kenya into 47 counties and given Kikuyus 7, Kalenjins 6, Coastals 5, Somalis 5, Luos 4, Luhyas 5, Kambas 3, Maasais 3, Merus 2, Abagusii 2, Embus 1, Taitas 1, Turkanas 1, Pokots 1 and Nairobians 1.

The scramble for Kenya is driven by negative ethnicity, hence the loud failure by the new constitution to declare war on it.

If the new constitution wins in the referendum, elections for county governors will follow, also driven by the negative ethnicity of voters electing governors from their own communities only.

Though unstated in the proposed constitution, elections will turn counties into the ethnic states we were before the white man set foot in Kenya, with seven sister counties ruled by Kikuyu governors, six by Kalenjin governors, five Somali governors, four by Luo governors, and another four ruled by Luhya governors.

In other words, every county will be ruled by a governor from its own majority community until the map of Kenya is full of ethnic colours.

Unlike today when a Kikuyu can be a provincial commissioner in Nyanza, a Kalenjin in Central Province or a Somali in Rift Valley, in the Kenya of counties, no county will have a governor from outside the majority community.

Under the new constitution, a Luo will never be governor in Kiambu, Kikuyu in Mandera or Kalenjin in Siaya.

As various ethnic communities take over exclusive governance of their counties, Kenya as we know it will cease to be.

With negative ethnicity firmly in the saddle of county politics, ethnic minorities will be accommodated in the counties of ethnic majorities but on terms of second class citizenship.

Notwithstanding, Kikuyu, Luo, Kamba and other elites have embraced majimbo because they will be their masters and beneficiaries.

In counties where ethnic majorities are not clear or ethnic minorities are strong as in Nakuru, Migori, Trans Nzoia and Nairobi, ethnic groups will fiercely contend for political and resource control.

The new constitution calls these ethnic counties devolution. More correctly, it should call them ethnic devolution or majimbo.

Counties will be nothing but majimbo where ethnic majorities will take the lion’s share of power and resources and ethnic minorities, the crumbs.

In the name of devolution and ethnic parity, as power will go to leaders of ethnic majorities, smaller jobs will also go to locals, not so-called “foreigners”.

The Yes side will, however, say the new constitution talks of no majimbo anywhere. Correct, but a lion called “sheep” will remain a lion, majimbo called counties will remain majimbo.

IF ETHNIC COUNTIES WILL BALKANISE Kenya, it will be dismembered by historical land injustices pursued by ethnic communities against others.

To redress these injustices committed against every Kenyan community by colonialism, and aggravated by the greed of African leaders after independence, we may need to dismember Kenya — also a product of historical land injustices — and evict millions to restore their land to communities that owned it before colonialism.

With historical land injustices, the new constitution opens a Pandora’s box whose demons could destroy us all. No wonder African founding fathers decided not to disturb them at independence.

Mr Wamwere is the author of Towards Genocide in Kenya, The Curse of Negative Ethnicity.

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