By Ismail Arale Aligure
Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing–John Stuart Mills
In the circumstances of life, all is to be anticipated, or so it’s said, this has been the solace statement for Garissa County residents in the aftermath of 2013 gubernatorial elections. Yet again, residents are agonizing over deferred hopes, and dreams long neglected and discriminated by successive regimes that was presumptively brought nearer by the promulgation of the Constitution of Kenya in 2010 was once again – deferred. Unfathomable!
Due to a multiplicity of unfortunate fortuitous happenstances, Nathif Jama, a man whose personality was at best unknown–was elected to the Office of Governor of Garissa County. Yet, it’s this very mystery that instanced his election to office. See, beyond his glitter–face, nothing was notable about the man’s personality. With a firm Qur’anic foundation, Nathif sounded so believable while on the campaign trail, however, it is since an open secret that Nathif neither says nor does in private, what he says in public.
From his inauguration day, his public pronouncements were full of misstatements, scattershot statements and incoherent flow of unrelated utterances delivered in a strand of sentences given in Arabic, Swahili and English, which left audiences more confused and much less informed.
It was quickly noted that his few development agenda highlights enunciated during the campaigns, were fragments of nothingness, confirming long held fears that his was dupe agenda to the electorate and really a make believe development paradigm undeserving of any thought. It isn’t baffling then that Four (4) years into his term, Nathif’s development discourse was a mirage and that, he is averse to key governance lexicons like oversight and accountability, which would otherwise have been the guiding light for any effective governance, oriented leader.
A key observant would realize that our Governor suffers from an acute poverty of imagination; aren’t we then too irrational to be expectant of progress in the circumstance? Look, the man approaches high- minded development discourses with rudimentary logic. Even his inner-circle concede that internally he comes off as a micro in thought and action and that his approach to management is that of a micro-managing administrative monarch–a repulsive management approach themed on draining every dime of the county coffers. Yet, others argue that the phenomenon is perhaps a nagging hangover from his protracted practice in the Arab world; one only wonders why his choice of intellectual take-away from the array of abundant brilliance was the hidebound management approach. Cumulatively, the Governor’s thoughts and actions are regulated not by universality or rationality but arbitrary inclinations and irrational considerations.
People have since noted that the man is so used to stealing public resources that he suddenly believes that he can steal the truth too. This ill-embracing man attempts to achieve ill ends by peddling some cheap and illogical dogmatic political concoctions laced with clannish prejudices. Often, when confronted with hard facts, he comes up with some of the most factually and logically tortured narratives to firm up his failed government. I mean the fellow hasn’t conceptualized democracy, his, is a timocracy that epitomizes irrational ambition and unbridled love of honor without merit.
On clan relations, it’s his conviction that your clan lineage betrays your political inclination; consequently, your access to opportunity is premised on your tribal extraction. To the naysayers, a quick review of the recruitments and contract award data shall come in handy. That the few beneficiary contractors from his political ‘adversary’ community shall brace for the double jeopardy of not getting paid too after spending their life savings towards projects (awarded contracts) implementation has since come to pass. Unfortunately, it has since become a coercive electoral tool and strategies for re-election…elect me if you want to ever get paid.
When held to account for flagrant disregard to policy and procedure, he would blabber, bluster and blather, churning out a trail of blames and passing the buck accusing anyone at sight mostly senior politicians hailing from the county of interference, facts that are only meant to seek empathy from a section of the populace. To confirm his resentment to reason and rationality, the Governor loudly rumbles of being slowed down by court cases; surprisingly, the same court cases he claims hampering his development goals failed to curb and stop his unmatched looting spree, in essence affirming his pretentious disregard for the rule of law and furthering a cover-up strategy and the inherent incapacity to harness progress and development.
May you also know that Justice and fairness principles–the imperatives for pursuit of progress in society never register in Nathif’s sense of realization! The investment Banker (not banker as he loudly proclaims), who has been flat-lying in one position for ages, relates to these rights as foreign concepts and believes that it is the end that justifies the means, and that no matter how unconscionable his actions are, he must, by any means necessary achieve his phony objectives.
Nathif’s brand of corruption is that which tailors policy and selective implementation of regulations and targets them towards personal ends or at worst for a favored class sharing in the criminal proceeds with an intended cumulative result of preserving political support and power. Make no mistake though, the devastating effects of this evil acts of Nathif are more discernible when viewed holistically as part of plans to suppress development and forever condemn populations to poverty and disease, this from a Muslim leader, as a matter of fact, is nothing less than devilish.
The Governor and Corruption are akin to Siamese twins. He isn’t bothered by the impact of corruption to the populace and that effects of corruption are most harmful to the developmental trajectory for any society. For him, the magnitude and scale of the scam he is presiding upon aren’t a bother as long as they are fit for purpose. Doesn’t he find it obscene to EVEN plunder revenue generated by Garissa Water and Sewerage Company (GAWASCO) occasioning its inability to provide water to residents of Garissa Township? Look, Garissa Municipal Council, with its meager resources supplied the precious commodity to all areas with water infrastructure. And if the Garissa Township residents, who reside within one (1) Kilometer of Tana River can’t access water, can the residents of Modogashe, Sangailu, Dertu and Galmagalla even remotely hope to ever get clean, safe drinking water under Nathif’s administration? Isn’t this a typical indicator of the effect of looting of public resources?
In Garissa County, things like directing financial resources to areas with development gaps aren’t a consideration. Instead, development is driven by the highest bribe-giver; this means, he who pledges to give the most bribe soonest shall choose the project type, project location and project cost; realize that the project financial ceiling shall ONY be limited by the financial capacity and willingness of the bribe-giver and not the universally accepted practice, policy or fiscal estimates for the financial year. The possibility that a self celebrating financial expert couldn’t apply the golden rule of financial probity in exercising fiscal prudence and fiduciary management, only points to a simple conclusion that from the start, he couldn’t tell his ears from his elbow on matters of governance and public management
In an alternative jurisdiction, where accountability and transparency are the jewel of governance and institutions show fidelity to mandate, Nathif won’t be part of our electoral discourse; instead, his steadfast pursuit for re-election despite the definite incurable intrinsic inadequacies are sure affirmation of the societal and institutional malady afflicting our collective conscience.
It is without doubt that even the most gullible and planless manager will have a worksheet of activities to justify his pay. Any worthy and self conscious being will be concerned about the legacy they leave behind. At the end of his tumultuous reign he has nothing to show of the historic momentous opportunity he had to mark his name with a golden ink, instead leaving behind a county without a physical address , still a tenant and a lodger at the provincial HQ, ministries without offices facing eviction threats from unpaid landlords, bloated payroll filled to the brim with nepotically appointed unskilled, unqualified , unaccountable ghost workers, unaudited mounting public debt, a divided, disillusioned and unpredictable former cohesive communities who have now resigned to fate, skeptical of any sweet-talking, Aayah-spewing, glib and assuredly polished politicians.
To the many who derive their actions and deeds from the unpolluted humanistic and holistic inner thoughts and subconscious civility, the ouster of Nathif and rescuing of the Greater Garissa County from unmitigated imminent political, social and economic collapse is both civic and Devine calling that all must answer. To the few tribally indoctrinated, emotionally intoxicated with carefully administered dosage of hate-filled sermons culminating with the clarion call…” it’s our time to eat”; it’s a rosy picture of a golden era worth defending to death.
In the final analysis, we must all strive to incinerate Nathif’s political and development concepts from the core of our morals. And so shall we all rise and appeal to our better selves, counteract the devilish narrative of this administration and deal with the development anti–climax situation by seeking justice, fairness and prosperity for the general good. And to paraphrase John Stuart Mill’s, “either we choose to reach for the stars or continue flirting with peril.”
As for the Governor, may you realize that Moneymaking is not a destination, for money is a shifting target, the populace isn’t as naive as you may believe and that your personality is now known. And so the gallant sons and daughters of the County whose bonds are inextricably linked shall stand to be counted for their destiny is in their hands; yet again they’ll all rise to conquer all the social and economic atrocities committed against the innocent residents of Garissa County for the last four (4) years.
Ismail Arale Aligure
The writer is a legal practitioner and a commentator on topical issues.
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