There are rumours.
There are rumours doing rounds in Nairobi, within our borders and beyond that our beautiful country is facing a possible secession. I’ve heard them and I’m sure you’ve heard them too, though you might choose to ignore them unlike me. We’ve even seen maps of the brand new republics on social media and other places.
As incredible as it may appear, Kenya is already sloughing into two distinct nations. One already baptised the “Central Republic of Kenya” while the other, “People’s Republic of Kenya”. And just like everything else, it was just an idea that existed but recently ignited by one Economist and Nasa strategist, David Ndii, just after the nullification of the presidential election by the Supreme Court.
“People feel they have been completely disenfranchised. But we’re clearly in a political environment that could start hurtling downhill and it could go in any direction,” — David Ndii
But it’s not the first time we are hearing this secession debate. Sometime back the Coastal region was pushing for self governance with “Pwani si Kenya” slogan and recently the Kilifi Governor, Amason Kingi and six Coast Opposition legislators have said they will push for secession of the Coast region if the electoral agency insists on holding the October 26 election without reforms.
They believe secession will enable the region, which was formally under the rule of the Sultan of Zanzibar, to govern itself for the good of Coast residents who have remained marginalised since Independence.
As much as we would like to believe that this secession debate is just another talk that will come to pass as time goes by, just like “Pwani si Kenya”, we should equally be prepared as a country to talk about it. Burying our heads in the sand is not going to help. Let’s talk about its genesis because there’s always a cause. What brought up the idea in the first place. Is it because of poor, imbalanced governance? Marginalisation like the argument of the Coastal people? Or is it because of tribalism?
A section of people who have been ” vumiliaring kuwa wakenya” for so long have run out of patience and can endure it no more! Their disgruntlement is slowly turning into a voice, and if not listened and tented to, will soon turn into a secession reality.
Personally, I come from Western Kenya, and I won’t lie that we are okay as a people in terms of development, just like I’ve written here a number of times. As much as we have lots of resources, arable and fertile land and enough rainfall, we are still lagging behind other regions in terms of development. Why?
Last week I was having a conversation with a friend of mine, a kikuyu — never been to Western Kenya — and I was basically trying to paint him a picture of the region as of now and trying to reason with him what it will mean to the country if it was empowered. I gave him an example of Manchester in the UK that is so well-developed that a rabbit farmer doesn’t have to board a train to London to get a market for his rabbits. We don’t have to come to Nairobi to get a decent and well-paying job. The country doesn’t have to split for Kisumu to be a regional hub or for the Sugar Industry — backbone of Western Kenya Economy —to thrive again!
I know that was the idea of devolution that we are yet to see its fruits. If the past regimes had left politics out of development, then we would not be here in this current stalemate as a country. We would be satisfied as a people, with enough jobs for every graduate. We would be a happy lot with no time to fight over who should be the president. It wouldn’t matter from which tribe the head of state comes from. No one will be having lots of free time to sit down and draw secession maps.
I love Kenya and I will hate to wake up one day and find it in the same shoes as that of South Sudan, our northern neighbour. Can you imagine applying for a passport just to visit Kiambu? Nah, something gotta be done before it’s too late. I want my great, great grand-children to be born in a United Kenya. Stop that ringing bell, but with wisdom for a long-lasting solution or we will be hearing it again.