In November 1863, President Abraham Lincoln defined ideal democracy as “government of the people, by the people, for the people.” That was during the Gettysburg address. In other words, democracy is a way of governing in which the people control their affairs, by participating in making decisions about how they are governed. Democracy takes varied forms, including “direct democracy” (political decisions made directly by all the citizens and policies decided by majority rule) and “representative democracy” (one in which the people exercise their political rights indirectly through elected representatives, with legal limitation imposed by the Constitution). Students of Politics would agree that it would be difficult to practice a true representative democracy, which experts believe is the most common type of democratic government in this 21st Century, without a functional Constitution.
The good of democracy has been to assure everyone a decent standard of living, decent housing, medical care and education and old people’s care. And “equality” of opportunity (and not equality in every respect of life) is a word commonly associated with democracy, as everyone has the natural rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” And relatively, there is ‘justice for all,’ as laws are enforced equally and democratic means are employed to achieve some measure of economic justice (through wealth redistribution) or economic democracy (providing equality of opportunity for all).
What form of democracy is Isiolo practicing? This year , He’s Excellency Gvn Doyo celebrated fourth year of county rule in garbatulla few months ago and now you here he gonna celebrate mashujaa with hungry residents of MERTI (after the destructive years of looting puplic) but critics (including this writer) dismissed the exercise as a celebration of poverty. Everyone (with the exception of those connected to the gods embezzling teamate) would agree that there is nothing like democracy in Isiolo county, yet. Well-meaning Isiolians, including the HGR,Mifereji,RDJ and self proclaim senior aspirant Hon KK, concurred with critics that democracy remains elusive because its key elements are still lacking in Isiolo county political sphere.
A quick review of Isiolo’s political history shows that the people’s political rights have been limited a good example being former assistant minister doctor Abdullahi Hajj Wako,HGR and many other potentials since the reprise of the present bogaboo rule. The political godfathers and their godsons did not allow them to participate in the 2013 elections and they have been denied any contributions in their governance. The economy remains weak (due to corruption, insecurity, poor economic policies, dysfunctional social infrastructure and visionless leadership) and people are hungry and angry. Thus the people celebrated sorrow and suffering in the land, and not democracy!
And since “democracy” resurfaced the corrupt and big jaws generals that set back the ticking clock of democracy in the society are still being honored and worshipped. As the Economists of this day noted many of the streets in Isiolo still “commemorate former sycophants dictators.” It is equally sad that the politicians would turn into pitiless tyrants immediately they assumed political office; do not understand what representing a political constituency means! It has, however, been noted that “under democracy individual liberty of opinion and action is jealously guarded,” but the politicians should not be allowed ‘to act like sheep’ because ‘representative democracy’ fails when the elected representatives cease to represent those who elected them. That shows that many of the politicians lack the fundamental democratic principles (tenets) and still subscribe to the autocratic methods of force, intimidation opponents, bribery and corruption and deceit in governance. The formers are currently the winner in this game. It appears that many of the political ‘rouges’ in isiolo today could gain entrance into “heaven” through such methods, if God would permit it. But “God forbid bad thing,” as Borantiti would say!
Lack of transparency in County governmental affairs is among the barriers to sociopolitical and economic development in the society. Therefore, reducing corrupt activities would advance the development of democratic institutions and practices that foster economic growth and poverty reduction. The society would be unfit for self-government and for democracy if it could not manage its democratic institutions.
The intractable problems within the ICG (e.g., some county executives, the fraud within its irrational Working Committee (as we may aticulate) and the lease to African park crisis, the seizure of county’s budget allocation, etc), have contributed to rampant fraud and suppression of truth in the society. They have added extra hardship on the society’s duo welfare.
The MCAs(and the isiolo countygovernment it controls) should be ashamed itself for failing to honor the ruling of county governvernment in regard to the County fund seized by its leaders. How would the judiciary play its constitutional role as the last hope of the common man if the government has no regard for rule of law? It is clear that the party is following “The Devil’s Footpath” There is no injustice worst than denying the people the rights to elect their leaders. But since wealthless persons like us has no control over it may hunger pupkins overtake them for bringing shame on the society and grieves and sorrows on the people.
In the present administration, the executive appears to make the law, interprets the law, and implements the law. The democratic check and balances in the society have been dismantled and the legislature i.e county assembly are not functional. And the politicians do not seem to bother, because they benefit from the chaos and absurdity. Is this a democracy?
What are the political leaders striving to achieve? As mentioned earlier, they have succeeded in giving sorrow to the people instead of true democracy, because the “civilian democratic governance” has not improved their living standards. The ‘Poor Man’s Burden’ is becoming unbearable by the day because the citizens remain hungry, angry and depressed because their hopes and aspirations have been dashed. The happiness of the people is what every leader worth the name should be striving to achieve, even if it involves renouncing some of the luxuries of political office.
The county’s dysfunctional institutions have added to the misery and poverty in the land because the society is still lacks the factors that are the engine for economic development four years after civilian rule. After spending some billions on non growing county offices (re-baptized Power Holding of isiolo, the county remains in darkness. And the roads remain pot-holed and public health clinics/hospitals, schools and the youths are still begging for funding. The gods at isiolo central seem to forget that it is the same people that provide election polls for their political life and property and that it is through schools that the society gets its leaders and workers. Perhaps, the politicians do not care about the hospitals because they could afford good medical care abroad when they take ill, while the less privileged are allowed to die of minor ailments. These institutions will remain crippled as long as the government remains corrupt, wicked, insensitive, and unjust. There are no employment opportunities for the teeming population and university graduates remain jobless years after graduation. As Mahatma Gandhi rightly noted, “A starving man [woman] thinks first of satisfying his hunger before anything else. He [she] will sell his [her] liberty and all for the sake of getting a morsel of food.” Such is the situation in ISIOLO today.
Any person that wants to give the people a democracy (a sense of freedom) should first provide them with work and food and the basic necessities of life (portable water, electricity, good network of roads, security, good schools, medical care, etc). They would worry about democracy when they are healthy, self-reliant and able to support themselves and families. One may not successfully bring democracy to a people that are not sure where their next meal will come from. As it were, the politics they would worry about is the politics of their stomach!
Whatever the political pundits connected to the gods at ISIOLO CENTRAL may say, leadership change in isiolo should not be delayed because rising extreme poverty, sorrow and restive mood in the land could lead to social instability if not controlled. Nature has so created us that we cannot see our back (others are our mirrors.) The world has testified that ISIOLO is a walking time bomb, but the leaders have refused to admit the fact and act on the information.
To reduce the poverty in the land and make democracy work, the people must be provided employment (feed them, cloth them and shelter them) and properly educate them so that they could participate intelligently in the political process, as democracy dictates. And there should be a stable and growing economy to reduce extreme poverty. As this writer has mentioned elswhere, the rising youth unemployment in the society could lead to “more restiveness, hopelessness, frustration” and thus violent social uprising. Thus reducing the level of poverty in the nation is a major way to reducing corruption, which is the main obstacle to the development of true democracy in the society.
Nevertheless, the people should continue to support democracy by fighting against the Chief fraudsters oppressive ‘democratic dictatorship.’ It appears the fault of the citizens that a government is not working in their interest, because no government would survive without the support of the people. Again, as Gandhi had noted that the quickest way to get ride of a despotic government is for the governed to “withdraw” their consent and support and “cease to fear the despotic force.” But they cannot do this if they lack interest in the affairs of the society and are not properly informed.
Finally, the population of ISIOLIANS appears growing more than the rate of economic expansion. Therefore, the leaders should improve the environment for investment and create employment, tame poverty and corruption (including electoral fraud), provide security and medical care and other basic necessities of life. That way ISIOLO will next time around celebrate true democracy instead of poverty.