By Adan Makina
Since taking over the Governorship of Garissa County in August 2018 after trouncing his political competitors, Governor Ali Bunow Korane who is popularly known as ABK by his constituents, took the best public policy formulations to create effective social, political, and economic developments that are worth documenting. Despite being politically harassed, verbally intimidated, and wantonly abused through social media immediately after taking over either by his opponents or by hired beachcombers on social media, ABK remained focused on his political responsibilities. With the proliferation of semi-educated plagiarists making the most noises with the highest decibels like the natural whirlwind or the devastating hurakán–the “evil spirits of the wind” from the Taino Indigenous Caribbean language spoken in Cuba, Hispaniola and Puerto Rico–a word that now translates to Hurricane, the best ABK could do was to avoid the use of salvos and veracity.
With over thirty six years of experience in public administration, ABK has been through hardships, dealing with people of multifarious characters, ranging from the most corrupt minded, those versed in prebendalism, the higgledy-piggledy talkers, and many tribal minded hegemons who serve their own interests acting as watchdogs. In our modern world of democracy, watchdogs are a recognized group of people or committees that are interested in observing the effective ways government provides services to the ordinary citizens. To the contrary, Garissa County watchdogs are ferociously venomous political gamblers. The previous prebendalists who emptied the county coffers have either been restrained with strong measures placed on their thieving activities or got sacked or penalized through the application of the judicial systems.
As the current Garissa County Governor, despite impalpable opposition drumbeats and constant bickerings, he established various substantial developments for the county. To start with, he embarked work on the novel construction of the much-awaited County Headquarters that is the first of its type and kind and is almost in completion. For a long time in the past, despite the successions of the various leadership teams that governed the historical city and did little to deliver the necesary required social services, despite Garissa having an incomplete drainage system, the enthronement of the Governorship of ABK finalized the previously dysfunctional patchwork into a generally functioning one.
Since 1963 when Kenya attained independence, recurring water shortages have been rampant such that, even with the meandering Tana River a walking distance from the city, Garissa residents got relieved when ABK, using his Servant-Leader style, suddenly reset the formerly dry taps into non-stop running geysers. Together with the proliferation of solar powered water wells that have been extended to rural and pastoral communities, the intended water for all sufficiency expectations will materialize soon.
On the other hand, the tireless Governor made sidewalks for his people such that even pedestrians, elders, joggers and children can have spaces along the road to walk with dignity and style and for those adept at observing their health, jog in the morning hours before the extreme African temperature rises. Likewise, he established various health centers such as a diabetics center, health sector, cancer center, and then embarked on hospital renovations and expansions even though he has to commit himself to continue making improvements. Garissa General Hospital is now at Grade 5 referral level. What a great accomplishment!
The Emergency Department of the hospital is so big with a drive through System. The shortage of medicine experienced by the hospital staff and patients is a national problem with the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (KEMSA) shouldering the responsibilities for the delay of medical supplies and services. KEMSA is currently under government legal scrutiny related to misappropriation of public health funds and according to the Kenya media, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) issued order to have the culprits to be investigated and face the law. At least, for the moment, we have water for most of the sub-counties and the main central wards. Some of the roads that have been in decrepit conditions have been renovated most notably Uchumi Road, Miraa Road and the famous Kismayu road.
On the other hand, within two years, he was responsible for providing water access coverage to 70% of the county. Where other leaders failed, ABK prevailed without hindrances. His philosophical believe in “action speaks louder than words” allowed him to introduce advanced progress in different sectors of the economy. On top of that, the Governor has taken further steps by creating five new water pans with 50,000 cubic meters through excavation while 10 other previously existing pans have been desalinated for human and livestock consumption.
The era of depending on river water for consumption is almost over with borehole proliferation taking over. The county administration’s ability to connect with international investors and philanthropists facilitated the fruition of numerous projects that could have been implemented by previous wastefully extravagant Garissa County leaders. With almost 80% of the populous Garissa town now enjoying full water supply with expert limnologists and pedologists giving hands, 8 new boreholes are expected to be unveiled to seal the general water crisis forever.
In collaboration with the World Bank, Garissa County government has made tremendous leaps and bounds by introducing new measures that benefited the general population instead of the old non-walrasian theory or economic disequilibrium where internal or external forces caused long term market imbalances. Empowering the livestock market economy and the agricultural sectors are some of the visible factors the incumbent Governor gave absolute keen interest. To curtail the primordial pastoral nomadic communities lifestyles of wandering in the wild and bring to a halt their dangerous peripatetic ways of seeking greener pastures that cause tribal clashes and prolonged antagonisms, the long term plan of creating permanent settlements remain in the county’s economic future expectations.
False accusations and unnecessary blaming of the incumbent Garissa County Governor requires further psychological and human social behaviors because, it is absolutely hard to satisfy individual and public demands. It would be worth revisiting the political and economic plunders the incumbent inherited from the previous administration before making wild and unnecessary asseverations.
To counter the current street stalls on both sides of Posta Road that traverse both sides of Guleid Hotel and substitute it with a better one, the Orahey (Qorraxey) Market that has been under construction for some time, is now almost complete and ready for the knot cutting ceremony soon. In the future, those vegetables sellers who were exposed to the burning tropical sun of Africa will soon get exposed to air conditioned like environment that’ll be free from future heat exposure. On the other hand, the makeshift Soko Mjinga (fool’s market) aka Suuq Mugdi (dark market) that got engulfed in flames almost nine times if not more, will be shut down to prepare space for newer projects that’ll cater for the general good of Garissa County.
ABK is implementing new projects that his predecessors failed to get done and I don’t understand why we have so many hullabaloos and hues and cries from a section of the public who don’t reflect their past modes of leadership and administrative styles that kept them hostage for decades. If Soko Mjinga remains condemned by the imprecations of the concealed saints resting underneath it, the hurly-burlies of the current generation would have cried long before the current administration for a total change of venue. Unfortunately, the unphilosophical Toa Kitu Kidogo (give a little) strategy that is injected or dished out by hypocritical, power hungry individuals confounded by political corruption and racketeering are the major causes of the melodramatic youth deserving of psychiatric rehabilitation.
To be a Servant-Leader for a community mentally engrossed in tribal sentiments is a tough five-year assignment and homework that requires patience and perseverance. Picking up a simple phone call from a national figure, making calls that could generate millions if not billions of shillings from donors and many attempts to convene valuable partican meetings or conferences that could have alleviated the ordinary citizens’ suffering get blocked by citizens who flock to the Governor’s office in flocks without reconsidering the ethics and morals of making prior appointments and following official norms.
Even before the reconstruction of the much-awaited Garissa roundabout that was first built by Nuruddin Construction Company in the early seventies during the reign of Hon. MP Abdi Aress Mohamed, obstinate and intolerant hate groups took to the media to hurl expletives at ABK. Some even attributed the shape of the roundabout to a cathedral in London while it was under maintenance. Rather than being grateful to their new leader who held the mantle of change by totally coming up with a design that afterwards turned out to be a novel architecture, ABK finally unveiled a structure beyond the perceptions of the noisemakers. They were unable to reflect their past roundabout that was in a sorry state despite several leadership changes in the past.
It was only when ABK took over the helm in 2018 that Garissa County started experiencing exponential changes in infrastructural development. Ordinary citizens with business development initiatives were given the go ahead to expand their business initiatives. Garissa business proprietors now have undeterred access to implement or introduce advanced business ventures to create employment opportunities and advance Garissa County economy.
Those who really understand what ABK stands for, deserve to be consulted on the type of person he is and not the human parasites who only regurgitate corroded falsifications when given KK. Toponymically, the once upon a time military garrison during the British colonial administration, is not derived from the name of a Pokomo man whose name was Karisa as many residents believe nor from the popular shady Garas tree (Dobera glabra). Garissa is an adulteration of garrison. Like the few kilometers drive settlement from Garissa that is known as Modika or Moodhikaareey but whose original name is the corrupt mispronunciation of motorcar, a clear understanding of morphological typology is required to decipher place names and linguistic differences vernacularly.
With ABK at the helm, Garissa is growing at an alarming rate. The city is expanding with new infrastructural housing and businesses evolving every day. The poor are getting their share of food and roofs over their heads especially during environmental disasters such as river floods resulting from the release of water from hydroelectric dams that wreck havoc to small scale farming communities. There has been tremendous reduction in garbage collection after the works department merged with the regular County Garbage Collection team. The banning of the sale and use of plastic bags has saved the lives of the previously untamed livestock whose carcasses could be seen almost everywhere after consuming negligently disposed contaminants that were the major causes of their sudden chocking and unexpected deaths.
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