Third Eye

Crucial lessons from ranking of senators

Thursday, November 12th, 2020 00:00 |
Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr leads fellow leaders in a march on the streets of Nairobi in a past filing of a petition at the Milimani Law Courts. Photo/PD/Samuel Kariuki

The Constitution mandates the Senate to be the guardian angel of devolution. 

This renders it a critical institution because it is entrusted with the critical role of oversight over billions of shillings sent to counties for the roles assigned to the devolved units.

A weak Senate would effectively mean ineffective scrutiny of the 47 county governments on which Kenyans have rested the hopes of devolution. 

The strength of the Senate, therefore, depends on the quality of leaders elected to the House in terms of personal competencies, awareness of their roles as well as execution.

That is why we find frequent score cards by pollsters on the performance of elected leaders particularly valuable, though they are detested by a vast majority of politicians.

First, they provide important citizen feedback about their attitudes on the performance of their representatives. 

Secondly, the poll findings help in future political decision-making. And if the politicians were objective, they could use them to inform their decision making and heed to their constituents’ expectations.

Two poll findings, one released two weeks ago and the second yesterday, are particularly illuminating.

The first poll gauged the performance of county governments, while yesterday’s survey assessed the approval rating of senators. 

There was one crucial finding; that there is a strong relationship between development and stability in counties.

The survey found that citizens were satisfied with service delivery in counties which had experienced stability due to co-existence between various arms of government. 

Indeed, there was a clear demonstration that residents turned harsh verdicts for governors and county assemblies that had been engaged in constant wrangles.

The survey cites the case of Makueni county that was the theatre of the absurd during the first term, putting the unit at risk of dissolution.

The county has recorded impressive delivery due to stability in the second term.

Kwale, Machakos, and Kisumu counties were also highlighted as top performers, largely attributable to stability and governors that seized opportunities to transform lives instead of perpetual firefighting.

It is, therefore, no surprise that senators from regions where citizens have started reaping fruits of devolution ranked their representatives in the Senate highly.

Notably, senators from poor performing counties and assemblies shared a poor approval rating.

The lesson is a no brainer: Instead of constant fights, leaders can work together in the spirit of mutual cooperation to serve public interest.

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