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Submitted by Menge, E on
Your article is interesting and engaging in as far as it looks at the practical challenges. I would like to point out a number of important points however: 1) I suppose you have spent some time in Kenya, do you have an idea about the sort of roads, schools, rural dispensaries, insecurity that the marginalized regions contend with? Opposing devolution because urbanization is the trend misses the point by a wide margin! Nairobi is the all in all, yet we see massive traffic jams and lack of social amenities, so clearly Nairobi cannot host the 40 million Kenyans. This calls for a bold and radical look at what Kenya has been doing for 50 years and evaluate whether continuing to do the same will bear different outcomes. I can tell you it wont. You gave the example of Bavaria where my close friend comes from: Infrastructure in towns is superlative, so manufacturers such as Audi, C. Air Systems, BMW and Siemens can be in regional towns not in Berlin or Munich for that matter. Munich specializes in other things. So how does this relate to Kenya? This is how: Why should a farmer growing coffee in Nyanza or Mt. Elgon carry it to Thika to be processed? Why not have local processing plants which in fact will stimulate production? Why should every one have to move to Nairobi when various regions can specialize in economic activity that the resources in the region allow? Eldoret is a wheat growing area and a great athletics hub. Why not have sports facilities and flour mills there? Kericho grows the most tea but the Tea Company headquarters are in Nairobi! I could give many examples...there is oil in Turkana, what material improvement will the Turkanas get if all investment decisions are made in Nairobi? The model you espouse has produced two Kenyas. The first one is the urban Kenya which lives in Nairobi and maybe a bit in Mombasa and the rest rural Kenya which donates all skilled people to the two cities and experiences brain drain, low investment and sky-rocketing crime besides ethnic marginalization and tensions. Devolution is our best short to reverse this situation and if implemented faithfully with 'Germanish' efficiency, shall change our nation. What you recommend is somewhat like asking all of Europe to move into Germany instead of Germany helping the other European nations to weather their economic challenges!