One Man

One Man

If you are emotionally attached to your tribe, race, religion or political affiliation, leaning to the point that the truth and justice become secondary considerations, your education is useless. Your exposure is useless. If you cannot reason behind petty sentiments, you are a liability to mankind _Dr. Chuba Okadigbo (late).

One man one shilling one vote, a system suggested in this new era by the senate. We are social beings and human is to error. When this system was adopted rather suggested a lot of debates came up and so many people agreed to disagree. Some did not even wait to hear what the bill was all about, the one man one shilling was a system adopted in the 1930’s by the US senate.

It was a bill implemented to look at the needs of the people according to population rather than by region. There is some truth to Burns’ argument that the registered voter base may work against the interest of some folks who are unable to vote for one reason or another.

But use of the total population base works against the interest of voters in areas where a very high percentage of other residents register and vote. Since there is a balance of disadvantage involved here, I would opt for the allowing states the freedom to choose their own apportionment base as long as it is rational.

As the mantra of one person one vote percolated in the lower courts, questions arose as to the true extent of its scope as we can see in our country right now. So long as a given representative body claims to be based upon direct election by the people, it is precisely what Holmes called a ‘play on words’ to find all voters equally protected merely because they can each cast one vote for their representative.

In the Kenyan constitution, chapter 7 article 81 the representation of the people states that there should be universal suffrage based on the aspiration for fair representation and equality of the vote. This means that each vote should carry as far as practicable the same weight.

Experience has usually shown that the best lawmakers emerge from districts that are diverse in their social characteristics and competitive in their party politics. Underpopulated districts whether rural or urban tend to be one party domains, with the same seat going to an organization regular. Enlarging these fiefdoms would breathe some fresh air into more than a few musty political corners.

The rural areas hardly have a monopoly on those suffering majority difference. The creation of districts of equal population would seriously destroy what are now homogenous enclaves. Yet one of the problems we all have is that too many of our legislators do represent special interest constituencies preoccupied with a particular crop, industry or resource.

More to the fact is that rural Kenya is poorer it needs leverage more than its urban friend. The fact stands that if one minority is to be given preferential treatment in the chambers where the bill is to be passed, then other such minorities should be accorded the same consideration. It is very hard to prove that while a hundred city dwellers make up a “mob” a hundred farmers are all independent yeomen. Thomas Jefferson once wrote; the mobs of great cities add just so much strength of the human body.

The rural and small towns is an individual, uncorrupted by the mass mentality of the city. At all events if rural areas needed added representation because of their plight, they also deserve such a magnified voice due to their enhanced moral character, but is it the same today owing to the fact that the system has also been infiltrated by moral decadence?

What of the one man one shilling?

After 2013 devolution meant that a certain degree of power and funding were transferred from the national government to the local government to allow the latter easier reach to communities, as much as this bill is being rejected, it will only decrease the budget of county governments with smaller populations while reclaiming oversight of the remainder of their funds.

Allocating revenues to counties based on their population rather than geographical size actually has its benefits. It will make county administrations more attuned to the policy issues most immediately concerning citizens, but no one wants this responsibility yet except for a few who know they will account for their spending and allocations. We have all witnessed more than one case scenario where money ends up in officials’ pockets and private businesses rather than the community.

If we go with the old formula of allocating revenue according to size and not population, then I believe we will be in the same sink boat we have been since 1965, we will be in the era of neocolonialism at its best where the people elect but they have no power over who they elected. We all trying to say that we want this revenue to help beat the mortality rate and bring it at per at a national state but we all forget some of us are still embedded in our culture, we still believe in the old days, we still have religion also playing a part, beliefs and customs.

If we want to develop the country as a whole then we must be ready to make sure all people are at the same level of things and in agreement which is practically impossible. We still have an illiterate population that will be taken advantage of, swindled and left to fend for themselves, always depending on relief food because as Carl Max said, religion is an opiate for the masses, they have been conditioned to think that their land cannot be productive, that even if I went to tell them about land rehabilitation, drip irrigation or tapped water, they would look on me as a stone that learned how to speak.

I am not saying that we should all adopt this bill, but that we should think on our own and see what we stand to achieve as a whole and not as a region. Debates are up against the lands that are productive agriculturally but what about harnessing wind power, to generate energy, how about oil production which has stalled for a minute, mining to enrich the economy and not people, quarrying, sand collection, I could go on but we are not only limited to agriculture, there is so much more we can do but we all don’t wants to go down the dusty road of taking up responsibility.

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