Address nation's challenges and put brakes on succession politics
- We must devote our time and energy to galvanising the engine of the economy and oiling and greasing all its cogs and wheels.
- If we could put more effort into the other areas of our economy and create more jobs, we would be doing much better than spending hours on succession politics.
I’m one of a growing number of Kenyans who feel its people and our country are being hijacked by the incessant political sparring and back-stabbing taking place. We are becoming hostages of these shenanigans.
The time and energy going into the so-called 2022 debacle and infighting is, arguably, more than is going into representing the people and running the country. It’s mindless. It’s excessive and it’s totally selfish.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has told those elected to Parliament to concentrate on what they were elected for and not pursuing these narrow political agenda.
I urge him to get tougher with the relevant miscreants. They are reneging on their mandate and responsibilities. Ditto for those appointed to government.
Serious anti-corruption work and pursuits are being trivialised as an attack on certain people who support Deputy President William Ruto.
JUSTICE TO PREVAIL
They overlook the fundamental truth that corruption and looting has hobbled this country.
The vibrant energy of Kenyans is being worn down by this plague. Kenya is limping when it should be running.
The war on graft is in its early stages, but is gathering momentum. For anyone to say it’s personalised and aimed at a certain group or groups is shameful, indeed disgraceful.
Those tasked to lead the investigations and prosecutions have shown devotion to duty and professionalism. Let the investigations continue and, indeed, be stepped up.
Whatever evidence there is should be meticulously gathered to prepare for prosecutions. Investigations into the dams scandal are virtually complete. Let arrests and arraignments take place as soon as possible.
Kenya faces a myriad challenges, not least the swingeing drought that has debilitated much of the country and many of our people.
We must devote our energies to these immediate and longer-term challenges. The effects of the drought will get worse before they get better, even if rain comes soon.
We must take serious concrete steps to improve overall food security. We are a food-deficient nation that imports most of its wheat and, at times, maize, as well as a range of other food products.
The Galana-Kulalu irrigation project was to change much of that but the contagion of corruption got to it.
The National Cereals and Produce Board is one of the causes of our food problems. It has stumbled from one scam to another, often at the expense of the farmer and the consumer.
Reforming it, rather than tinkering with it, is what is needed, sooner rather than later.
We must devote our time and energy to galvanising the engine of the economy and oiling and greasing all its cogs and wheels.
What is now needed is to really get what is left of the sugar, rice and cotton sub-sectors up and actually working.
Horticulture is doing well, but what more can we do to nurture that growth? What are its impediments? What can we do to boost tourism and get added value out of it?
And then there is manufacturing, which is performing well below its potential. It’s a tough nut to crack but, overall, we need to aim for a more conducive environment for it.
If we could put more effort into the other areas of our economy and create more jobs, we would be doing much better than spending hours on succession politics.
Unemployment and underemployment are the bane of this country. If we don’t spend more time and resources alleviating them, we are at risk of growing a significant, even large, underclass of Kenyans.
Let me add a warning or caution: There is much talk about development and the ‘Big Four Agenda’, particularly at certain political rallies.
But most people are not fooled by this verbosity because they know it is largely pompous rhetoric with vacuous promises.
The objectives are laudable and we should keep them there. But let us not go around talking as if they are the next big thing to happen when we have problems just funding the basics of health and education provision.
It’s time we got back to the basics and not fritter the next three years on succession politics. Obviously, the latter has a place, but it should not detract us from the former.
Mr Shaw is a public policy and economic analyst.