By George Marenya
It is the season of political campaigns and naturally, this comes with promises and bandying around of policies.
As Ashis Nanda had said, politics is at its base played on moral issues and therefore, politicians strive to put across their candidacy as a moral choice.
In Kenya, issues like youth employment, peaceful coexistence, better standards of living, improvement of infrastructure and the like always come up.
Yet a project with so much promise nationally, regionally and internationally is rarely mentioned in political podiums – the East African Federation.
Uganda is our biggest trading partner. Kenyan students swell the populations of Ugandan universities. Kenyan entrepreneurs are to be found doing thriving business in the East Africa capitals.
In Rwanda and South Sudan, Kenyan companies are taking the lead in foreign direct investment. Equity Bank was a pioneer in this field.
With the recent win of the Global Entrepreneur Award by Equity Bank Chief Executive James Mwangi, he has become more famous than politicians would ever dream to be. This sets a trend where brands and business become sources of identity and pride rather than where one comes from.
If we were to put more emphasis on the federation project, we would achieve two fundamental advantages. First, to paraphrase former American President Calvin Coolidge, we would ensure that “Kenyans’ business is business”.
We would tap onto ready sources of revenue. It is easier to export to our neighbors than to far-flung and hard to penetrate markets in Europe and America.
Landlocked Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi not to mention the Democratic Republic of Congo should send more tourists to see the Kenyan coast with just a little more aggressive marketing.
Second, a political federation would offer us the cure of the big republic as postulated by James Madison, the father of the American constitution. In Federalist No10, he wrote that the bet remedy to the threat of faction would be found in a bigger republic than a smaller one.