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Why Uhuruto duo cannot be relied on

ALEXANDER CHAGEMA
By Alexander Chagema | January 26th 2017
President Uhuru Kenyatta (left) and his deputy William Ruto. 

Fantasy and reality are diametrically opposed, a truism that escaped Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto by a mile in 2013. But you can give it to Kenyatta for adroitly stepping back; leaving Ruto to do the spade work. The zeal put into it has left Ruto with such an accumulation of political grime it threatens to suffocate him. He evokes so much antipathy, hostile crowds heckle him.

You can give it to Ruto too, for when it comes to bluster; he is a master of the game, an attribute that has rubbed off on the self-immolated United Republican Party orphans Aden Duale and Kipchumba Murkomen; the two Ruto acolytes whose sun rises and sets with Kenya’s deputy president.

Jubilee conjured a manifesto whose unworkability became apparent early on. It was a rocket whose propulsion jammed, causing it to flounder barely a few feet off the ground. Jubilee promised plenty, failed to deliver and is begging for more time to come through, even after overshooting the initial target by over four years. Most of what Jubilee promised to accomplish within 100 days of taking office is still sketches on paper five years later. Why should we believe them now?

Ruto, particularly, averred the “hakuna kazi” boards in Government offices would become a thing of the past. We are still waiting and if anything is certain, the boards have more than doubled. First, the Government embarked on laying off 60,000 civil servants then, together with parastatals, put a freeze on employment. With their finances permanently in the red as a consequence of incompetence borne of cronyism, political correctness and nepotism, parastatals have over the years laid off thousands of workers.

Family, Equity and Standard Chartered banks have effected layoffs. Kenya Airways and East African Portland haven’t been any different. Uchumi Supermarkets is on its death bed.

Media houses, starved of revenue by Government, have laid off staff to stay afloat in these bad economic times. When Eveready, Cadbury and Sameer scaled down their operations and shipped out, the result was an exponential growth in the jobless ranks. Today, Kenya holds East Africa’s worst unemployment record with 80 per cent of those under 35 years of age jobless, with no prospects in sight. Where are the million jobs Jubilee promised to create annually?

Despairing university graduates walk along highways with placards asking for jobs. When a master’s degree holder is reduced to a night watchman, those charged with spurring job creation should be run out of office. It is pointless turning to God. The sacrileges committed since the 2007-2008 bloodshed to date, have made him turn his back on us and unless we exorcise the demons in August 2017, we shall roast in the scorching sun, our throats will be dried by drought, and we shall die from starvation. That is the biblical sentence on nations that have gone against God's commands.

Now to Mau forest. Political expediency triggered fallout between some Kalenjin luminaries led by William Ruto and Raila Odinga after the latter called for the eviction of squatters from the Mau forest. The late environmentalist Prof Wangari Maathai severally threatened to strip naked to save the ecosystem if that is what it took. She was scorned.

Rivers out of the Mau are drying up. This has affected humans, wild and domestic animals, heightening the conflict between human beings and wild animals searching for food and water. Weather patterns have changed as a consequence, choking agricultural production. Retrogressive leaders who scorned Maathai and insulted Raila now want the current drought situation declared a national disaster. To what end, I ask?

We must do what is right by preserving forests and catchment areas. Jubilee has not helped; instead, projects like the Northern Water Collector Tunnels and Itare Water dam threaten to exacerbate an already dire situation. On the corruption index, Transparency International ranks Kenya at position 145, down from 139 the previous year. Corruption has been perfected under Jubilee. Double digit economic growth? Don't even go there, it is depressing.

While East African states demand a ban on the non-biodegradable plastic bags for their stifling effects on the environment, the Jubilee government would rather protect the companies that produce them for the consideration of the measly tax they squeeze out of them at the expense of nature conservation. Plastic chokes the environment. It blocks sewage lines and inhibits soil from absorbing water. The result is massive flooding with just a little rain.

Kenya’s sovereignty has been proclaimed from hills and rooftops, but it seems like it stops short of Migingo islands. President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda is on record acknowledging the island belongs to Kenya, yet his security men harass and even tax Kenyans on the island. For our leadership, it’s see no evil, hear no evil.

Is it because we are so vulnerable that a ragtag army of bare-footed rascals held Kenya to ransom in 2014-2015? President Uhuru swore to protect every inch of the country. What changed? Was Migingo, unknown to Kenyans, palmed off?

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