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Eject miscreants from leadership

By Tania Ngima | Updated Thu, December 1st 2016 at 00:00 GMT +3
A charlatan accused of treating patients, performing surgery and delivering babies without the mandatory credentials is hauled to court.PHOTO: COURTESY

If I were at all superstitious, I would ask all Kenyans to visit their local witchdoctor and ask for the curses bestowed on us to be reversed. You know, the ones who advertise cures for lack of success, love and other unsavoury challenges.

There is something entirely discomfiting about the events happening around us and how we are choosing to react to them that makes me think of a particularly disturbing episode of ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’.

A charlatan accused of treating patients, performing surgery and delivering babies without the mandatory credentials is hauled to court.

However, after getting freed on bond, instead of being castigated by the community, members of which he put in harm’s way, he is welcomed back with song and dance. As if that were not enough, the locals encourage him to vie for the position of MCA.

Is this what we have been reduced to, determining someone’s leadership qualities based on the amount of bravado they can muster up, regardless of what sins they are accused of propagating? Then again,

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I write as if I have not been a spectator to the ridiculousness we have been subjected to by scandal upon scandal in the last few months

If the ‘Theatre of the Absurd’ were looking for a modern day home to exhibit human wretchedness, the Sisyphus-like misery of an existence mired in indigence, this is it.

We have eight months to our next elections.Enough time for all the crazies and abhorrent among us to show their true colours.

And we, less-than-innocent by-standers, we cheer every time blood is drawn; we repeat the biggest insults tossed around, we join in the farcical displays of grown men brawling in public and continue to give airtime to people who purport themselves leaders as they attempt to discredit a woman’s ability to lead by slandering and debasing her gender. We have eight months in which we should, for all intents and purposes, demand accountability and clear strategies that will create the kind of livelihoods that we pay for.

Unfortunately, other than the public relations machinery in full motion and the newly acquired skills in passing the buck, there is nothing to show for concrete action whether it is around the corruption fuelled scandals or the careless behaviour we are being subjected to by incumbents and aspirants alike.

Is there a reason why, in Kenya, political players act as if they are the ones who vote themselves in? Is it not the citizens whose reasoning and intellect they insult who go to cast their ballots, the same citizens who are weary of the antics and sideshows and chaos they are being subjected to? The same citizens losing their jobs by the thousands?

In 2016 alone, over 10,000 Kenyans have lost their jobs as the economy contracts and as businesses grapple with a challenging business environment and there are more job cuts expected before the year is out.

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It is reported that about 400,000 SME’s collapse annually due to various reasons including lack of access to credit, high cost of employment and amenities like electricity.

These challenges affect certain sectors more significantly than others, given that sectors such as manufacturing create more jobs proportionately in comparison to technology intensive industries.

And yet, manufacturing continues to register slowing growth with no real investment into bolstering the sector or incentivizing manufacturing firms to retain their operations and thus augment the workforce in employment. As we get into the era of jobless growth, it would be easy to believe the hype. That the economy is growing, after all, the statistics show expansion and the doing business indices show improvement.

Do not be fooled though, the economy is growing but jobs are reducing, embodying the concept of jobless growth, a trend that is unlikely to be reversed as businesses undertake incorporation of technology in a bid to keep their costs low and intentions of scaling up realistic.

Furthermore, the country indices of ease or otherwise of doing business reflect the initiatives or laws in place to target certain areas. A guide for the country’s regulatory environment is all well and good.

But what we should be querying is if indeed these statistics and indices are to be believed, why does the picture of job loss and business failure on the ground so overwhelming? Why is the business environment bleaker than before?

To look at certain happy-making stats in isolation, without taking into consideration the woes of SMEs struggling under the yoke of debt that arises from rampant delay in government payments, or at the effect that the billions of tax shillings misappropriated, or at the malfeasance at county level lining office holder pockets at the expense of development projects is propagating fallacies.

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And if eight months to the next elections none of your aspirants is addressing job losses in the private sector, or small business failure, or graft or any of the other woes keeping us up at night, then they have no business getting a single vote.

 

 

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