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Why we ought to be angry with Kenyan politicians

By Francis Karugu | Published Thu, June 7th 2018 at 11:51, Updated June 7th 2018 at 11:55 GMT +3
President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga hugs as Deputy President William Ruto (right) and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka (left) look on during the National Prayer Breakfastat the Safari Park hotel on 31st May, 2018.

In the last six years of Jubilee’s leadership, Kenyans have been treated to more rhetoric without an equivalent measure in actions. In fact, the blabbermouth proclamations by the top leadership have mostly accomplished in leaving the administration with egg on its face. The promise of a digital Nirvana by the 2013-2017 Jubilee Manifesto was but just pomposity whose delivery was not meant to be in the first place.

Voices of reason

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This can only be high political fraud. What the Jubilee administration has managed to build over the last six years is an exclusive club of looters who plunder national resources with the blessings of high political leadership. The few voices of reason, such as that of Central Bank of Kenya Governor Patrick Njoroge, have been muzzled by the boisterous sycophants in high political offices seeking to proof political loyalty.

Kenya’s public debt now stands at $8 billion against a GDP of $72 billion. A public debt ratio of 66 per cent is an astounding figure for an economy that consciously has the worst fiscal discipline in the world.

The CBK governor has decried this state of affairs, saying that Kenya has exhausted her capacity for borrowing, even for development expenditure.

This seems to have fallen on deaf years as Treasury fatcats prepare to issue another $3 billion Eurobond, with a heavy cloud of uncertainty over the 2016 Eurobond and how the government appropriated the proceeds.

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This is happening at a time when the Kenya Revenue Authority has missed its collection targets for several years in a row under the Jubilee leadership. Part of the reason why this has happened is because unscrupulous businessmen have been circumventing procedure leaving the revenue authority with major revenue leakages.

There have been reports of corrupt business people who import maize and sugar under preferential terms, of course with the patronage of high political leadership. This denies our economy the much needed tax revenue. We don’t need the IMF to tell us that this level of fiscal indiscipline cannot sustain the kind of borrowing trajectory that the country has taken.

Political know-nothingness

On top of that, reports are that the Transport and Infrastructure committee of the National Assembly has suggested that they would wish to advise the government to float a Sh200 billion infrastructure bond. It seems nobody has caution to this recklessness that is borrowing.

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When a committee of Parliament makes such a suggestion in the context of a bleeding economy, the know-nothingness of our political leadership is confirmed.

The situation is made worse because the political leadership has proven to be operationally impotent when it comes to containing corruption. In simple terms, President Kenyatta has let down Kenyans in managing the economy.

The Jubilee government inherited an economy on a good trajectory, but has squandered it and transformed it into “bandit economy” and a playground for tender barons.

Kenyans have every reason to fear that the Big Four agenda is a carefully choreographed conduit for tender barons to milk Kenyans off their money. So far, virtually every big project in Kenya by the Jubilee administration has turned out to be cookie jar for politically connected individuals to dip their hands every now and then.

Hijacked projects

The multi-billion scams that have been reported at the National Youth Service, is proof enough that Kenyans cannot be guaranteed that the 500,000 unit housing scheme that the Jubilee administration has promised to deliver over the next five years will not be hijacked by political racketeers.

Kenyans should be very worried when a government in power has boyish excitement in wanton borrowing, and yet the productivity is not enough to services those debts. And it is worse when the government gladly and willingly allows the little that is available to be looted by the bosom buddies of those in leadership.

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It is even more worrying when the political leadership stays put with a blind assumption that everything is okay. It is time someone alerted the Emperor that he is naked, and that his court poets are lying to him that he is wearing an invisible suit.

The stark nakedness of the Jubilee leadership has been laid bare for all to see, and Kenyans can see its inability to manage an economy, and its accommodation of corruption within its ranks.

The Emperor can elect to continue matching on in his “invisible robes,” cheered on by his trusted cabal of gate keepers, or listen to the lone voice that speaks truth to power that he is naked.

Mr Karugu is a management consultant (strategy and analytics) based in Nairobi. [email protected]


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