Jubilee has betrayed trust public had in it

American author Mark Twain’s novel, The Prince and the Pauper, tells the story of two young boys identical in appearance.

One is a son of a king and lives in a palace, whilst the other lives a life of penury and misery.

Trading places, they each experience the life of the other with life-changing results.

Ultimately, at his father’s demise, the prince is crowned king and rules judiciously because of his experiences as a pauper.

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The city of Nairobi is a microcosm of life in Kenya.

This is particularly so when one considers the dichotomy between the rich and the poor, the haves and the have-nots who live diametrically opposed lives, yet within walking distances from each other.

Most of the city’s low density high income residential areas coexist alongside sprawling slums that provide the labour needed to keep the wealthy in the style that they are accustomed to.

Three men appear to have held Kenya in the strictures of their politics.

One is a prince by birth. Another is a prince who has taken on the mantle of defender of the poor.

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The third is a pauper by birth but who has worked his way to the king’s court.

President Uhuru Kenyatta was born at the advent of Kenya’s independence from colonial rule.

Two years later, his father Jomo Kenyatta became president and ruled Kenya for 15 years before his demise.

Uhuru’s family is considered among the wealthiest in Kenya, with interests in many spheres of the economy.

The trappings

Raila Odinga was born into privilege.

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His father was a veterinary school principal in addition to being a successful businessman.

Raila grew up in two homes, one in Bondo and the other in Kisumu.

At 17, he went to high school in Germany where he also had his tertiary education.

He appears to have eschewed the trappings of his birthright by identifying more with the residents of Kibera, arguably, East Africa’s largest slum.

He has been described pejoratively by his detractors as the “Lord of poverty.”

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Deputy President (DP) William Ruto, by confession, was born into poverty.

By dint of hard work and some lucky breaks, he has come a long way from the days when he sold chicken to earn his school fees.

He is rather proud of his “hustler” moniker and will not tire of making Kenyans aware that he knows first-hand the experience of poverty.

The Jubilee administration of President Uhuru Kenyatta and DP Ruto was touted as the perfect balance of representation between the owners of capital in Kenya and the masses who worked the other factors of production to create wealth for all.

Unfortunately, the cardinal promises of Jubilee remain unfulfilled, especially those that were intended to ease economic precarity. The leadership seems lost for inspiration.

Seldom mentioned

Having started out with lofty promises premised on a transformative agenda, they have all but given up on them.

Even the four pillars of the president’s anticipated legacy; food security, universal healthcare, affordable housing and manufacturing; that would have had great positive impact on the indigent, are seldom mentioned.

The President has, instead, reverted to infrastructure building, big ticket items that should ideally spur the economy but hitherto, have been deemed to benefit only Chinese lenders.

This plays into the worry that members of the President’s court, who are advising him, may not be in touch with reality on the ground.

They may not have made him alive to the fact that cheap eggs from Uganda are killing the local poultry industry.

Nor may they have informed him that the unpopular proposed amendments to the Dairy Act would have had a deleterious effect on small-scale farmers by giving undue advantage to an industry where his family has extensive holdings.

They have not bothered to inform him that tilapia from China is cheaper than that from Kisumu and is considered a foretaste of the economy’s overrun by an influx of cheap Chinese merchandise.

A battle for the presidency in 2022 is now an open secret.

It is slowly being defined by property lines, wealth or poverty.

The contestations are between the prince, who is the self-acclaimed champion of the poor, Raila Odinga and the erstwhile pauper now turned “hustler” as the DP is popularly known.

Many Kenyans feel betrayed by failure of Jubilee to rid the country of corruption and to foster a conducive environment for economic growth and development.

Whoever taps into popular anger over the inability of the indigent to meet the most basic needs, will ride an easy tide into the country’s leadership.

Mr Khafafa is Vice Chairman, Kenya-Turkey Business Council

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President Uhuru KenyattaWilliam Ruto