Stop 2022 politics and deliver to Kenyans

Unfortunately, it is increasingly rare that a politician is not focused merely on re-election. It makes sense that any employee would be focused before their upcoming review, but when that employee is a public servant then their primary focus should be on serving the citizenry.

Nearly every event in Kenya appears to provide a stimulus for our senior politicians to use it to forward their own brand, or far too frequently, to knock opponents or erstwhile allies. Nevertheless, Kenyans should expect more. President Uhuru Kenyatta is not focused on 2022, not just because he is ineligible to run, because he will still have a major role to play, but because he is seemingly busy making reforms and developments that are changing the face of our nation.

The war against corruption should change the way public funds are utilised. The historic handshake with opposition leader Raila Odinga is also transforming our politics. The far-reaching but ambitious project, the Big Four agenda, focusing on food security, affordable housing, manufacturing and affordable healthcare for all, should also help make Kenyans’ lives better.

These plans are meant to achieve what many Kenyans thought was unobtainable, Vision 2030, making Kenya a middle-income economy. This was meant to be the “rising tide that lifts all boats.”

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However, it is the President’s daily focus on every little detail that will achieve results.

Prosecuted

Rather than just talking about corruption and sending messages through the media, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Noordin Haji, has since become the nightmare for all those involved in corruption.

We hope that regardless of how big or senior someone is, they will be prosecuted if found corrupt. While we should take no delight in the fall of anyone, the average Kenyan should be mighty relieved that the frequent arrests and trials demonstrate that this is far from just talk.

While some have attacked Haji, he is certainly cleaning house in Kenya, with seemingly some even bigger names still to come.

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Last year in December, the President officially launched the Universal Health Care (UHC) programme in Kisumu County, as part of the Sh3.9 billion pilot that targets four counties. Other counties in the pilot are Machakos, Isiolo and Nyeri. At least 3.2 million residents are expected to benefit from the trial project.

The affordable housing project was initially deemed by some as too expensive or aggressive but we can already physically see that this too is well on the way. The Boma Yangu programme, launched in January has since had over 170,000 registered at the portal. The first low-cost housing estate in Nairobi is under development with 1,500 units, with each unit retailing for between Sh600,000 and Sh1.4 million, and an agreement with the United Nations to build 100,000 affordable housing units.

Some Sh2.4 billion have been allocated to support value addition in manufacturing to increase the sector’s contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) to 15 per cent by 2022, and Sh20 billion set aside to enhance food and nutrition security for all. 

The Big Four Agenda is an effort to push Kenya and its people forward towards greater progress. This is not even to mention the stream of world leaders that have knocked on the door of State House or those the President has visited.

Mediocrity

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The President has worked with allies and opponents and made sure that the right people are in the right places and there are no blockages or barriers. Kenyans will no longer be satisfied with mediocrity. They want a leader who works for today and tomorrow and doesn’t always have one eye on the elections.

The year 2022 is a relatively long time away and so much can be achieved between now and then. We therefore demand that politicians focus on 2019 rather than politicking around the vote three years from now.

- The writer is former Nairobi County Assembly Speaker and a Jubilee leader.

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Beatrice ElachiPolitics2022 Elections