Forget the Big 4; do these and Kenyans will forever remember you

The Government is pushing the Big Four agenda beyond our slender means. Because of this, President Uhuru Kenyatta risks leaving no significant legacy three years from now when he completes his second term.

By his own wisdom, he picked the Big Four, that is, agriculture, housing, health and infrastructure to develop and bequeath to Kenyans as his legacy.

Well, we can only assume, since there is no detailed public disclosure of the implementation plans of each of the agenda, just like we do for Vision 2030, there is a master stroke plan in the relevant offices to achieve the goals.

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While we look up to the political skies for this manna to drop, and hopefully, somehow benefit, the cost of living has shot up so much that many Kenyans are struggling to go by each day.

Public transport, including the boda boda informal sector is exponentially raising fares. Kerosene, used in most households as the main source of energy, is becoming a mirage. The fuel pump for those who use their own cars and other machinery is becoming unfriendly to the household budget.

Of course, if the big four are realised and reduce the spiraling cost of living, that will be a big plus to the Government, particularly for the soon-to-be outgoing president. But are the Big Four the priority for many Kenyans of slender means who make up over 70 percent of the population?

Best intentions

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When they were announced soon after the general elections 2017, health and agriculture resonated well with the masses. Over time, one cannot be sure anymore what will realistically be achieved in the remaining three years so as to console a voter who hoped the cost of living will come down if the big four were indeed to be achieved.

It is difficult to see the voter holding on to this hope any more.So what can the President do to achieve an easy-to-see, easy-to evaluate and easy-to own legacy? Here are two unsolicited pieces of advice.

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First, a good leader always balances between pushing to attain higher goals in life and grounding what is practically achievable. Humility to come out to the public and plead for a change of the legacy tact is a strength and not a weakness as those in political circles opine.

There is absolutely nothing to worry about in admitting that while the best intentions presented by intellectuals of repute, bureaucrats of outstanding loyalty and wish lists from partners both state and non-state actors formed the basis for prioritising the big four, the context has changed. After all, ibindu bichenjanga (things change).  

Many Kenyans can judge the change favourably given the push for the Big Four goals will seemingly be unattainable in the short time remaining.

More importantly, the president will not require loans to sort this out. Second, the President ought to concern himself with two problems: address one basic need, and summon energies to improve the electoral process before it is too late.

Strong legacy

Delve into the problem of water as it has practical solutions and therefore will rally many counties and many Kenyans into supporting him. Again, no loans needed!

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The Kenyan citizens from arid and semi arid areas (ASAL) scramble for drops of water everyday of their lives. Ironically, when the rains come, they are the most affected with flooding.

But, leave it to mother nature. Anything around water, such as basic household necessity, will earn the President such a strong legacy amongst the marginalized communities. Not only ASAL counties have serious water problems. Towns and cities face challenges in receiving water in the quality and quantities needed for human consumption and decent living respectively.

Water access and mismanagement at the counties, rogue cartels who close and open water pipes at will to create artificial shortages to establish a water market, poor policy on water sharing between upstream and downstream counties compounded by human activities on destroying forests and water towers will in the very near future generate a water crisis with potential to cause civil disorder.

Currently, the cost of buying water at household level is ever increasing. Families have to eat, clean up, drink, feed their pets and animals, but even these basics are becoming a luxury.

Third, address the electoral process. Demonstrating to Kenyans that it is possible to let the voters have the last say is a top premium legacy. Ensure the electoral process from registration to counting of voters is completely transparent and accountable.

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In the two problems, the President should be “obsessed with meeting and listening to Kenyans.” They will provide him with sustainable, concrete and satisfying local solutions than the imported expensive straight jacket solutions that we have to fit into.

Dr Mokua is Executive Director – Jesuit Hakimani Centre

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President Uhuru KenyattaBig Four agendaVision 2030