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The 228 completed units out of 1370 being constructed by government at Parkroad, Nairobi.

Commentary
Instead, as the youth have frequently complained, octogenarians are given plum positions.

First, there were promises of laptops for all primary school pupils, world class stadia in every county and the creation of 500,000 jobs for youth annually.

Then came the four pillars: Food Security, Affordable Housing, Universal Healthcare and Manufacturing.

Soon after, a corruption purge was initiated, touted to fix the hemorrhaging of national coffers, a third of which is lost to graft annually.

Now, Kenyans have been told to expect a constitutional moment that will bring an end to violence experienced in every election since 1992.

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These are great ideas, no doubt, conceived with the best intentions for Kenya. But as the adage goes, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Intentions are seldom worth anything if they are not actualised. None of these intentions have seen the light of day.

They are certainly not reflected in the lives of ordinary citizens. Nor are they mirrored in the state of the economy which is in parlous straits. Yet just achieving half of them would have seen Kenya take her rightful place as a one of the continent’s leaders.

Take for example, the laptops for pupils. By now, in these Covid-19 times, online learning would have been taking place. The disparate worlds of the wealthy and the indigent would have had no bearing on educational outcomes with equal opportunities for all guaranteed. But it has not happened.

Global sporting

The world class stadia, had they been built, would have attracted global sporting events whilst nurturing to maturity the abundance of talent in Kenya.

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As it stands, it is just another missed opportunity to be continental pace-setters. Half a million jobs for youth would have guaranteed the kind of trickle down that makes for a robust economy.

Instead, as the youth have frequently complained, octogenarians are given plum positions.

If food security has not been achieved, it is because those in authority have failed to heed the advice of Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank.

He admonishes leaders to stop seeing agriculture as a way of life and rather, to see it as a business, a wealth creating sector. Kenya spends billions importing food it should be growing.

Right now, it is dependent on neighbours in a reversal of the position that was just five years ago. Fifty seven years after independence, 70 per cent of Kenyans in urban areas still live in slums.

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Most reside in hovels that are unfit for human habitation, despite the government’s lofty promise to build 500,000 homes, the situation is likely to degenerate, not improve.

Profit warnings

As for healthcare, the fact that the country has not been ravaged by the Covid-19 pandemic is attributable to providence. Manufacturing is flailing. Many companies have issued profit warnings. Some have recently closed shop, a good number for reasons extraneous to coronavirus.

What Kenyans really want is for President Uhuru Kenyatta to look into the mirror and to realise that the buck stops with the man he sees.

He might not find urgency in the constitutional changes he proposes. Inclusivity will not be engendered by the creation of more places at the feeding trough.

Unity cannot be achieved in the fractious politics that sees a section of leaders overlooked as others bask in the limelight of State favours, only for a reversal of fortunes to shift the balance of favour.

It cannot thrive where regional development is dependent, not on the proceeds of devolved funds but on State largesse and the goodwill of whoever is at the helm of the country.

The country needs urgent fixing. The Judiciary needs its subventions to function optimally, to exercise its independence without being suborned by those who would wish to subvert justice.

Parliament needs to be allowed its oversight role instead of functioning as an appendage of the Executive.

Kenyans urge President Kenyatta to always remember that the buck stops with him, and his government.

Talk of constitutional change is dumping down the conversation on what really is wrong with the country.

Mr Khafafa is a public policy analyst


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