Let's address the limitations of the hustler to power them

President William Ruto interacts with vendors during the Hustler Fund launch at Green Park, Nairobi, on November 30, 2022. [Kelly Ayodi, Standard]

How did a simple word like “hustler” cause a political revolution in Kenya? We are still digesting. By striking at the soul of the nation, our economic dreams and aspirations, the Kenya Kwanza (KK) government captured our attention, almost hypnotising us.

Their opponents never got a counter-narrative, even threatening to ban the term hustler, more so when used in conjunction with another term - dynasty. 

Both terms are infrequently used nowadays, the political and economic reality has sunk. There is another reason, it takes time to undo old political and economic systems.

One is more likely to be co-opted into them than change them. You must have noted as time passes, KK is behaving more and more like the previous governments.

What happened to dynasties? They may not be in political power, but they know how to diversify their power, into economics, and soft areas like media and diplomacy.

They had time to build networks, often across the globe and generations. 

What of the hustlers? Their experience and networks are limited. When we ask the unemployed to start enterprises or hustles, we assume they have the acumen, motivation, skills and interest in entrepreneurship.

Do we realise how limited they are? Think of a 100-year-old firm and the experiences they have gone through, from wars to recessions. 

You are to compete with such firms? The youngster’s greatest experience might be taking national exams! I find it paradoxical that we expect so much from hustlers, without considering their limitations.

They have been constrained all their lives. They have travelled less, interacted less, and have fewer networks. Check a hustler’s phone book - who is the highest-ranking person saved? Chief? Pastor? Governor? CEO of a listed firm? Or who?  

How do we expect so much from people with so little? We make matters worse by assuming that giving them money will spur them into entrepreneurship. Which money beyond school pocket have they handled?

Add the hostility, we rarely support one another and petty jealousy, fitina. 

The predicament of the hustler is made worse by the fact that rules, regulations, and policies are often made by men and women who have never hustled.  

If we spent more time addressing the limitations of the hustler, we could in the long run build great business empires and create lots of jobs. If we gave hustlers wings to fly, by buying their quality products or services, mentoring, exposure and motivation, they will do the rest! 

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