Ruto's steady hands steering Kenya toward progress, stability

President William Ruto. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

The new year ushers for us both at personal and at the national level, the age of responsibility. The year of the Lord 2024 should make us take a mental flight to a time like this 20 years ago when politics won and the nation suffered at a place called Bomas.

For those who may not know, the year 2004 was a year of great promise both in terms of political, constitutional and institutional reforms. But brain dead politics that was blind to posterity stopped us from seizing the moment. Had we held ourselves to higher ideals we would not have witnessed the danse macabre that was the 2007 post-poll violence.

But in day and age when smartphone penetration is rising and broadcasting of information is instantaneous, we must hold ourselves to a very high level of responsibility if we are to resist the charm and the seduction of outrage in politics that today looks all too fashionable.

I will focus on outrage today because its appears as the stock-in-trade for the Opposition coalition. Every single initiative by the government has received nothing but bullish outrage with absolutely no alternatives. They have pried on the fears of hungry young people to peddle alternative facts.

This reminds me of the timeless counsel by Mohandas Gandhi that having politics without truths to justly dictate the action creates chaos, which ultimately leads to violence. Its such violence; politics without principle, that that we must ferociously root out of our politics.

Being the first day of the year, I will be more candid.

When Kenya Kwanza coalition out-sprinted the heavily state-backed Azimio to State House, the country was told to ignore the determination of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission on account of the number of commissioners that had "rejected the results". It has been maintained mischievously to date that Kenya Kwanza did not win fair and square because the 'Cherera Four' were many than the other commissioners. When the matter went to the Supreme Court, in spite of the unanimity of the court, Azimio still refused to ‘get over it’. At least going by their own logic on having more commissioners.

When we thought we had the elections behind us, we saw storms gathering in the horizon in the shape and form of ‘peoples consultation’. Before we knew it our people were mobilised to barricade roads while taunting law enforcement officers.

The ensuing confrontation led to needless disruption of local supply chains while distracting the government from important work of delivering public goods.

Today, we have seen in the sections of the press that in the new year, the opposition will call for demonstrations over the cost of living. We will not say the open secret that the high cost of living was used as a ruse to pursue political ends. However, we will tell them that, that dog won’t hunt no more.

Now the government came into office when the danger of debt default hang so dangerously over our heads. Today as we march boldly into 2024, that nightmare has been lifted from our economic sky and Kenya’s global fiscal rating is looking bright again. When the President was forced to traverse the globe in the last one year, it was not to sample exquisite holiday destinations but to have candid conversations with our multilateral partners. In a bid to find a speedy answer out of the pit hole he had found the economy. While the pain may still be ravaging the payslips and pockets of households, we must remember just how effective quinine was as an anti-malaria drug when we were growing up.

As John Adams once observed that facts are stubborn things. The steady hands of William Ruto have turned the wheels of progress towards hope and stability.

If anyone out there is in doubt, look at the latest report by Foreign Direct Investment standout watch list. It says that Kenya is expected to carry the strongest investment momentum in 2024 in Africa.

To build on these gains, to re-imagine firmer foundations for this country, to leap frog ourselves into higher middle-income economy status, let's reject the bland finger-pointing by the opposition.

Mr Kidi is convenor of Inter-Parties Youth Forum. [email protected]

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