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Forget politics, let’s fix key issues facing Kenya’s economy

By Charles Mulila | October 17th 2015


NAIROBI: Lost in the hullabaloo that has become Kenya’s politics are three major issues. One is the cash flow challanges that is threatening the economy, the high cost of accessing credit and the collapse of two banks within three months.

These challenges have been triggered by various factors not limited to the bloated public and constitutional office wage bill, the actualisation of the Constitution, decline in direct foreign funding and pilferage.

The huge recurrent expenditure occasioned by a bloated workforce is a social economic phenomena whose cause and course cannot be blamed on one person, either current or past leadership of this country.

After all, most regimes have used the lure of employment and freebies to win and maintain power hence the complexity of the issue. However, an opportunity arose for Kenya to fix this once and for all.

When the county governments became operational, they would easily have inherited many civil servants within their ranks. Even for those governors consumed by ethnicity, there were enough “home boys and girls” cooling off their heels doing little productive work in ministries.

But advisers, political analysts, cronies and other wilders of influence could not allow the county governments to breath.

The MCA’s could not be left out. It so happened that they had been introduced to a new vocabulary called impeachment and they used it to intimidate, coarse and drive fear into the young regional governments with abandon. It’s a known fact that most politicians treat voters like miscreants and loonies. This explains why they go against the wisdom of diligence at the expense of apathy and unbridled arrogance.

Then there is the cupidity of greed for cash that has triggered a spending spree of Government coffers in all the counties in the country. Although some of the projects do have value addition attributes, most of the projects so far undertaken are in most cases over stated in value leading to embezzlement of scare resources. Many projects of little value have sprouted in the counties But in some cases, roles have been duplicated leading to unnecessary waste of Government coffers. Analysts and pundits have time and again imputed that although devolution of resources to counties was a noble idea, it has been said it also encouraged devolution of graft and clanism all over the country.

The Council of Governors, a lobby group formed by the regional Governments has mutely tried to tackle the elephant in the room nurtured the vices elucidated above but has little if anything to show for it.

In fact, the current cash crunch that can be largely attributed to waste of government cash in the counties over the last three years.

The economic challenges facing this country have however been aggravated by politics. Squambling between the official opposition and the Government has flared political and ethnic temperatures needlessly.

That is why much as political competition and space is necessary, so is the need for political restraint if the country is to fully intergrate. With the Constitution now in place, the right officers are in place. Even the independence of these officers such as the NCIC, Office of the Public Prosecutions, Parliament and judiciary are all functioning independedly. But there is need to review this periodically with a view to ensuring that holders of these offices adhere to the very reasons why are established.

While at it, it is important also to interrogate some of these bodies to explore clauses that may hamper personal and professional liberties.

Bodies such as NCIC were formed primarily to enhance cohesion in Kenya following the post-poll violence.

NCIC, the body charged with reigning on hate speech has done well in terms of advocacy, but appears to have gained little ground in deterring offenders.

Politicians continue to spread hate speech through all forms of communication. This must be dealt with decisively as we roll towards 2017.

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