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There are a lot of things we need to fix in Kenya

By Mark Bichachi | December 4th 2019 at 08:15:00 GMT +0300

President Uhuru Kenyatta reads through the Building Bridges Initiative report when he received it at State House, Nairobi.

Kenya is blessed with an abundance of agricultural land, mineral wealth, beautiful landscapes, forests and an amazing people who can produce growth from thin air. But we seem cursed with politicians who are majorly preoccupied with succession politics.

For far too long we have trusted the Executive, Parliament and Judiciary to people who think about their wealth and health and not ours.

Which is why a policy should be introduced to compel them to use the services they offer. You see if the Health CS was admitted for just one day to one of the public hospitals, I am sure the services there would improve overnight; the toilets would smell fresher and the pharmacy would suddenly be well stocked.

If the Transport CS got stuck in traffic for just an hour, we would soon discover that jams are optional. BRT would come rolling in a matter of months.

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That aside, just a week after the release of the BBI task force report, some politicians have devised all manner of excuses to avoid its full debate and implementation. This is because to them, as I have said before, it is a 2022 poltical weapon. They care little if Kenya wins.

Are the lawmakers who oversee a Sh3 trillion unbalanced budget suddenly concerned about expenditure on a referendum? No, they are concerned they will be forced to oppose a document they have endorsed and can’t find fault in.

As such, like drowning men, they are clutching at straws. The BBI report, they argue, says what we already know, the Constitution already fixes those problems and other such empty platitudes.

The BBI report captures our pain and we need to use every tool at our disposal to ensure we deliver real change to every Kenyan. We easily forget that between 2002 and 2010 we held two elections and two referenda. And our country was better for it. Let us not tire the minds of our people with vain arguments.

Instead, let us discuss the things that matter. For example, the average Kenyan is so afraid for his safety that he has two main doors. A metal one and a wooden one and both have multiple locks. This tells you that Kenyans live in fear.

Further in a Kenyan’s car (for those who own one) is a sword, a torch and a rungu. All because they are afraid. Actually, Kenyans spend a lot of time thinking about their safety. That reduces their productivity.

Don’t forget that as soon as he steps out of his house, he has to spend hours on pot-holed roads. By the time Kenyans arrive to their workplaces they are frustrated, tired and still worried about their houses with two doors.

And once done with work, they are not sure about their pay. There are always delays. There is always a chance that his money would vanish into thin air or his business could crumble. Despite winning a tender one might still need to grease a few palms.

As we struggle, we forget that developed nations simplify the lives of their citizens. First they have made their nations secure. In most developed nations the likelihood of crime is low. This ensures that the minds of the citizens are set free to create more wealth instead of protecting the little wealth they have.

Second, developed nations have order. Ensuring predictable results for actions taken. This ensures for example, that your route to work will always take the same time and in the event you are stuck, there are dependable and accessible alternatives.

We need such order on our roads and in our lives. We need to better manage traffic, offer options to passengers and ensure they have peace of mind while in transit.

How does it make sense that once you enter any vehicle in Nairobi, you have to close the windows to avoid phone snatchers? What is supposed to be a calming ride home can easily turn into hell because you have to be sure the person seated next to you is not a thief.

We must also face the reality that NHIF should be reformed. It does not make sense that a cancer diagnosis can wipe out a family’s wealth in a matter of months. We need to protect our people from disease and the poverty it causes.

Lower taxes

Every often, I am added to a WhatsApp group to donate to a medical bill. From now on if you add me to that group please also add the Health CS, your local MP, MCA and governor. They must also feel the pain of the services they offer.

We must also not forget to address the issue of taxes. Countries such as ours need to learn that lower taxes means more money spent on goods and services. Not only by Kenyans but also by foreigners as well.

We forget how easy it can be for Kenya to become East Africa’s Dubai, just by lowering our taxes and allowing our many malls to sell good cheaply. This way our neighbours would pour into our nation to buy. This simple tweak would turn around our economy and wealth would be our portion.

Further, the government have strict timelines on when to pay for procured goods and services. The same should apply to large businesses that procure goods and services from individuals and SMEs. The suffering of suppliers must come to an end.

The fact is, an your MP might not tell you this, Kenya is easy to fix. But our leaders are just too selfish greedy and power hungry to allow change.

The curse of Kenya today is 2022 and leaders who do not want to take simple steps to create a more wealth and make Kenyans more healthy and safe.

 

Mr Bichachi is a communication consultant. [email protected]


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