Why Kenya’s will always be a middle class economy with 3rd-world-country problems

You have hard such big words and statements as Transformation Agenda that often keep popping up in with hash tags such as #TransformingKE / #TransformationKe whenever the government is confronted with matters of governance or the fight against corruption, security or lack of them. And the, most powerful President alive bolstered the chorus recently when he announced to the world ‘Kenya is ready for takeoff.’

Allow the cane cutter to play the devil’s advocate, I may not please you but these are matters of facts. To me it’s a case of the more things change the more they remain the same sort of the French saying.

Kenya’s plane has had its engine running for close to 50 years, but each time the plane is about to take off, there seems to be one thing or the other still remaining that we must either bring on board or remove and it takes eons to do that, thus our plane seems to be just in one spot burning fuel for nothing.

No work done as the physic students would tell you. We seem to have some of our superstitions that we find very difficult to abandon. It has become fashionable in Kenya to resort to resurrecting organist criminal gangs we thought we buried without looking at the ramification thereafter. During the so called fight against illicit brew, we chose to dance with the Devil instead of following the law in the fight. Recently leaflets were found in Kikuyu town purportedly written by Mungiki, warning residents to start paying protection fees which read in parts:

"We helped you with the alcohol menace; you have now kicked us out without pay. Anybody putting up a building in the area will be required to pay Sh100,000. Matatu crew will be forced to pay Sh200 per day to operate within Kikuyu town and its environs.”

A few days’ later four guards were found with deep cuts after being attacked by an estimated 10 machete wielding gangs. In short the Mungiki is back!

Doesn’t it strike you as odd the penchant of the ministry of education to pronounce the word ‘ban?’ how many times does the ministry ban Mocks when in all aspects it did the same in 2001? We have this annoying idea that mock exams are the reasons why students go on strike. Wrong. First we have talked about this curriculum so many times that now we sound stale, but the ministry seems not to get it.

There is a rot that has continuously chained our children to mental slavery where students sit in class but things like Calculus, Algebra, periodic table etc do not make sense in the bigger schemes of a practical life. We need much more than what the curriculum developers often do: cutting passages and chapters from one subject in a class and using them on the same subject but in a different class then still calling those changes in the curriculum-piecemeal review.

Equally we need to rethink the state administered National examination’s role in our education system. It has become another cut throat competition just like our politics; the rich have their way while the poor have no place in the high table of great performers as far as leakage and transition to University is concerned.

Suppliers pay millions, to get confidential information on exanimation papers before the schools so as to sell the same information to high end schools. A good example, how did suppliers get to know that the microscope would come in the Biology Practical examination as early as May 2014 while schools were still in the dark?

Still  we need to revisit the parallel degree programs, there is no way a child can take 12 years in  Primary and  secondary, only take 2 years in University to be a Graduate! Never on earth except only this side of the globe called Kenya. We are in a hurry and under pressure to graduate but we are not looking at the substance in the system. To me the KCPE & KCSE have outlived their meaning and substance, reached sell-by date-period , and the earlier we wake up to this reality the better.

Just when you thought things would be better the latest report reveals, Kenya has lost its spot as one of the leading destinations for investors in Africa in spite of the recently held Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Nairobi and the Jubilee Government’s Transformation agenda chorus. Thus the only thing Kenya has remained to be leading in now is hacking, yes hacking of banks, and school computers as indicated by a report from Africa, information security service provider Cyberoam. That is where Kenyatta University and JKUAT has put Kenya, Hotbed of insidious innovation ahead of Egypt, Morocco and South Africa respectively.

As I am wont to say, the government must do away with all those irritating licenses that makes it very difficult to operate business in Kenya from County, Health, NEMA, Music Copy right for those operating entertainment joints), etc. It must also reign in on counterfeit goods and illegal importation of products such as sugar where even supermarkets nowadays have their own brands, never mind they own air in terms of sugarcane plantation or sugar mills.

A closer look at the economic performance over the past 5 years paints a totally different picture. A review of Kenya’s Quarterly Gross Domestic Products (QGDP) and Balance of Payments from 2011-2015 shows that Kenyan’s plane was almost up on air in 2011 with the first QGDP up at 7.6% from 7.10% same period the previous year 2010. This tells a lot about the promises and the confidents brought about by the promulgation of the New Constitution in 2010. From there the QDG nosedived to 4.7% in 2012! The first QGDP 2015 is at 4.9% slightly up from the 2014 of 4.6%. The number of Kenyans leaving on less than a dollar a day has relatively remain at constant high figures since 2012. From the foregoing scenario it suffices to say we are just in one spot.

Then Jubilee government came to power in 2013 and we got a new formula of dismissing any report genuine or otherwise that does not seem to favor us: cloud everything in cacophonous din. From Mpketoni, Langata and Caren land saga NYS and now the Auditor General’s report, Jubilee allied politician have a well choreographed script from where to read.

They have perfected the art so much so that the thief now sounds more convincing than the whistle blower. While at it by the choirmaster Adan Duale, they make sure they shut off all avenues of sensible reasoning that by the time you realize, it is too late to proceed for they shall have moved on. What is the need of churning out reports after report or pretending to be investigating corruption and other crimes only to end up wasting money through advertisements and other side shows as the Kenya anticorruption body EACC is now doing?

Generating a lot of heat with no fire! Each year the Auditor general and the Public Investment Committee (PIC) write volumes and volumes of reports on misappropriation of public funds, but whom do you see on the dock? Some junior officers whose duty was to print the vouchers as were instructed of them by their bosses.

Then again we have just recently woken up and realized the office of the Auditor General is occupied by a fellow not from our tribe, huh, Kenya I tell you, we may just be the 9th wonder of the world with the manner in which  we carry and run our affairs.

We have entrenched into our psyche negative ethnicity to the point that we are happily wallowing in abject ignorance even in matters we ought to know better. We have reached a situation where the person legally mandated to ask questions is now being asked questions for daring to ask questions. As innocuous as the report may have been, it irked the high and mighty to the point even the Deputy Presidents William Ruto of all the people who ought to know the virtue therein in shutting your mouth jumped into the debate mouth first without having a second thought. 

Being the second in command in this country his loose talk on the matter has pernicious effect on the office and work of the auditor general. We are happy to thrive in the miasma of lies and not ready to be confronted by the truth. I read elsewhere that the Auditor General has sounded alarm that his staff and his own life are in danger. Did I here one Christ Kirubi say that the people from the lakeside ran down KQ? The engine is still raving as the cane cutter is swatting flies out in the field.

 A wise man once said, you can’t cross the river by each time reaching the middle and turning back to get rest on the bank. We are changing the constitution, piecemeal of course; another of our vexing habits. We started with the security bill, it failed to stop the Al-shabab because our police officers and their bosses are busy escorting pastor James Ngang’a or covering up his evil acts (sounds ironical given he is a Pastor), or flying their daughters and girlfriends in police choppers.

And now we have the Kenya Defense Forces (Amendment Bill) 2015 which dictates of that very constitution for its amendments. What is that that keeps us going back to the same trough of poison that the Kanu regime almost choked life out of us with? Kanu, if you can remember started off this way in the guise of securing the country and ended up amending the constitution so many times that by the time the new one was being written, we had no more than short notes to read and refer to as the old constitution, Uhuru Kenyatta is following in the footsteps of Nyayo and that is how it goes him being an offshoot of the same ideology. Instead of providing the right platform for business operation we are stuck in a rut in pursuit of to consolidating power, leaving our economic takeoff feeling like a prolonged labor pain.

By the way I just heard some whispers that the Judiciary needs yet another radical surgery. Phew. With such habits, the cane cutter can continue swatting the flies in the field while Kenya’s plane is till raving on the same spot.