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Growing optimism as 2013 beckons

By - | December 30th 2012 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

The curtain is closing fast on the 2012 holiday festive season as the country prepares to hold the first General Election under the new Constitution.

The highlight of all this is the election of Kenya’s Fourth President as the country prepares to celebrate its 50th Jubilee Anniversary since its independence.

A lot has been done this year but the country needs to scale new heights to achieve Vision 2030 and attain a double-digit economic growth.

Expectations are high that politically instigated tribal clashes that have characterised past polls since the first multiparty elections of 1992 will not be repeated.

The Constitution has put in place structures to ensure what was witnessed in the 2007 polls does not occur again. These include a reformed Judiciary, a new Inspector General of Police and a reformed unit, a more organised and level playing field to ensure fair play among actors on the political arena and a revamped electoral body.

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But even with these gains, there are worrying signs lawlessness and anarchy witnessed in various parts of the country could spin out of control yet again.

We have witnessed illegal gangs roaming the districts of Tana River and Samburu country as well as urban thugs in Nairobi’s Eastleigh area hurling grenades and explosives at will as security organs watch helplessly.

Negative ethnicity is at an all-time high as selected tribes form political alliances to lock out opponents from their backyards, stereotype and tag their competitors and hurl derogatory remarks at the competition.

Unemployment is on the rise with the outgoing administration having done little to defuse this ticking time bomb. It is this restive and idle segment of the population that it is a target for politicians out to use them for their own selfish ends.

While construction of the Thika superhighway is a gem in the Grand Coalition Government’s record, blocked drainage systems and floods witnessed in parts of the country is a sign that indeed more work needs to be done on this front.

It will be recalled that it was during the last days of Kanu in power that State operators sold off national assets or got into long term contracts, denying the incoming administration space and resources to move forward. Some of these contracts are still in force today even as the Coalition Government prepares to exit.

A case in point is the currency printing contract by UK firm De La Rue, which has been the subject of heated debate both in and outside Parliament. With the 2013 polls entering the homestretch, all eyes will be on Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo, who is expected to ensure a peaceful poll and a seamless transition to the next Government.

It was during the 2007 polls and the regular and administration police were used by the establishment to stir trouble in parts of the country with trigger happy police seen shooting innocent people on live television.

It is still unclear to this day, who authorised the transportation of Administration Policemen to parts of the country during the polls or even what their missions were.

The Inspector General has the goodwill of Kenyans and has been recruited through a transparent and competitive process, an overwhelming mandate that the holder of this office should wield without fear or favour.

For instance, the public is anxiously waiting for the police to arrest perpetrators and key financiers of the terror campaign now in Tana River and Samburu counties.

There are numerous incidences of hate speech that goes on campaign platforms, right under the nose of law enforcement officers. We hope that all the security agencies the Police, National Intelligence Services will play their roles without undue interference from the Executive and that they will discharge their duties in a non-partisan manner.

As we usher in a New Year this week, it is our wish that whoever will take over from President Kibaki will steer the country to a more prosperous and promising nation.

Kenya Jubilee Anniversary economic growth
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