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Mr President, this is what we expect from your government

 President William Ruto signs the Finance Bill 2023 to law at State House, Nairobi. [PCS]

Dear Mr President,

Receive my greetings and those of many Kenyans, particularly the young and young at heart who believe in your ability to steer this ship, Kenya, to calmer waters of prosperity and equal opportunity.

For the avoidance of doubt Mr President, I take this opportunity to remind you that you are in office legitimately and for a moment do not allow yourself to be distracted by forces that are hellbent on using the prevailing economic situation to re-litigate the grievances of a lost election, for how to solve them is clearly spelled out in the Constitution.

However, Mr President, it is incumbent upon me to tell you the truth for I do not have immediate or apparent political interest to serve by writing to you except that we have a thriving economy where anyone willing to work can find a job and live in dignity.

Upon your ascendancy to office, many Kenyans looked forward to a government that would be lean, effective, and people-centered. However, the general feeling, particularly after the debacle around the appointment of the Chief Administrative Secretaries, enactment of the Finance Act 2023, and the allegation of wastage in public service has left many people disillusioned. Those who have always been left out and left behind still feel that there was only a change of guard at State House, but the edifice that has always sapped their ingenuity, hard work, and enterprise, remained intact.

The measures that you have already put in place like the fertiliser subsidy programme, the hiring of teachers, and the rolling out of the Hustler Fund while laudable, have not had a direct impact on the daily consumption of the households, and here is where the rubber hits the road.

Job losses have festered in the last 10 months since you assumed office and more Kenyans have to contend with jobs that continue to give lower pay even as the tax regime gobbles up their income. The perception that the executive has the legislature in its back pocket further complicates things for you. It heightens people's feelings of helplessness.

Your hustler narrative won so many hearts on the campaign trail. It appeared that finally, there is a government that is going to reward honest work. But that hope was quickly dashed when the Finance Bill was published. The tax burden it proposed if implemented, may see our middle-class dry up overnight.

As Abraham Lincoln once observed, "You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot help the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.” The Finance Act, if implemented as it is, is going to see a lot of SMEs embark on pay cuts for their employees or completely shut down altogether.

A protracted post-election fallout has always been painful and unnecessary. It distracts the government from doing that which it should and must do and also the people from that which they should do and can do for themselves. This then leaves the government unable to meaningfully become a tool of social progression and the people turned into whiners.

It is against this backdrop that Kenyans beseeched you in the past to engage in quiet direct diplomacy with your nemesis in the last elections. Graciousness in victory is a virtue. We plead with you to use the immense powers we bestowed in the presidency to ensure that never again in the remainder of your term in office, will a police officer point a gun at another Kenyan in the guise of dealing with maandamano.

The presidency is where big decisions and even bigger sacrifices are made. Mr President, please give us a government that is going to expand opportunity, not bureaucracy. The billions that the country would spend to sustain the CASs if spent prudently to build and grow a vibrant and vital system of free enterprise, would renew the faith of so many Kenyans in their government and their country.

Mr President, don’t let your presidency be sucked by 'small' politics like the four previous ones. Let it count, that in this time and place, we had you in the State House.

Mr Mwaga is a Policy and Governance Analyst. [email protected]

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