Why Kenya’s political rhetoric causes more harm than good
By Isaac Kalua Green
| August 28th 2021
Ferocious political noise rips apart societies and drives away investors. This is what is happening in Kenya today. With elections eleven months away, various political leaders are hurling insults and accusations at each other causing politics to overshadow all else.
What they don’t seem to realise is that their ardent supporters habitually follow suit and ultimately split the nation thereby upsetting service delivery in public and private sectors. This is the exact opposite of civilised politics that the 2010 Constitution envisages.
Our beloved politicians must realise that when they are in opposing camps, they are simply political opponents who will disagree on political ideas and strategies. However, they are not mortal enemies who must keep going at each other’s throats and in so doing provoke their supporters to do the same.
This arrogant, insensitive attitude has cost the country lives before and must not be allowed to fester. Currently, we may not have Kenyans fighting in the streets, but they are for sure weeping silently. On the other hand, investors are holding on their capital until such a time that they can sense political stability.
This is because investment detests any trace of political instability. In the aftermath of the recently concluded Zambian elections, the Kwacha tremendously gained ground on the dollar, which makes imports and repayment of foreign debt cheaper.
Before the elections, the Zambian currency was lagging far behind the dollar partly due to political tension. This resulted in a windfall for exporters. However, it was difficult for many to seize that opportunity due to the prevailing political uncertainty of a smooth transition.
Between January and June this year, Kenyans in the diaspora remitted Sh192 billion. This amount was three times more than the Sh43.5 billion that Treasury disbursed to our county governments in June. If the diaspora community continues to sense political instability, such coffers shall dwindle.
Kenya’s private sector is estimated to account for 77 per cent of employment while public sector jobs are estimated to account for 23 per cent. As such the private sector continues to humbly appeal for political stability which is the decisive recipe for economic growth. Accordingly, it is the responsibility of our political leaders to create a deliberate all-encompassing enabling environment for the private sector.
I suggest that we borrow a leaf from Israel and Japan. Although Israel has held four elections within two years, government functionality and economic systems are never affected. They have learned to divorce politics from government. They trade bitter words but never allow those words to infiltrate into the functioning of government or affect the economy adversely.
The same is true of Japan which has also had its fair share of elections in the last two decades. Despite this, Japan has remained steadfast in its position as a global economic superpower. That’s because just like Israel, they never allow political competition to cannibalise their economy.
For our great nation to flourish I suggest that our dear president and his deputy must talk to each other instead of talking at each other. They might not agree in principle, but their chemistry must be right for the good of the nation. Other political leaders worth following must speak to their political base to calm down the current toxic politics stifling effective service delivery.
Factually, one of the worst kept secrets is some public servants are confused. On paper, they know who they are answerable to. But in practice, their loyalties are torn between their political godfathers.
Ultimately, the more I cherish that indeed politics defines mankind’s quality of life, the more I appreciate that there are only two types of human beings: those who use people to attain their personal political interests and those who use politics to enhance the quality of life for fellow mankind. Which side do you belong? Think green act green!
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