Time to bridge the political divide, work with Ruto to create wealth

President William Ruto speaks during a past event at the DP residence in Karen, Nairobi. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

President John F Kennedy of the United States once said patriotism consists not in waving the flag, but in striving that a country shall be righteous as well as strong in charting its future.

According to him, for a country to survive and prosper, it requires the sacrifice, the effort and the thoughtful attention of every citizen.

As curtain falls on 2022, there can never be a better time for the 54 million Kenyans to sit back and reflect on past gains and challenges and the journey ahead for our republic.

Against all odds, we emerged victorious in the just-ended year. All pillars of our democracy were tested and proven. On August 9, we held elections which President William Ruto won, ending in a Supreme Court contest which upheld his victory. The naysayers had predicted doom – that the country would be torn apart by clashes and deep-seated ethnic wars similar to what happened in 2007 and 2008. But alas, the country remained united.

On this first day of the New Year, my appeal to Kenyans is to hold our beloved country dear at all times, remembering the sore sacrifices of our fore fathers and the big dreams they had for the nation and our nascent democracy. Nothing is possible with the right effort and attitude. 

Most importantly, let every Kenyan support the administration of President Ruto. Despite differences in political opinion, we can only have one president and one government at a time. Supporting the president and the Kenya Kwanza administration in taking the country forward would be the most ideal thing. At any rate, the country is larger than all of us. We must desist from divisive acts that will only serve to delay the realization of a new dawn under Ruto. The president and his deputy Rigathi Gachagua are equal to the task. They have big dreams for the country. They mean well for us all no matter how we voted.

This year, let’s rally behind them and pull in the same direction. This is not to say we hold back on our divergent opinions. The Constitution allows freedom of thought and opinion. However, politics of doom, of brinkmanship and self-conceitedness should have no place in Kenya in the New Year.

Let the government of the day enjoy the goodwill of each and every Kenyan, opposition strongholds included. I urge Azimio leaders to support Ruto unreservedly bearing in mind that at the end of the day, we are all Kenyans with similar aspirations. The president should equally be magnanimous and reach out to all leaders accordingly.

So far so good. With the President reiterating his determination to fulfill each of the campaign pledge of his young administration, we can only hope for the best. The recent launch of the Hustler Fund was spot on, not to mention the many infrastructure projects underway, including the affordable housing programme and the Nairobi rail city project. Kenyans must appreciate that the future is bright. We must not be captive to our systems and procedures. Let’s review them as we a go along and see how to make them better. In my view, it is about time we revisited our devolved system to begin with.

The proposal to raise the number of counties from 47 to 52 is a worthy idea that deserves attention. Counties should be empowered to manage local resources and impact the lives of the local communities. Increasing the number of devolved units will take services and resources closer to the people. It is also a sure avenue through which minorities will have s ay in the management of resources.

Take a case of Migori County. A sub county like Nyatike has all the ingredients of a county, talk about population, landmass and resources such as minerals along the Macalder belt, agriculture and fisheries in Lake Victoria. Its economy is thriving. If made a county of its own, locals will certainly reap benefits of devolved power. Having additional counties will certainly ensure every community has a stake in the decision-making table. In 2023, Kenyans have a golden chance to take the country forward. We must rally behind Ruto in achieving our collective dreams. We must provide the naysayers wrong.

Wishing you a happy new year.