It is hard to be President William Ruto at the moment. After promising so much, especially during the campaigns, it turns out the promises were close to utopian. That is now haunting his government. A lot points to an increasingly frustrated population. Those who know bits of economics or Finance can tell that the country is not and has not been in the best of economic pedestal for long. So, President Ruto faces one of the most difficult waves for an economic paradigm shift in the history of Kenya.
He inherited a problematic economy, but it is not easy to fix Kenya, yet he has to. Times of crisis or severe problems define how great leaders emerge. He has to seize the moment. President Kibaki had his share of success and failures as well. But he is mostly remembered for reviving the declining economy that he inherited. At a time when things were looking quite desperate and almost hopeless, he inspired a new direction.
Ruto is not responsible for the mess we find ourselves in, but we need a fixer, someone who can bring the required economic transformation. Ruto promised to be the one, and hustlers believed in him. Right now, hustlers see a red flag in new taxes that will make their lives more difficult. How he navigates the present disappointing economic outcomes will make or break him.
The long queues at passport centres across the country as well as the main airports are testament to the fact that the youths are flying out to pursue their dreams abroad. And the government is prodding them on. This is where Ruto has some of the low hanging fruits. The Kenyan economy cannot realistically offer enough good jobs or enough business opportunities for many. Therefore, as he tries to fix the local problems, he has to tap into the globe.
There are many opportunities in countries with labour deficits of all kinds. Get Kenyans there. However, use government mechanisms to contain the many crooks and cons who are also busy exploiting desperate Kenyans. Lately, two of my cousins were conned close to Sh500,000 and I had to seek a lot of legal interventions for them. The president needs to come with laws through Parliament to weed out such thieves exploiting desperate Kenyans.
It will take some time to get the desired economic conditions and we can’t wait as people rot in poverty and missed opportunities. I was surprised the other day by a friend, a former banker and accountant who left for the USA to practice. He has his rental houses in Nairobi and tea farms in Kiambu County, but aged 80, he found it prudent to follow his children to the USA. He now works as an accountant in one of the big cities there.
He is undeterred by age. He told me he wants to take the last leg of his life while practicing what he loves and in a predictable economy. He reminded me that being a seasoned entrepreneur and an accountant, the world is full of possibilities.
Mr Ikunda is a political commentator