Kenya Kwanza fumbling has dashed hustlers' high expectations

President William Ruto shares roast maize with Mowlem residents in Endebess, Trans Nzoia County, May 2019. [DPPS]

From lethal brews that have killed and turned many men into vegetables, to politically-induced fights in the quest for dominance, Central Kenya is fast gaining infamy as the new theatre of the absurd. 

A clash between Thika MP Alice Ng’ang’a and Kamenu MCA Mburu Kang’ethe turned fatal last week. Friday’s Limuru III meeting chose retired President Uhuru Kenyatta as leader of the newly formed Haki Coalition; the clearest indicator that Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua and cohorts have lost favour. 

These divisions are the price Central Kenya must pay for buying Kenya Kwanza's pre-election spiel on dynasties and hustlers hook, line and sinker. It is the price to pay for spitting on the unifying political patronage of the Kenyatta family. The Luhya have been there before, and for decades, have been agonising over how to locate the elixir called Luhya unity. 

With the emergence of the Kenyatta and Gachagua camps, including others in between, Gema will be looking for a similar elixir soon. However, they are not alone in this vortex. Luo Nyanza, once united under the Odinga family patronage, is facing a similar dilemma with impulsive young Turks committed to disturbing the status quo.

This negativity coincides with the time Kenya Kwanza took over the country's leadership. It started on the wrong footing; that of hatred expressed through derogatory statements against the ‘handshake brothers’. There was so much vitriol, many wondered if indeed Kenyans had not stepped from the frying pan into the fire. The jury is still out there.

What Kenya Kwanza promised and what it is executing are diametrically opposed, which raises questions:  Was Kenya Kwanza a mistake? What positivity has it brought to Kenyans? Is there hope for a better tomorrow outside the hallucinations experienced by its collective leadership?

A clip of Dr Ruto lambasting Uhuru’s regime for excessive taxation has emerged on social media. Yet, in a complete turnaround, Ruto has vowed to increase taxation from Kenyatta’s 14 per cent of earnings to 22 per cent in a couple of years, and seemingly doesn’t care that Kenyans are hurting, as long as the Bretton Woods institutions say he is a swell guy. 

Ruto promised frugality in government spending yet today, billions of shillings are being expended on office renovations, cars and a coterie of advisors while taxpayers cannot get basic drugs, including life-saving vaccinations, in public hospitals.

Kenyans continue to die at home, not because of a lack of doctors, but because they are poor. The government doesn't give a hoot, not least because the hoi polloi are a mere statistic, useful once every five-year electoral cycle. 

Many children do not attend school for lack of fees. Having created grounds for moral decay, it is dishonest of the government to turn around and decry rising levels of crime and drug abuse among the youth who are craving an escape from the harsh realities that successive governments have lied to them education would preclude. 

Acquisition of education has become a poverty creator because families dispose of property in pursuit of an education that ultimately serves no purpose when opportunities are denied to the youth. Moreover, the dispensation of education is skewed in favour of the affluent whose lineage will continue to ride roughshod over the poor majority.

It doesn't need rocket science to determine which social strata produce doctors, engineers, architects and others from capital-intensive courses.

If Kenya was a divided society before the advent of Kenya Kwanza, the principle of shareholding in public service appointments has made sure that this has more than tripled, making more Kenyans feel as if they have been cut off from the dining table.

Such hegemony only increases tribalism, a vice against which the government is yet to eliminate 61 years after it was declared public enemy number one.