Letter to Uhuru; Kenyans need a little more money in their pockets now than they do a prime minister

By Mbuthia Mwaniki | Wednesday, Nov 27th 2019 at 10:28
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President Uhuru Kenyatta is a man under siege. He appears to have tried it all, from fiery warnings to mass sacking of senior public officers to a public show of hopelessness, to teaming up with the opposition. All these though indicators of indecisiveness, also double up as indicators of how far the man is willing to go to leave a legacy.

Considering his repeated statements that newspapers are for butcheries, I hope this page wraps his meat, and he gets to read it. There’s very little that can be done in the remaining two years before his time is up, so below I have selected what I consider essential must do’s.

Infrastructure development.

At this point, we cannot come up with new infrastructure projects. It would be best practice to complete the projects that have already begun. This might not seem a good idea as there are many projects that have been on the pipeline, but if rushed, they would end up being white elephants as the next government is unlikely to prioritize them. Kenyans are also quite burdened by the taxes on them; new projects would mean more money hence more loans and pressure on the tax collector to up his collection, which has an extreme effect on the ordinary citizen.

Corruption.

Corruption can be reduced, maybe even eradicated in the next 2.5 years. Get together a team of willing judges, investigators, and advocates who are also fed up with the corruption cartels to investigate and prosecute all those suspected effectively. People at the entry-level of their careers usually have the urge to prove their metal hence are the best for this job, people at the sunset days of their careers also put on a show to leave a good legacy, so while selecting the panel of judges, prosecutors and investigators let’s leave out the ‘experienced’ middle level. The judges should be placed both in the High Court and appellate courts with exclusive jurisdiction on matters of corruption. Their remuneration should be one good enough for them not to need employment after successfully taming corruption.

The economy.

I think the worst of your advisors are those on economic matters. Raising taxes on products and services more often than not leads to the collection of less tax. If you raise taxes on kerosene, I’ll use firewood, if you raise the taxes on beer I’ll drink illicit liquor, if you raise taxes on gambling, I’ll quit sponsoring local football, if you raise my cost of doing business here I’ll take my business to Ethiopia. We need foreign money like we never did; we do not have enough local resources to support our growth curve. Simple business practices like ‘the one with the lowest price tag sell the most’ apply here too, Kenya should have the most conducive policies for foreign investment now that the security threat is well handled.

Politics.

You do not have time for this as you have rightly done before snob on those who pull you to the political direction. Be it referendums on parliamentary systems or whatever other things they think will capture the people’s attention, this is not the time for it. Let it be the next guy’s problem. Kenyans need a little more money in their pockets now than they do a prime minister. You’ll be surprised by the number of people who have openly declared that they will not take part in the next general election. If anything should be done politically, then it is to re-establish public trust in the system, even with the growth in population, we have fewer patriots that we even did.

Who takes over after you.

We all know that the exiting president has a huge underhand role in the choice of the incumbent. I do not advise that you openly campaign for him. I, however, suggest that you give your choice candidate a platform to show Kenyans their ability before 2022. The candidate must be a person of strong character not just before the cameras but in reality. You have had the privilege to work with so many leaders be it as Governors, Senators Members of Parliament or whatever other leadership position they hold, all you have to do now is from this pool increase their duties of service to the country and in turn their visibility to a level where Kenyans can notice them, leave the rest to the political parties. If you, however, decide to abscond this task all your efforts to leave Kenya, a better place shall go down the drain, and worse still, your legacy shall not outlive you. We the public require a little guidance at choosing leaders, where left unguided the effects are all so clear in our choices for the two powerhouse counties.

MBUTHIA MWANIKI

ADVOCATE OF THE HIGH COURT OF KENYA

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