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February 23, 2019

Kenya Is On The Wrong Track: It Must Industrialise Or Perish

Teargas along Harambee avenue during the occupy parliament demonstration. Photo/Monicah Mwangi
Teargas along Harambee avenue during the occupy parliament demonstration. Photo/Monicah Mwangi

When I look at Kenya and listen to things many people say, I am worried for Kenya, my country. But again, most people don’t care for the country anymore. They only care about themselves.

When one looks at Kenya what does one see that warrants one to worry?

First and foremost, when one looks at Kenya, from Lamu, Migori, Mandera, Nandi, Garissa, Makueni and other places, one sees a country burning, a country in a state of anarchy and insecurity, a jungle society where the strong are ruling and eating the weak.

Secondly, when one looks at Kenya, one sees a country enjoying false, illusionary and superficial development, driven by corruption and without a foundation for real progress.

Kenya’s so-called development is not about production of marketable goods that Kenya can sell to the world but provision of services for individual profits. This superficial development is short-lived because it is not built on a foundation of industrialisation.

Third, when one looks at Kenya, one sees an economy where wealth of a few individuals is mistaken for the development of the entire country, without using poverty of the majority as a yardstick for under, non - and backsliding development.

To judge development, Kenyans only look at the glittering wealth of a few and refuse to see the hunger, poverty and misery of the majority who tell Ipsos-Synovate pollsters they are being led in the wrong direction and their future is bleak.

Ironically, the poor look to the rich for liberation, not dissimilar to a sheep looking to the hyena for liberation. Tragically, leaders continue to deceive people that a country develops, not by eradicating corruption, poverty, disease and ignorance but by the rich getting richer by hook or crook.

Misconception of development seems largely responsible for our failure to achieve it.

Fourth, when one looks at Kenya, one sees a political superstructure that is build on a foundation of horrible leadership, moral corruption, lack of political values, principles and non ethnic ideologies, blatant denials of reality, lies and encouragement to people to lead lives of intellectual darkness, illusions and make-believe fantasies that their lives and their leaders cannot be better and there is, therefore, no need for real change.

But why are Kenyans who are endowed with the mental and physical capacities to develop themselves continue to grovel in the mud and sewer like sewer rats?

Why is Kenya drifting into the dark past, anarchy, more corruption, intolerance, violence and greater poverty instead of moving forward to the collective heaven on earth?

Though frustrating and tiring to repeat, without sorting out their leadership problems, putting the nation before individual, and agreeing as a nation to work as hard as others did to develop, we will never the light of development. No miracle will ever develop Kenya.

How then does Kenya stop descending into chaos and anarchy, even as some think they are doing well and the ship of state is doing fine?

At the core and centre of our failures as a nation lies our wrong, any bad and fundamentally flawed leadership without public morals, without ideological compass, thoroughly corrupt and without a vision for the country. As late Chinua Achebe said about Nigeria – without anybody listening to him – the trouble with Kenya is simply bad leadership.

Stemming from bad leadership, the second cause of our problems is having a nation without vision or a ship without a compass. If navigating a ship in high seas without a compass is suicide, it is equally suicidal navigating a nation without a vision of some destination.

A country in the high seas that thinks it can survive doldrums without a compass can only get lost farther and farther from the shore. To save Kenya, the first mandatory step that Kenyans must take is to have right leadership. In fact, if anybody is looking for a reason why Kenya has so many problems, the first reason is bad leadership.

Once right leadership is in place and its vision is to develop the country, the second mandatory step Kenyans must take is to undertake industrialisation. Kenya cannot and will never develop without basic and advanced industrialisation.

For development to happen, however, it must be purposed and planned, not accidental, spontaneous and haphazard. Nor can development be left to private sector and market forces.

It must be guided by government and embarked on as a deliberate and well-thought out project that is agreed upon by the whole country. All Kenyans without exception must also be prepared to sacrifice for development while money for development must be sacrosanct and never allowed to be stolen. Without this, development is not possible.

To industrialise, Industrialisation Ministry must enjoy first priority in ranking and government funding, and must be coordinated with equally important Ministry of Cheap Energy, without which industrialisation is impossible.

Ministry of Education, science and technology should provide requisite knowledge and skills for industrialisation, and Ministry of Unity and Security must most ruthlessly combat corruption and negative ethnicity as enemies of progress.

Only a combination and coordination of above ministries can guarantee industrialisation. For Kenya and Africa, development is not an option. It is a must.

It is the only thing that can eradicate unemployment and ensure survival. To be meaningful, fruits of development must also reach everybody and every corner of the country.

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