Most Kenyans have heard the phrase ‘Big Four’ — which President Uhuru Kenyatta is banking on as his legacy. We also know the‘Building Bridges project was initiated by Uhuru when he reached out to Opposition leader Raila Odinga. It is about uniting Kenyans across the political divide, especially after last year’s very divisive presidential elections. Uhuru has also declared war on corruption.
What most of us don’t get is how all these initiatives come together. The Big Four already sounds very ambitious. Uniting Kenyans is a full-time agenda. Fighting corruption needs complete focus. Uhuru is trying to do all of them, simultaneously! Has he bitten off more than he can chew?! I do not think so.
The three initiatives look like complete but independent projects on their own — and in fact some might even say that were Uhuru to succeed in any one of them alone, his legacy would be secure. However I do not believe he can succeed in any one of them without succeeding in all of them. Essentially, as much as implementing the Big Four agenda successfully is clearly Uhuru’s ultimate goal, I do not think he can achieve the Big Four in a divided corrupt country.
Let us break everything down. Under the Big Four agenda ‘Food Security’ is certainly the most critical objective. But to achieve it Kenya needs to become an industrialised nation, which is where ‘Manufacturing’ comes in as the second plank in the Big Four. But manufacturing depends on ‘happy workers’ — nothing makes for good production like a happy worker. But a happy worker must first be happy outside their job.
So ensure they own a comfortable home, and have access to medical treatment for their family. The result is a happy employee in the industries! This must be how we ended up with ‘Affordable Housing’ and ‘Universal Healthcare’ as the third and fourth planks of the Big Four. But can we achieve the Big Four in a country that is politically polarised? I suspect not.
Last year’s election divided us in ways we could not believe. Uhuru understood that as long as these divisions exist his Big Four would become an agenda acceptable only to his side of the political divide. It is also possible that many of the projects he had in mind would be sabotaged – directly or indirectly - by those Kenyans who did not agree with him politically.
So this must have been the basis on which he reached out to Raila, and they ‘shook hands’. This is how we ended up with the ‘Building Bridges’ project. Now the two political divides are united behind the Big Four.
Finally, there is the fact that behind each Big Four agenda is the need for huge amounts of public funds. Uhuru will be investing billions of shillings from the Exchequer into multiple government initiatives. This is just the kind of environment that graft cartels love.
So Uhuru has a clear socioeconomic development blueprint for his second term (Big Four) and has united Kenyans behind his plan, but corruption could still completely derail his agenda. This is why he has taken the war to the corruption cartels and it does not matter that they are viciously fighting back; this is a war he intends to win. He must. His legacy depends on it.
This is how to understand Uhuru’s second term. He intends to implement the Big Four. But to do it he must have a united country. He must also slay the dragon of corruption that hounded his first term. Now you understand why we say ‘kitaeleweka’.
‘Building Bridges’, fighting corruption and implementing the ‘Big Four’ will happen. It must. Uhuru’s legacy depends on it.