AGENDA NUMERO UNO

Graft will be Big 4’s undoing

In Summary

• Food security, the first of the Big Four, is crippled. Signs of paralysis are showing.

• A crippled agricultural sector means enhancing manufacturing is uncertain.

Your Excellency, reasonable citizens would understand if by 2022 the ‘Big Four’ plunk of your legacy flops. But there would be no excuse if the war on corruption flounders.

The saboteurs of the Big Four answer to a system of impunity. From the counties to the National Treasury, they have the opportunity, motive and means to undermine your ambitious development agenda. But this continues only if you allow it.

Your Excellency, you unveiled the Big Four agenda with optimism: “I am dedicating the energy, time, and resources of my administration to the Big Four. The Big Four will create jobs for our people to meet their basic needs.”  About 36 months before you retire, the dominant reality is theft, denial, and succession idiocy. The system is working at cross-purposes.

You know it. We, the people, know it.Every working day, there are winding queues of desperate Kenyans around the City Square Post Office, along Nairobi’s Haile Sellasie Avenue. They are registering for ‘free houses’.

They expect 500,000 affordable houses by 2022. But corruption kills their optimism. Such projects are gravy trains for tendersucks. Affordable housing may fail, even if capital and investors are found, unless some suspects are jailed.

Food security, the first of the Big Four, is crippled. Signs of paralysis are showing. None of the promised 67 dams of the Jubilee era is operational. The multi-purpose dams were expected to generate electricity to support manufacturing and irrigated agriculture.   

Against the background of massive plunder, raw theft, and corruption, running into Sh600 billion per year, according to the Auditor General, the Big Four agenda may collapse before 2022.

On March 19, Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri said on live TV the government would build 31 water pans before the rain starts. It’s raining, but the Kiunjuri promise, like others, remains wishes.

In May, last year, Environment CS Keriako Tobiko sent a delegation of 11 senior government officials, under a former Deputy Secretary, Environment, Dr Alice Kaudia, to verify an environmental crisis report from Homa Bay county. The destination was Midwest Karachuonyo, a division of 12 deathly, dry gullies. There was no follow-up. There was no value for public money.

The gullies are many times larger than the Mai Mahiu fissure. They have swallowed homesteads. About 200,000 acres are desolate. Addressing the challenge guarantees food, water, and environmental regeneration for about 150,000 people. International funding for this exists under the Climate Change Adaption. The missing link is local and ministerial leadership that sees public interest beyond their offices.

Upscaled food production is expected to increase average daily income of farmers by 34 per cent. It’s zero for now. Maize farmers in the national breadbasket are stuck with stocks. Food production, through irrigated agriculture, is in jeopardy. The risk could escalate unless state thieves are prosecuted. Other countries execute economic criminals. Here, we glorify their ingenuity.

A crippled agricultural sector means enhancing manufacturing is uncertain. Without raw materials, raising manufacturing contribution to the GDP from 8.5 to 15 per cent as you promised, is being sabotaged from inside the system.

You, the President, Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission CEO Twalib Mbarak and delegates must run dtate thieves out of town, to reclaim integrity in public office. Kinoti and Mbarak are already showing results. They have the public goodwill.

DPP Noordin Haji has the information he needs. But he should delete the automated response to whistleblowers, which his predecessor, Tobiko, left. The missing link is the will to rescue the people from the cynical view that corruption cannot stop a leader from delivering.

Another of your Big Four  agenda — universal health coverage — suffers massive assault from the National Hospital Insurance Fund. NHIF’s collusion with private hospitals to cheat is a matter of national notoriety. Against the background of massive plunder, raw theft, and corruption, running into Sh600 billion per year, according to the Auditor General, the Big Four agenda may collapse before 2022.

Corruption—the Big One— can be slayed once Your Excellency pounces. You have the power to rescue Kenya from the claws of state thieves. Do it for Kenya. Do it for your legacy.