THE PAST WILL SHAPE OUR FUTURE

2020 is the year to genuinely focus on Kenya

Kenyans are demanding that the President, the Cabinet, governors, MPs and MCAs do better in 2020

In Summary

• With the ongoing debate on the BBI report and the reforms that Kenyans want, we may lose another year to political debates if we do not shift our focus.

• We cannot live with the irony of Kenya improving in ease-of-doing business rankings each year while companies are cutting their workforce severy other day.

Kenyans gather at Uhuru Park grounds for Christmas Day celebrations in Nairobi on December 25.
DO BETTER: Kenyans gather at Uhuru Park grounds for Christmas Day celebrations in Nairobi on December 25.
Image: REUTERS

The year 2019  — when Kenyans vented anger and frustration towards the country's leadership — is behind us and today we welcome 2020.

The highlight of the year was public outrage and resentment about how badly they were doing. It was a year of discontent as they don't feel the economic growth touted by the government.

They were disgusted by speeches in which government patted itself on the back over big projects procured by huge loans and reports of a stable economy.
 

 

There was a torrent of bitterness in public, in letters to the editor, TV vox-pops, radio call-ins and on social media.

We only have a strong economy if we create jobs and revenue so families can sustain themselves. That isn't happening.

It is the government's job to make it happen. It's failing.

Spending power has been on a downward trend, widespread downsizing is a strong indicator things are not right.

Kenyans continued to see key government officials dragged to court over mismanagement of their taxes and resources. 

This is clearly not the country Kenyans aspire to and deserve. It's time for all public officers to wholeheartedly shift their focus to concrete development.

 

The leadership — from the President down to MCAs, as well as the opposition — have generated more heat than light, talk talk talking and planning about 2022, a referendum and BBI.

Depressingly, over the festive period, Kenyans have heard more about politics than concrete measures to improve lives.

Kenyans demand that those elected and named to build the country do better — including the presidency, the Cabinet, governors, MPs and MCAs.

They want better healthcare, roads, education, a stronger agriculture sector and a vibrant economy.

It is intolerable that Kenya improves in ease-of-doing-business annually while companies are cutting workforces every other day.

Kenyans cannot eat improved GDP while farmers struggle to find markets.

Many leaders in different spheres are alarmed that the economy has been mismanaged and called for reforms.

The President should not shirk from reforms that hurt those around him. He cannot wait much longer to crack the whip while the situation deteriorates.

The Treasury must ensure the flow of resources to agencies and arms of government as well as counties to stimulate the economy.

When ministries and counties cannot pay the private sector on time, people lose jobs. When counties don't get funds, Kenyans cannot get services.

We may lose another year to empty rhetoric if we do not shift focus.

While reforms are essential, we must ask ourselves what we have done with the existing Constitution, laws and policies to improve the country and people's wellbeing.

Kenyans too must take it upon themselves to reform. They are also part of the problem by enabling tribalism, nepotism and even corruption.

And so while we demand more from our leaders, we must also take it upon ourselves to make positive contributions to the nation's growth.

This year marks the beginning of the last 10 years of the Vision 2030, the blueprint for a middle-income economy. Time is running out and as things stand now we may not make it. 

The Big Four will be entering its third year in 2020 and Kenyans await progress.

With the rollout of the Universal Health Coverage, the government must ensure both quantity and quality.

For UHC to succeed, health workers must have a conducive environment.

On housing, the concept was imperfectly thought-out, as many people cannot build affordable houses. The cost of construction materials must go down.

Affordable Housing is about facilitating Kenyans to own homes as they deem best, not just about government constructing houses for them.

Manufacturing, key to job creation, cannot grow if the costs of energy, water and other materials remain high. If manufacturers cannot work optimally, they can't create jobs and lower the cost of living.

On January 1, 2021, we should be writing the opposite of this. We should be celebrating a country that is genuinely taking care of its people.