• Eradicating poverty and ending the daily struggles to survive for most Kenyans has eluded each government since independence.
• Many say Mwai Kibaki did comparatively better than all other presidents we have had
We can all agree the Hustler Nation narrative was a brilliant reinvention of the then-candidate and now President William Ruto to counter the now-dead handshake between retired President Uhuru Kenyatta and Azimio leader Raila Odinga.
When it comes to effective messaging — be it in politics or business marketing — all you need is a simple message that resonates with the masses to buy your product or whatever you are selling. It doesn’t matter how flawed or internally consistent the message is so long as it moves the goods from the shelves, or in this case if it helps propel you to the office.
It was, therefore, amusing to see people demanding to know where the mama mbogas and other hustlers were in the slew of appointments and nominations Ruto made upon being sworn in as the next president.
The Cabinet Ruto unveiled, which was approved in Parliament, includes former ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi, a classic example of a dynasty product no different than the Uhuru and Raila voters were told to reject as not suitable to lead the country. The rest of the nominees are millionaires with Zachariah Njeru (Lands) being the “poorest” at a net worth of Sh80 million.
There is no hustler there, but it would be quite revealing to know the net worth of these individuals before they crossed paths and became part of the government either in an elective or previously appointed position.
Reality is nearly everyone in Kenya is a hustler and struggles to have ends meet other than the very few who have genuinely made it in business, have ill-gotten wealth, joined government, or are connected to the latter.
Ruto’s promise to deliver the hustler nation from poverty and daily struggles is, therefore, a promise to deliver nearly every Kenyan from poverty and daily struggles.
Will he? We certainly hope so.
Eradicating poverty and ending the daily struggles to survive for most Kenyans has eluded each government since independence. Many say Mwai Kibaki did comparatively better than all other presidents we have had and Ruto promises to continue where Kibaki left things.
Rather than questioning why this did not happen immediately upon him and Uhuru succeeding Kibaki, let us give him the benefit of doubt and say he means well and intends to do this. But will he?
During his Mashujaa Day speech, Ruto made a potpourri of pledges, which mirrors what he and Kenya Kwanza promised during the campaign. The problem with pledges even when made in good faith, is they often run smack against realities that have either not been thought through, or they have but remain an impediment.
Case in point is corruption. This is the big elephant in the room and as observers we can only watch and see what the Ruto government intends to do about this menace that has eaten at the very core of our country’s economic and social welfare leaving only a nation in starvation.
To realize many, if not all the pledges Ruto has made, economic activity must expand to generate income for the government to do many of the things that have been promised.
However, this will remain elusive unless the government is serious and takes corruption head on and let it be known it will not be business as usual.
Only then will investors be willing to come and invest in the country, something many are reluctant and outright refuse to even consider coming if the first thing they confront are extended hands to be greased.
By investors we are not just talking about the usual foreign investors developing countries struggle to attract, but also Kenyans in the diaspora want to seriously invest in Kenya. They, however hold back because of corruption and lack of mechanisms to ensure their investments are safe from conmanship and other unbecoming shenanigans that are anti-thetical to investment.
Given the tale tell signs, starting from the poor attendance of Mashujaa Day celebrations, the President has his work cut-out for him to deliver on his promises to maintain his and Kenya Kwanza’s hustler nation narrative.