Numbers don’t lie! The final 2022 poll numbers have clearly revealed three groups of people in Kenya. For starters, 22.1 million Kenyans registered to vote in this year’s elections. Out of these, just over 30% voted for President-Elect H.E. William Ruto while another 30% for former Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga. Approximately 30% of the 22.1 million registered voters didn’t vote at all. Remember that millions more did not register as voters.
Obviously, when citizens reach a point of such indifference, then the country is hurtling towards Intensive Care Unit.
The President-elect’s first major task should be to unify these differing groups of Kenyans into a united force for a better country. This doesn’t mean that we should all think in the same way. Rather, we should lift each other up instead of tearing each other apart.
Since the president is the symbol of national unity, he must face the social and economic bulls by horns. If the economy begins to rise in an all-inclusive manner, it will empower Kenyans from all corners of the country. That’s the kind of practical unity that we need.
In the spirit of empowering millions of Kenyan economic sufferers, I suggest that the President-elect adheres to global financial norms. As Mario Cuomo, a former New York Governor famously said, ‘politicians’ campaign in poetry, but they govern in prose.’ In other words, the time for election promises is now over, what is now demanded is meticulous, intentional action.
One of these actions is to meet our obligation to external lenders because countries are measured by their fiscal strength. I suggest that we resist any impulsive temptation to restructure our international loan repayments as this may send mixed signals which result in dire consequences that include a weaker shilling and issuance of junk bonds. As their name suggests, junk bonds have a high risk of default on payment.
A country only starts swimming in such waters when the economic storm becomes worse. As such, the Government must reassure international investors that their money is safe with us. This will reroute our economic ship into calmer waters. Such calm financial waters are always the preferred fishing ground for Foreign Direct Investment which we must focus on. In addition, the new administration must nurture such a financial climate that tangibly entrenches Public Private Partnerships.
Importantly, our Green Thinking Action Party (GTAP) will engage with the Government in unity of purpose based on our profound ideology and will deploy the green scorecard to ensure that economic growth does not hurt our environment and society in any way.
Further, New State and private trade partnerships must be forged across Africa. Such trade unity will unlock intra-Africa’s massive trade potential as we empower the populace. Indeed, time is ripe for the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to be turbo-charged.
On the global front, the economy continues to struggle, which further complicates matters for Kenya and Africa. In the UK as reported, inflation has hit a 40-year high resulting to some basic commodities rising by 12.7%. This proves that similar food price hikes here in Kenya are caused by both global and local factors. The new administration will need to come clean about this so that they can manage Kenyans’ expectations. Unrealistic expectations based on election promises undermine unity.
Ultimately, it is we the people of Kenya who must keep building our unity. Those of us whose preferred candidates won the elections must rejoice wisely, and those whose candidates lost must lament peaceably. On their part leaders must unite the nation by growing the economy to avoid an implosion of our youthful great nation. Think green, act green!