Economy, News

Why Kenya’s Political Rhetoric is Causing More Harm Than Good

Fero­cious polit­i­cal noise rips apart soci­eties and dri­ves away investors. This is what is hap­pen­ing in Kenya today. With elec­tions eleven months away, var­i­ous polit­i­cal lead­ers are hurl­ing insults and accu­sa­tions at each oth­er caus­ing pol­i­tics to over­shad­ow all else. What they don’t seem to real­ize is that their ardent sup­port­ers habit­u­al­ly fol­low suit and ulti­mate­ly split the Nation there­by upset­ting ser­vice deliv­ery in the Pub­lic and Pri­vate sec­tors. This is the exact oppo­site of the civ­i­lized pol­i­tics that the 2010 con­sti­tu­tion envisages.

Our beloved politi­cians must real­ize that when they are in oppos­ing camps, they are sim­ply polit­i­cal oppo­nents who will dis­agree on polit­i­cal ideas and strate­gies. How­ev­er, they are not mor­tal ene­mies who must keep going at each other’s throats and in so doing pro­voke their sup­port­ers to do the same. This arro­gant, insen­si­tive atti­tude has cost the coun­try lives before and must not be allowed to fes­ter. Cur­rent­ly, we may not have Kenyans fight­ing in the streets, but they are for sure weep­ing silent­ly. On the oth­er hand, investors are hold­ing on their cap­i­tal until such a time that they can sense polit­i­cal sta­bil­i­ty. This is because Invest­ment detests any trace of polit­i­cal instability.

In the after­math of the recent­ly con­clud­ed Zam­bian elec­tions, the Zam­bian Kwacha tremen­dous­ly gained ground on the dol­lar, which makes imports and repay­ment of for­eign debt much cheap­er. Before the elec­tions, the Zam­bian cur­ren­cy was lag­ging far behind the dol­lar part­ly due to polit­i­cal ten­sion in the coun­try. This result­ed in a wind­fall for exporters. How­ev­er, it was dif­fi­cult for many of them to seize that oppor­tu­ni­ty due to the pre­vail­ing polit­i­cal uncer­tain­ty of a smooth transition.

Between Jan­u­ary and June this year, Kenyans in the dias­po­ra remit­ted Sh192 bil­lion into Kenya. This amount was three times more than the Sh43.5 bil­lion that Trea­sury dis­bursed to our Coun­ty Gov­ern­ments in June.  If the Dias­po­ra Com­mu­ni­ty con­tin­ues to sense polit­i­cal insta­bil­i­ty, such cof­fers shall dwindle.

Addi­tion­al­ly, Kenya’s Pri­vate sec­tor is esti­mat­ed to account for 77% of employ­ment while pub­lic sec­tor jobs are esti­mat­ed to account for 23% of the jobs. As such the Pri­vate sec­tor con­tin­ues to humbly appeal for polit­i­cal sta­bil­i­ty which is the deci­sive recipe for eco­nom­ic growth. Accord­ing­ly, it is the respon­si­bil­i­ty of our polit­i­cal lead­ers to cre­ate a delib­er­ate all-encom­pass­ing enabling envi­ron­ment for the Pri­vate Sec­tor to thrive.

I sug­gest that we bor­row a leaf from Israel and Japan. Although Israel has held four elec­tions with­in two years, gov­ern­ment func­tion­al­i­ty and the eco­nom­ic sys­tems are nev­er affect­ed. They have learned to divorce pol­i­tics from the gov­ern­ment. They will trade bit­ter words but nev­er allow those words to infil­trate into the func­tion­ing of the gov­ern­ment or affect the econ­o­my adverse­ly. The same is true of Japan which has also had its fair share of elec­tions in the last two decades. Despite this, Japan has remained stead­fast in its posi­tion as a glob­al eco­nom­ic super­pow­er. That’s because just like Israel, they nev­er allow polit­i­cal com­pe­ti­tion to can­ni­bal­ize their Gov­ern­ment and economy.

For our great nation to flour­ish I sug­gest that our dear Pres­i­dent and his Deputy must talk to each oth­er instead of talk­ing at each oth­er. They must not agree in prin­ci­ple, but their chem­istry must be right for the good of the nation. All oth­er polit­i­cal lead­ers worth fol­low­ing must speak to their polit­i­cal base to calm down the cur­rent tox­ic pol­i­tics that is sti­fling effec­tive ser­vice delivery.

Fac­tu­al­ly, one of the worst kept secrets in the coun­try is that some pub­lic ser­vants are con­fused about their alle­giance. On paper, they know who they are answer­able to. But in prac­tice, their loy­al­ties are torn between their polit­i­cal god­fa­thers and gov­ern­ment organograms.

Ulti­mate­ly, the more I cher­ish that indeed pol­i­tics defines mankind’s qual­i­ty of life, the more I appre­ci­ate that there are only two types of human beings: those who use peo­ple to attain their per­son­al polit­i­cal inter­ests and those who use pol­i­tics to enhance the qual­i­ty of life for fel­low mankind. Which side do you belong to? Think green act green!

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About Dr. Kalua Green

He is the Chief Stew­ard of Green Africa Group, a con­glom­er­ate that was envi­sioned in 1991 to con­nect, pro­duce and impact var­i­ous aspi­ra­tions of human­i­ty through Sus­tain­able Mobil­i­ty & Safe­ty Solu­tions, Eco­pre­neur­ship & Agribusi­ness, Ship­ping & Logis­tics, Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Ini­tia­tives, as well as Hos­pi­tal­i­ty & fur­nish­ings sectors

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