Election cycle need not injure economy
Kenya is in the cusps of an electioneering moment, one that is historically linked to a cycle associated with uncertainness that usually hit Kenya’s economic underbelly.
However, this is also a moment that gives Kenyans the possibility of evaluating our democratic credentials and political maturity as a country.
Fortunately, more than any other election, this year’s is being fought on the economy and anti-corruption platform, both of which are good for the business environment.
More importantly, this election period will test the resolve of those seeking power, and the voters, in reviving the country’s economic fortunes and addressing the pain caused by the high cost of living.
Despite being East Africa’s economic giant, Kenya’s election cycle has in the past created the impression that its politics is stuck in a time warp where contestation is the name of the game. This must change. With maturity, the arch of our political culture must curve towards dialogue, and mature competition to end the uncertainties linked to elections and make Kenya a force to reckon with economically.
Kenyans need to internalise the fact that the voting process takes only a day but economic growth takes years. One should not compromise the other. Whoever wins this election needs the backing of the whole country to actualise strategies for growth that will benefit the citizenry.
Since the last general election, Kenya’s economic growth averaged 4.7 per cent per year for three years before Covid-19 disrupted this trajectory. The good news is that the future is looking bright, and Kenya’s economy is expected to grow at five per cent or higher, depending on the outcome of this election. This can only come to pass if Kenyans learn to let the due process of the law take precedence. That is the only way to eradicate jitters whenever there is an impending change of government.
Even as we prepare to give the next government time to settle down, Kenyans still expect the new leadership to address the glaring gaps in governance based on the challenges they are facing, such as an unpredictable business environment, high number of levies, high cost of living and insecurity among others.
As Kenyans await the final results, they must understand that they exercised their right to vote to determine the kind of growth and development they expect going forward. It is every citizen’s hope that those elected appreciate that it is only through peace that the country will record development between now and the next polls.