Yes, Kenya can still realise 1963 dream
Getting the country back on track—that was the thrust of President Uhuru Kenyatta speech as Kenya marked 56 years since Independence.
The birth of an independent State in 1963 heralded the start of a new chapter of nation-building guided by patriotism and hard work to ensure the country’s future prosperity.
To defeat the three foremost enemies—poverty, disease and ignorance—the founding fathers had to rally and inspire all Kenyans. This is how the clarion call of Harambee (let’s pull together) was coined and ingrained in our national psyche.
With 8.9 million inspired citizens, the country was united in confronting and surmounting challenges ahead.
Unfortunately, 56 years later, we are yet to conquer the challenges, which have been compounded by the growing population—now at 47 million—amid diminishing resources. This has bred disillusionment among the citizenry.
This is why the President’s message of resetting the country’s socio-political and economic systems through what he called in his Jamhuri Day speech “returning the river to course” is welcome. It seeks to inspire, harness and refocus the citizens’ energy and resources in rediscovering that independence dream.
Some of those opportunities are encapsulated in the Big Four Agenda—housing, manufacturing, food security and universal healthcare.
For instance, the houses segment has been hindered by legal tussles over the compulsory Housing Levy. But yesterday he resolved the stalemate by ordering review of the law to make it voluntary.
He also outlined other measures to ensure national unity, streamlining governance structures and ethos. Others include tax relief for small businesses and expansion of the taxation bracket.
The announcement that the government would restructure and strengthen the coffee value chain and diversify tea varieties is another step in the right direction, which should invigorate the productivity of the two cash crops, which are key forex earners for the country.
The quest to make the country an investment and tourist destination of choice must remain key, as attested to by the improvement in Kenya’s ease of doing business.
With renewed hope, vigour and unity, Kenya will be back on the path to greatness.