Tone down politics, revamp economy
Tuesday, January 14th, 2020
After enduring tough economic times last year, most Kenyans hoped that 2020 would bring better fortunes.
That the country’s stagnating economy that was compounded by a rising national debt and general cash crunch threatened to consign more people in poverty and despair, cannot be gainsaid.
Erratic policy guidelines and the cacophonous nature of our politics, which are a perfect antithesis of an enabling investment environment, are our undoing.
And with the new year, there was promise of banishing such bad manners and focus shifting to getting the economy back on track.
But going by the ongoing rhetoric on the Building Bridges Initiative and the 2022 succession, this is unlikely to happen unless sobriety prevails.
With less than two years before the onset of another politically charged season, 2020 is the perfect watershed period just after the toxic 2017 poll for economic resetting before plunging into another election campaign.
Over the years, we witness a dip in economic growth shortly before and after elections as the economy takes a back seat, leaving the stage for heated campaigns.
The economy usually recovers after elections to peak somewhere in between before taking another dip with the approach of another election.
During the electioneering, investors to take a back seat, with some taking their money elsewhere because of the uncertainties that come with the high octane Kenyan politics, mostly associated with hate and violence.
This is why the government and political elite must make a deliberate decision to steer the country off the election mode that has crept on us too early.
The economy must find space for recovery given the challenges which need to be sorted out, among them the high cost of living, low disposable income and dwindling investor confidence, to stem the lay-offs tide that swept across the country last year.
While the thinking has been to invest in ambitious projects to turn around the economy, it may be more advisable to plough more resources into small scale and medium enterprises to boost incomes.
And above all, the war on graft must be sustained to eliminate cartels and recover stolen public wealth.
The choice is stark: Mindless politicking or the economy. We must decide.