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Forget about models, focus on the path to recovery

By Alberto Leny
Tuesday, September 14th, 2021 00:00 | 2 mins read
Kenya Vision 2030. Photo/Courtesy

It puzzles to note how politicians, especially 2022 presidential aspirants, have suddenly become experts on how to lift citizens out of the perennial quagmire of poverty, ignorance and disease.

Yet the same cast of characters have been around since independence when the founders of our nation astutely identified the main problems strangling the people’s socio-economic growth.

However, it is very difficult to draw the line between politics and good governance to define the compatibility of statecraft and development planning. Where have they been all this time?

Certainly, the politicians have taken advantage of this ambiguous dichotomy to dupe citizens and blur the vision envisaged by founding nationalists, planners and bureaucrats.

There is no shortage of national development plans, economic models and research findings produced to address the litany of woes continuing to bedevil our society. 

Shelves in government offices are littered with decaying policy papers that if implemented would have already eradicated extreme poverty and propelled Kenya to a middle-income country status.

Forget about the political party manifestoes and the hollow economic models bandied around by ambitious, crafty, self-entitled politicians.

Where have they been all this time to suddenly come up waving some dubious magic wand at bewildered, oppressed and exploited Kenyans? 

Is this not carrying the hypocritical political-economic power play too far? Have these politicians, some with no credentials in the struggle for liberation, democracy, human rights, equity and inclusion not been part of the successive governments they gleefully besmirch?

This is no time to listen to hashed-up economic models and innuendos generated by politicians and political party hopping economy experts.

These economic gurus long ago succinctly identified the political, socio-economic challenges facing the majority of Kenyans and offered solutions. 

We need to get down to the basics of what really ails our system of governance and implement policies to lift the people from the filth of underdevelopment.

Kenyans want government to guarantee democracy, human rights, food security, jobs for youth and better education and health services.

Not new economic models in whatever name. There are plenty of those in the Constitution, national and county development plans, Vision 2030, the Youth Empowerment Programme, Uwezo Fund, Huduma Mashinani, Big Four agenda and many agricultural programmes. 

In the wake of the devastation and economic downturn wrought by Covid-19 and drought, Kenya and the Africa must focus only on building back better our ravaged health and food security systems. 

A hungry and ailing society breeds national resentment, anger, conflict and unrest. This is not the recipe for a conducive atmosphere going into a hotly contested election year.

Last week, Kenya hosted the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) summit, Africa’s premier agricultural event.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, Dr Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi, Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni and Hage Geingob of Namibia reviewed strategies of fast-tracking Africa’s food system transformation. 

The summit precedes the UN Food Systems Summit in a fortnight, where world leaders will review progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with notable attention on the eradication of hunger and poverty.

Since agriculture is the mainstay of our economy, Kenya must accelerate the new policy of resuming agricultural learning and clubs in primary and secondary schools through 4K clubs. 

Government must heavily invest and engage women and youth in national agriculture policymaking and decisions.

The youth’s high number can transform economic prospects through the incorporation of agricultural skills in rural education and job creation..  —  [email protected]

Alberto Leny

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