Why Kenyan politics continues to depress
01 February 2012, 11:54
When Moi rule came to end in 2002, there was a general sigh of relief. In the following year, Kenyans were found via a poll to be the most optimistic people on earth.
If corruption and open theft of public resources could be stopped, Kenyans reasoned, nothing was impossible. That optimism did not last long.
New wave, or same old?
Squabbles in NARC started and before long, a rebel faction moved out of government. This faction joined hands with nyayoists who were defeated in 2002, and that alliance formed a formidable opposition to Kibaki.
We all know how the ensuing struggle for power played out between Raila and his men on one hand, and Kibaki his supports on the other hand, culminating into post election violence and formation of grand coalition.
As we speak, shenanigans in the grand coalition have stymied the pace of reforms.
According to an article by a South African based online magazine, How we Made in Africa, Kenya is perceived by western investors as one of the four markets in Africa that offer best investment returns. The survey was carried out by EIU global and the respondents were institutional investors.
Clearly, other people see opportunities in Kenya, but politicians are busy spoiling investment climate by their war mongering rhetoric.
Another depressing aspect about Kenyan leadership is its lack of ability to initiate reforms guided by sound policies. In his speech to attendants in AGCO Africa Summit in Berlin, Germany, Mbeki intimated that because the vast majority of Africans are subsistence farmers, poverty can only be reduced by reforming agriculture. The thrust of his argument was that reform can be achieved by providing price incentives on agricultural produce, and improving infrastructure in rural areas. This has happened on a smaller scale in Kenya.
The current good milk prices have attracted young educated people to start dairy farming. As we speak, a good number of people work for long hours in towns earning a pittance while, with proper incentives, they can go back home to undertake farming which would earn them more.
The change that can transform agriculture can only come though right policies and dogged determination to change the country. As of now, the policies and leaders to drive the process are not in existence.
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