Ten things State must fix to make Kenya great
Welcome to 2020, a year that portends both hope and chilling prospects of gloom for millions of weary Kenyans.
The foreboding scenarios hinge on the failure by the nation to comprehensively resolve the four main challenges to nationhood and growth that have prevailed since independence – human rights, poverty, illiteracy and disease.
Kenya regards itself a democratic State, and our Constitution has clear provisions and a roadmap to address these challenges. However, our nation continues to grapple with the ironies of disunity, under-achievement and erosion of social, cultural and moral values.
It is time for stocktaking in 2020, a crucial year as wananchi hold the State to account on the scorecard of democracy, socio-economic development and nation building.
Only 10 years remain to achieve the targets of Kenya Vision 2030 and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Here are 10 things that the State must fix in 2020 to mollify weary Kenyans.
One, President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga must rally the nation behind the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) and let the people, with the guidance of constitutional experts, to attain lasting national reconciliation and cohesion.
Politicians, who have largely contributed to the toxic atmosphere that has permeated the fabric of society, must be kept off this process for the people to decide the structures they need to entrench democracy and provide checks and balances on the political class.
Two, fix the economy. We are in dire economic straits. Our external debt burden has hit the roof. The ratio of debt to GDP has reached 62.3 per cent (World Bank recommends 50 per cent). The government is spending 18 per cent of its revenue on interest on domestic loans.
Unemployment among the youth is at an incredible level, agricultural productivity has declined, extreme climatic conditions and pests have destroyed livelihoods and infrastructure. Economic forecasts remain bleak, compounded by poverty and food insecurity.
Three, the Big Four agenda provides hope for economic recovery, yet the country has a Sh607.8 billion budget deficit on the Sh3.02 trillion budget. The government needs to work more closely with, and seek financial support from, development partners to bridge this gap.
Four, the State must streamline the Big Four agenda into the BBI framework to ensure political cohesion accompanies economic growth to spur job creation in the two sectors with the greatest potential – agriculture and infrastructure.
Five, fix rural roads to help farmers — who are complaining about low prices, lack of credit, subsidies and insurance — access markets for their produce. Tackle these twin challenges for a major rural economic recovery.
Six, give more attention and resources to the education sector as the 100 per cent transition secondary school has stretched demand for more teachers and improvement of infrastructure.
Seven, continue the fight against corruption which has caused poverty, economic misfortunes and declining growth extending across all segments of society at both levels of government and sectors of the economy.
Eight, sustain efforts towards the achievement of the Universal Health Coverage. Healthy people make a healthy nation.
Nine, enhance security to curb the rising levels of crime and terrorism.
Finally, the State must join forces with civil society and faith-based organisations to stem the moral, social and cultural decay that has contributed to disunity and leadership failures. —[email protected]