Browsing Tag

Graft

The Telescope

LET’S VALUE OUR FARMERS AND THEY’LL TAKE CARE OF US

Agriculture has been the bedrock of Kenya’s economy even before independence but the story has changed.

Today, the government can no longer reassure farmers that they can eke a living alongside the current wave of industrialization to provide the bulk of Kenya’s sustenance. More so, laws that once supported the country’s mainstay are so discriminatory it’s a miracle farmers still make a living out of agriculture.

Theoretically, the government has an elaborate food policy but it has yet to activate it. For years on end it has dragged its feet over what, admittedly, are difficult political and economic decisions.

As it is, Kenya is barely food self-sufficient. It’s like a cork bobbing on water which could easily go under.

Trip down memory lane At independence, the division of numerous formerly white-owned farms among Africans was a political necessity but over the years that has changed.

Although it is politically impossible to reverse that division today, there are alternatives to halt further fragmentation. coffee

Take for example the coffee industry. In its current state, it is clearly a crime against farmers. This sector has for years been manipulated and disoriented to facilitate the exploitation of the many by the rich few.

However, Kenya is not-yet an industrialized country, so there is not much one can do until jobs can be found meaning that in many ways more than one people still depend on agriculture.

But as days go by coffee farmers are ageing and their children don’t see a future in farming. Most of them make less than a dollar a day in their household. Farm sizes are small and continue to shrink due to population pressures. Chances are bleak for farmers and they will not hold out any longer.

Today, it’s unbelievable that farmers wallow in regulatory bondage whilst they can grow and sell their own crops.

More so, agriculture is a devolved function and county governments can provide farmers with soft loans to buy milling equipment so that through their cooperatives, they can process their produce to do value addition.

Counties can also help train farmers not just about crops, but also processing and marketing.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and the political class must seize the arc of history and correct this injustice and give farmers the chance to farm their way out of abject poverty.

He can free the farmer from regulatory bondage, allow them to grow, process, sell and own their own crop at fair pricing for both the dealer and farmer.

He should investigate the coffee sector with a view to prosecuting those who have brought in corruption, vandalism and thievery that have cost hardworking and innocent farmers so dearly.

This article was published on People Daily on Friday 4th December 2015

The Telescope

UNBRINDLED LOOTING IS RECIPE FOR ANARCHY

Only Kenya allows public servants to wallow in luxury at the expense of tax payers. Reports of a ball point pen being bought for Sh8,500 have drawn outrage.

And in as much as the Devolution ministry is under the spotlight for unprecedented expenditure, the extravagance cuts across all public institutions at both government and county levels.

Our thieving prowess has reached the ears of Robert Mugabe- who, himself, has a piteous record. Bob has mocked Kenyans as graduating with Bachelor of Stealing. Our negative image of reaping where we did not sow is trending worldwide.

Meanwhile, the thorny debate over the use of proceeds from the Eurobond reportedly stashed somewhere in Timbuktu or lying in individuals’ accounts is yet to be resolved. The financial crisis is real with the shilling trading for 102 to the dollar, inflating the cost of living.

However, the Jubilee leadership insists the picture is not as bad as the Opposition paints it.

We are reaping the fruits of our laid back attitude. A few years back investigators named the drug dealers within, we largely ignored the expose.We were told there were thieves stashing money abroad, we looked the other way. They told us tribalism was gnawing at the fabric of our nation, we ignored the warning.

“We were told there were thieves stashing money abroad, we looked the other side. They said the economy was shaky, we wasted more”

They told us the economy was headed to the abyss, we wasted more. They pointed out the plunderers amongst us but we instead clothed them in silk. And now we are raving and ranting on both Facebook and Twitter, impotently. Such apathy in no solution to our socio-economic and political predicament.

Investigation results

Public servants suspected of plunder must-step aside pending investigations. Efforts to save image by shifting blame will not do. Leaders with integrity issues should not undermine the public’s intelligence.

In the case of the Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru, the uproar, away from the sideshows is not personal culpability but rather integrity. She should take responsibility and step aside and wait for investigation results and shame her tormentors.

Most leaders imagine Chapter Six of the Constitution refers to “other” people and not them. They engage in hate speech and cry foul when questioned. We need stronger laws to arrest and charge such foul mouths to deter others who might be tempted to follow suit.

Many government officials face ethical challenges but when confronted, retreat into their political parties or tribal cocoons. Unless we deal with these ethical and integrity hurdles without fear or favour, we shall be confronted with social upheaval with devastating consequences.

President Uhuru Kenyatta should calm the fears by dealing with the looters. Mere rhetoric only fuels anger among overburdened tax payers. I rest my case.

This article was published on People Weekend on 7-8, November, 2015

The Telescope

CITIZENS EQUALLY TO BLAME FOR CURRENT LEADERSHIP CRISIS

A culture of mediocrity in leadership has gradually but surely sunk into the Kenyan economic space and we now feel the pinch.

It has finally dawned on us or rather, those who were quiet now are starting to speak up on inefficiencies that abound in government. And unfortunately this time, President Uhuru’s spin doctors have run out of stunts.

What is economic growth when wananchi cannot afford basic commodities? The economy seems to favour a few, with graft at its peak. Education issues are being conducted in a carefree manner. Recently the media was under the threat of being gagged. Kenyans are becoming restless and unless the trend changes, we could be headed for disaster.

However, rather than point fingers at the government and politicians, the electorate should lead in restoring the country to sanity. The buck no longer stops with the President and his government but we the citizenry.

We have contributed to the sorry situation by sitting on the sidelines as looters have a field day. We have forfeited our responsibility and must be held accountable.

It is time that we exercise people’s power in our communities, organisations and by far and large through the people we elect to power. Citizenship, not leadership, is the concept that we more urgently need to examine. Wananchi should bar the government from making excuses for failure.

“We cannot afford to sleep only to wake up in 2018 to complain about the same rot in leadership we are experiencing now”

We should not complain from the comfort of their sitting rooms with earphones or laptops on while the country sinks. Each and every one of us is a leader in their own right— as a manager, father or civil servant. We need to seek ways to straighten the existing wrongs in our society.

Our silence on bad leadership is what has led to the failure to produce a Kenyan brand from the millions of tonnes of raw material Kenya exports abroad. What is the role of the Opposition? To shout when it fails to eat too?

The welfare of a people in any given geographical space is tied to the quality of elected leaders. But more importantly is the fact that the effectiveness of those who govern is directly determined by the willingness and ability of the people to hold them accountable.

The willingness to be involved by actively participating, directly or indirectly, in governance is at the very heart of citizenship; this is our role. The next electioneering period is not far and it will require active and involved citizens refusing to elect and tolerate mediocrity but instead vote in the best men and women to represent their affairs in public offices.

Months leading to the next general election will be a great test not only to leadership, but also to citizenry. We cannot afford to sleep only to wake up in 2018 to complain about the same rot in leadership we are experiencing now. We must remain vigilant.

It is my firm belief that Kenya will be great, but it will take personal and collective leadership to achieve its rightful status.

This article was published on People Weekend on 31-1 November, 2015