Columnists

LETTERS: Challenges that should be tackled this year

People at a refugee camp in northern Kenya  FILE PHOTO | NMG
People at a refugee camp in northern Kenya FILE PHOTO | NMG 

I’m always an optimist but realistic and prudent in approach. Based on the history of the world one discovers that advancement in technology and science plus human society developments culturally, economically and politically have had a lot changes over time.

It is more rapid nowadays as science and technology is changing many of our interactions and engagements as well as wellbeing or lack of it very fast.

Informed by history and knowledge about human potential, I remain optimistic about Kenya in 2018. As we start off the year, it is with knowledge it is also a roll-over of the success attained so far and challenges that we carry over from last year.

So it is optimism with caution and prudence. To begin with the short rains that fall around October to December were insufficient in most parts of the country last year hence we have a food problem at hand already.

Moreover, we have our usual divisive and tribal politics to deal with. In addition, there are many other problems that include unemployment, corruption, indiscipline in many places, problems in some neighbouring countries , global trade that need to be dealt with.

We have systems to reforms that include education and several others. But there is hope. We know we have all these problems and we have to confront them.

Where do we begin? There are many areas and all are urgent. But looking at the weather it is evident that global warming is here with us. Despite denials in some quarters in the globe, climate change is real.

Those who have studied weather patterns over time can tell that there have been tremendous changes over time.

The frequency of droughts in countries like Kenya has intensified. The usually cooler parts of the world are becoming warmer.

I should know as I work with renewable energy, environmental conservation, biotechnology and technology generally, that afford opportunities to interact and learn from diverse minds and knowledge. So food security should be among the top priorities to tackle in 2018.

Rain fed agriculture is evidently not sufficient to feed a growing population like in Kenya and many parts of the world.

With almost failed short rains at the last quarter of 2017, we certainly have work to do especially to cater for the vulnerable in many places in the country. There are many areas needing a lot of attention.

Top among these include reforms in education sector, security, job creation, more infrastructure development, political and legal reforms but in a democratically progressive way, taming the evils of corruption and tribalism, progressive tax reforms to widen the net but allow economic and business growth, creation of a more business friendly environment, building regional and continental trade, fixing our exports as we are doing far below capacity, reforming the energy sector and especially making electricity cheaper etc.

As population grows rapidly we need to be thinking far ahead. The growth of urban and now even rural slums should alarm us. The unemployment crisis should be tamed by building opportunities for direct employment and self-employment and that inevitably means more economic and political reforms.

There are sectors and industries which given re-invention can create massive absorption of labour – top among them include manufacturing and tourism. Certainly a lot of reforms are needed in agriculture and several other sectors and industries.

We start off in 2018 as a heavily politically divided country and we need to create avenues for building consensus.

We should be alive that another round of divisive campaigns in near future is not far-fetched and this only destroys the nation further. Great nations grow through a lot of difficulties.

The problems we have are not so unique. So, I’m optimistic we can make a better future for Kenya and her people in 2018. There is a lot of hope. Politically we have to fix quite a lot.

Harrison Mwirigi Ikunda Nairobi.