EDITORIAL: Lasting political settlement will reinvigorate economy

President Uhuru Kenyatta. FILE PHOTO | NMG
President Uhuru Kenyatta. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Even as business leaders express hope that there will be economic recovery in the new year, there are still lingering worries that failure to find a lasting political settlement will damper these prospects.

With opposition politicians sticking to own plans – part of which is refusing to recognise Uhuru Kenyatta’s presidency, any rosy outlook for 2018 at this point in time may just turn out to be hollow.

Time has come for Kenya to find a lasting solution to the devastating poison in our political arena. The long-drawn-out electioneering period that arose from the Supreme Court’s nullification of the August 8 presidential election and the conduct of a repeat poll on October 26 was just but a signal of what ails our nation.

We must caution that grandstanding and failure to resolve our political problems will only prolong the polluted business and economic environment in the next year. It goes without saying that 2017 was one of the toughest 12 months for Kenya’s economy.

What many Kenyans don’t want is a replication of the same in 2018. Not only did the larger sectors bear the brunt, damage was also big at the micro level. This has forced the government to revise the previous 5.5 per cent GDP growth forecast for the year to five per cent.

But we must admit that we will face the risk of endless political battles to the detriment of economic growth if we don’t sort out our politics. Kenya urgently needs to adopt lessons from other countries where elections are not a life and death affair.

This only comes from working hard to establish and maintain an impeccable electoral system that produces unquestionable outcomes.

Without it, Kenya will continue to stand on the edge of the cliff every five years with the sure prospect of tipping over at one point.

So far, Kenya continues to stand as a regional economic powerhouse with better infrastructure, human skills and rule of law. Unfortunately, the toxic politics continues to exist as its weakest underbelly that if not well handled will wipe all that out with speed.