Columnists

Uhuru, Ruto should now focus on uniting Kenyans

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President Uhuru Kenyatta, First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, Deputy President William Ruto and Rachel Ruto during Tuesday’s inauguration ceremony in Nairobi. file photo | nmg

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Summary

  • It's time to end the prevailing political tension and focus on development as well as uniting Kenyans.

Now President Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto have been sworn into office it’s time to end the prevailing political tension and focus on development as well as uniting Kenyans.

Kenya belongs to us all and Mr Kenyatta said it well that he will be a “president of all”.

We must keep our eyes on the prize, which is not the tribe, not even Kenya.

The prize is East African growth and political maturity.

Economic growth and political stability are deeply interconnected. The uncertainty associated with an unstable political environment may reduce investment and the speed of economic development.

Poor economic performance may lead to government collapse and political unrest.

Democratic regimes, like all political systems, are fragile. Irrespective of political regimes, if a country does not need to worry about conflicts and radical changes of governments, the people can focus on working, saving, and investing.

The Recent empirical literature on graft has identified a long list of variables that correlate significantly with corruption.

Among the factors found to reduce corruption are the decades-long tradition of democracy and political stability. In today’s world, however, there are many countries that combine one of these two robust determinants of corruption with the opposite of the other: politically stable autocracies or newly formed and unstable democracies.

The world is made more complicated by the short-termism of political thinking and reporting. It becomes harder to sleep comfortably in dealing with regimes that could be the subject of the next expose — but at the end of it all, the world is better off than it has ever been — the number of major confrontations is lower, and the spread of knowledge is helping more inclusive thinking and the widening of opportunity for billions of people.

While it is true that some African states that have been able to achieve high growth rates are stable, a number of relatively low performing nations also have remarkably stable political systems.

When we talk about political stability in the context of growth, leaving aside resource-driven bubbles, we mean a specific kind of stability: the rule of law, strong institutions rather than powerful individuals, an efficient bureaucracy, low corruption and an investment enabling business climate.

What Kenyans need is a stable governance, which is crucial for growth. Governance goes well beyond just politics.

The Jubilee government must now work tirelessly to end the tribalism, which is blame for a lot of ills such as underdevelopment, corruption, rigging of elections and violence.

There is also no meritocracy as people are given jobs based on tribe regardless of having low qualifications. Hence the inefficient use of available skills.

The exploitation of natural resources also takes a tribal angle, with resources in some areas being ignored or being underutilized.

Bad governance and the lack of accountability is also linked to tribalism as people will never question a government run by their tribesmen: even if it makes mistakes they remain supportive of it firmly and blindly.

The reverse is also true. This means that even if a government does well it will receive daily unnecessary criticism from the tribes not in the ruling party. Tribalism is thus used to withhold or provide preferential services and resources.

Kibet Benard, communications expert.