Ideas & Debate

Key steps to deliver Uhuru’s Big 4 goals

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

With the Cabinet now appointed we can confidently say that Kenya is back in business after nearly one year of disruptive electioneering that stubbornly tested Kenya’s resilience.

During the period, Kenyans maintained their enterprise and hard work, as global businesses and tourists maintained faith in our economy and country.

It is, however, the Kenya shilling that surprised us most by firmly standing its ground despite the strains on the country’s political-economy.

The Jubilee team should now hit the ground running to recover lost time and momentum and deliver on its four-pillar pledges and other pressing socio-economic development agenda.

Also, there is the completion of projects from the previous term, which are either work in progress or have confirmed budgetary allocations. It is, indeed, a tight timetable between now and 2022.

As they launch specific development plans and projects, the Jubilee team may need to consider a number of critical success factors for effective delivery of intended results. They will need to borrow heavily from successes and challenges experienced in the first term.

In the first term, Cabinet Secretaries (CSs) launched programmes some of which were not correctly scoped, and which were evidently not achievable because they were not tied to reality.

These created credibility problems for the government. This time around, specific plans and targets should be subjected to objective reality checks with wider consultations.

Every programme should as much as possible have quantifiable deliverables which are achievable and easy to evaluate with public feedback published regularly.

An informative take-away from the first term is that properly implemented “reforms” can achieve impactful socio-economic improvements without requiring huge budgets.

This is shown by the successful reforms achieved in the education sector. Making failed systems and processes to work can deliver quick and sustainable wins with huge “legacy-content”.

In the first term, there were many disruptive sideshows caused by incidents of corruption and these derailed government performance while diminishing public and political goodwill. Emphasis on speedy programme implementation should not be an excuse for process ‘short-cuts’ that open up opportunities for corruption. It matters a lot that results are delivered in a timely and ‘clean’ manner.

Going by the nature and substance of the “four pillars”, it will be critically important that the CSs work closely and in partnership with the county governments and the Council of Governors.

This is because food security, housing, agro-industries and health services are functions with much devolved content.

The CSs will need to learn to share responsibility, success and acclaim with governors in various areas of development that touch on counties. Those CSs who are field-happy and ready to roll up their sleeves to work with governors will deliver more results than those who are office-bound hosting and attending conferences.

Whichever way one looks at it, it will indeed be new jobs and improved household incomes that will define and measure the government delivery success and public satisfaction. And job opportunities exist in virtually every ministry.

For this reason it may be necessary to require that each and every CS to demonstrate how they have directly or indirectly influenced multiplication of jobs.

I am aware that the huge public debt will continue to be a constant debate.

There is not much that can be done about debts already incurred as long as the money went into areas that benefited the country.

The government should now focus on and demonstrate the best expenditure efficiency and accountability, and only commit further debts where national value addition is beyond doubt.

By picking the best practices from the first term, and avoiding methods and practices that obviously failed, the government can effectively deliver on their four-pillar plans while completing work carried forward from the first term.

Finally, the East African Community (EAC) summit last week reminded us that there is still much value that Kenya can add from regional opportunities.

We need to pursue those them through proactive diplomacy and where doors have been only partially open, we open them wider for increased regional trade.