Lately, reports about financial misappropriation of public funds have been highlighted by local media. 65 percent of the Kenyan population survives with below two dollars a day, making it unlikely to achieve the sustainable development goal of halving extreme poverty by 2030.
Kenya and the Asian tigers were at the same level economically in the early 1960s. Today, they are a world apart. Kenya is known for formulating good economic blueprints like the Sessional Paper Number 10 (1965) on ‘African socialism and its application to planning in Kenya’ but from suffers bad leadership and poor governance during implementation.
The Asian tigers allegedly borrowed heavily from provisions of the Sessional Paper 10-(1965) to realise their present economic transformation.
Poor implementation of key policy blueprints in Kenya hinders collective realisation of economic development.
Firstly, the colonial regime scouted for productive land along Kenya highlands, took it by force while relocating affected households to concentration camps from where they were to provide cheap labour.
The post-independence regime prioritised three societal ills namely poverty, disease, and illiteracy. However, at the height of independence excitement, political elites were busy seizing chunks of land. Some Mau Mau fighters who were yet to return for fear of victimisation lost out on land allocation and settled in colonial villages.
The Moi regime came to power in November 1978 with the clarion call of ‘Fuata Nyayo’, meaning following in the footsteps.
Peaceful coexistence, environmental and soil conservation practices and tree planting were key positive policy actions implemented then and would have gone a long way in addressing current challenges of climate change.
However, grabbing of public utilities for private use and misappropriation of public resources were common, culminating to the Goldenberg scandal in the 1990s.
Under the two post independent regimes, wealth accumulation was concentrated on a few individuals while millions of others were left impoverished. Skewed resource allocation and unfairness in government employment/appointment prompted the emergence of alternative voices demanding constitutional reforms, expansion of political space and equitable distribution of national cake.
By then, a number of public corporations had gone under and many others put under receivership due to mismanagement and poor corporate governance practices.
The Narc regime restored the country on a growth trajectory by implementing the Economic Recovery for Wealth and Employment Creation 2003-2007 strategy.
Through this deliberate effort, economic growth rose from -0.2 percent in 2002 to about 6.5 percent in 2007.
However, failure to tackle organised and institutionalised corruption remained the main undoing.
Tenderpreneurship and ‘‘our time to eat’’ analogy substituted the concept of service delivery to business moments.
In spite of the enactment of the Public Procurement and Disposal Act 2015, the absence of accompanying regulatory framework escalated process manipulation.
Entrenched undercuts, kickbacks, and oiling of state machinery sufficed probable attempts in streamline the public procurement sector and or enactment of assets taxation policies as a deterrence to illicit wealth accumulation from public coffers.
Kiragu Kariuki, public policy and administration expert, Nyeri