- The next President will either turn around the economy or continue burying it.
- With the passing of the current Constitution, access to information on all government operations has been common aided also with advancing technology tools.
- Wanjiku or the public is demanding more and more which goes beyond roadside declarations.
More than ever before, I am glad at the start of conversations touching on the ‘how’ in reference to economic recovery, especially this past week on one key issue as proposed by one of the presidential aspirants.
In the past election periods, a majority of the presidential candidates were only telling us or promising what they would do without deeper conversations on how that would happen. It is not a secret that Kenya is facing one of her toughest periods coming from the effects of devastating Covid-19, negative economic growth, loss of jobs and income and increased debt repayment threat.
This, therefore, means the next election will define and be the most crucial election in recent years. The next President will either turn around the economy or continue burying it.
Two weeks ago, one of the presidential aspirants talked about Sh6,000 that will be given to unemployed youth. That was the initial statement. This was then criticised on its implementation.
The following day, through a Press statement a clarification and specifics were done that the amount was targeting two million unemployed youth and the total costing done per year and where the money would come from.
That the recurrent expenditure would be cut down by 25 percent and the savings would fund this welfare social programme. It is such interrogations by the public and the media that would make presidential candidates present formidable plans to revive our economy.
Another presidential candidate has been promoting the ‘bottom up’ model as an economic revolution meant to serve the forgotten many in the bottom chain. What again is needed is the specifics on execution.
The public now is an enlightened one. With the passing of the current Constitution, access to information on all government operations has been common aided also with advancing technology tools and space and interactive social media platforms.
Wanjiku or the public is demanding more and more which goes beyond roadside declarations. Probably, if we would have gotten to this place earlier, the public would have asked for which types of stadia the Jubilee Government would build, how much they would cost and where the money would come from, the same as the laptop project.
Did they factor in laboratory construction cost, electricity connectivity cost, security, training and capacity building cost and even maintenance and replacement costs? These two projects have been identified as some having very little success while they are prominently featured during campaigns.
Voters want to hear presidential candidates giving an articulate plan for the revival. Issues touching on debt repayment and stabilisation. How are we going to handle debt moving forward not to affect our normal operations as a country? Closely related to that is how we will also ensure disbursement of funds to counties increase to a minimum of 35 percent, issued on time with no delays while still maintaining national government operations.
The public is also looking forward to issues on energy prices. This is power and fuel costs that are too high for the public to comfortably afford. This is also related to high taxes that the formal employees and businessmen are expected to pay and if any changes to them won’t affect the government revenues.
Lastly, a good bankable plan for the young people, for the businesspeople and ease of starting and doing the business and of promoting local industries and domestic production.
These plans would welcome a new era of accountability and interrogation of policies by the academic class and scholars that would assist the public with more information to help in decision-making. This trend would make the gubernatorial candidates follow up to the lowest levels.
The public is yearning to vote in aspirants who have a plan and the Fourth Estate should also actively participate in this process which will usher in a decisive moment.
George Abwajo, Economist at GulfHub