Letters

Public agencies must keep working during the election season

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Vehicles drive around a burning roadblock during post-election violence in Naivasha, about 60 km (37 miles) west of Nairobi, January 27, 2008. PHOTO | FILE | NMG

Summary

  • Political stability plays a remarkable role in a country’s economic evolution.
  • Sustained economic growth of a country has a positive impact on the national income, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and level of employment.
  • Political instability is likely to shorten policymakers’ horizons, leading to sub-optimal short-term macroeconomic policies.

Political and economic upheavals caused by unethical political activities are a concern to supply chain members around the world. Various studies indicate a general slump in the economy especially during and after elections in most countries in Africa.

Political stability plays a remarkable role in a country’s economic evolution since the stability of the government system provides a comfortable environment that enhances the investors and the business community to practise and execute their activities.

Sustained economic growth of a country has a positive impact on the national income, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and level of employment, which further results in higher living standards.

Political instability is likely to shorten policymakers’ horizons, leading to sub-optimal short-term macroeconomic policies.

Kenya has a predictable electoral cycle characterised by violence, reports of human rights violations. It is during such periods that cases of unethical procurement practices are rampant.

It is a common practice to see a number of government contracts being executed towards the general elections perhaps politicians are fulfilling their promises to the electorate or just some mischievous avenues of fleecing public funds.

The world Bank notes that the period that precedes general election in Kenya has often been characterised by campaigns that disrupt everything.

According to the Kenya Shippers Council, civil strife impacts a country’s economy significantly, often costing on average 30 years of GDP, while it takes trade 20 years to return to its original state, depending on how long the violence lasts.

For instance, the post-election violence of 2008 not only injured people, claimed lives, traumatised people and displaced more than 350,000 people, it also disrupted the EAC economy.

During that period, fuel costs in Uganda, Eastern DR Congo and Burundi rose by up to 50 percent while those in Rwanda more than doubled, causing shortages and prompting the government to institute fuel rationing.

Trade networks especially those of the land-linked economies of Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi, South Sudan and the Eastern DR Congo were disrupted since they relied on trade through the port of Mombasa.

The confrontational tactics and actions of Kenya’s political leaders polarise the country. The incidents of unrest and violence during the electoral period hamper the continuity of business activities across the country.

Kenya must learn from the resilience of the USA democracy. From challenging the election’s results in the courts, misinformation, authoritarianism, manipulation of laws, irrationality, arrogance, intimidation, vigilante threats..., the US democratic institutions were never shaken.

Public institutions like the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, the courts, Ethics and Anti-corruption Authority must be strengthened to allow them to do their work independently.

Election observers noted that the USA November 2020 general election was highly polarised but was well managed despite legal uncertainties.