Kenya's Politics and Policies

By Samuel Muiruri | Feb. 22, 2019 | Opinion Piece


I normally wouldn't write about Kenya's politics because I mainly don't follow up on it but with regards to my stand on Socialism I've decided to write this since it's a bit related.

We got a new constitution a while back which Raila among others were for and Kibaki and others were against. On this one I would have voted against because I don't believe devolution makes sense; with a country smaller than most states in US dividing it into sections with governors and senators to rule so that devolution can ensure no part is ignored by the central government makes sense but it has one main disadvantage, more highly paid members of parliament. For the most part the governors seemed to step up and try and make the counties better with the odd ones who for example would for example put the entire counties budget into his personal account.

Generally speaking if you put a person who is either innovative or willing to work with innovative people to come up with ways to put their allocated budget to good use then likely good will come out of this. I'm going to ignore the other likely fact that's the chance someone somewhere in the chain in command will take out some of that amount for themselves, the corruption scandals seem to have one thing in common anyway, the amount of money stolen is going up, so you could say the thieves are getting more bolder with time.

With good reason, the judicial system seems to respect anyone who would plead their case with an actual lawyer, that they paid for. I'll also ignore the likely chance that you could still find out there's a price to freedom and there's a known channel then to argue your case with a cheque book.

But I'm more interested in judging whether what this government is riding on, Vision 2030 is feasible. Starting with the best way to judge the progress of a government is how many positive projects its started and/or completed during its tenure. The highway system it continues to build started under Kibaki is impressive but it should be noted this would have started and still be finished without a new constitution. The other major project they did which is the SGR (Standard Gauge Railway) is also impressive in consideration the same way as the highway would make it quicker to get and move goods from point A to B and be a boost to business profit output if you now can do more in less time means you will be able to do more with the available time. The other projects it's been working on are mainly improvements on an already existing system and I can't think of one worth mentioning.

One thing to consider then is Kenya's budget and how much goes to actual development, not that much with an ever growing budget while MP's not on the highest tier on politicians pay still come second globally on pay. For a Kenyan that shouldn't be shocking or news actually since if there's one thing that can bridge the political divide it's greed and agreement to earn more, get more perks and milk the cow that's the tax payer for all their worth while still pandering to them making sure you get elected again. Not that losing your seat is too devastating you'll probably still receive a good fraction of your previous pay for the rest of your life.

All the while the tax incentive is to continue to find more things to tax to leave some breathing room for development which might be good for the country but likely not for the business man or you or me. If the business makes less profit it has less to spend on or give you as a salary and still in return whatever you get a larger slice is taken. Regardless I doubt they'll tax people less but more with time.

Take for example the NHIF (National Health Insurance Fund), it's exactly like it sounds, a National Insurance Fund because most insurance funds are either too expensive for the low earning members of society or they simply ignore it till they get ill and find the bill for treatment is large likely still not knowing how much they could have saved with insurance. The intentions behind it are noble and would help people from being held hostage by hospital bills to a degree since it doesn't cover everything and you do pay a fraction of the total amount, how much that fraction is I won't go into because I also don't know the logic behind it. Also in this case let's ignore the likely fact that somewhere in the chain of command there's someone somewhere finding a loophole to make money out of this.

The amount your supposed to pay monthly is small, only 300 ksh which is around 3 dollars but this system might for now be able to support itself from this total sum of money made but it's likely going to start going over budget which means either taking more from money allocated for something else, or increasing the monthly requirement. Collecting it is easy since it's mandatory for anyone under formal employment.

So with time under the weight of such programs with good intentions leaving very little to development and the corruption with less good intention still taking more out of it do I see the goals being set being met? No, not really the set timeline will be missed by a couple of years probably more than 10 on the minimum side and whatever set of checklist they'll use then to say the target has been met I expect some hidden gotcha's hidden in the clause like a bandage used to say the wound is healed because you won't lift it to double check.