|The SGR Railway Phase 2 has already begun|
Since we don’t see any threat to his Presidency, we can preview a Kenya under Kenyatta in the next five years.
He came to office on a transformation agenda. So we ask: What should we expect from him? How will Kenya be in 2022 when he leaves office? Will it be a prosperous and progressive nation or will it be poor and reactionary?
The odds appear stacked in favor of his transformation agenda. Good luck, his personality, political environment and motivation combined favor the expectation of a positively transformed Kenya.
President Kenyatta inherited a robust economy from his predecessor, Mwai Kibaki.
And despite, a tough environment during his first term, he managed to keep the economy robust. He inherited a US$60 billion economy and had driven it to a $72 billion economy by the end of last year.
He also inherited a robust 30 year economic blue print “christened Vision2030” whose mantra is a transformed and industrializing Kenya by 2030. So far he has kept to it.
He has supported the completion of infrastructure projects that were began by his predecessor. He presided over the completion and/or launch of a number of the key projects envisaged in the blue print.
His first term was tumultuous and the learning curve was steep, yet he executed himself impressively. He came to office on a transformation agenda, making Kenya a better place to live and prosper.
He has kept a number of his pre-election promises such as free maternity for expectant mothers, delivered laptops to primary school children despite some major hiccups. He has set up a number of “one- shop stop e-centres bringing government services closer to the people.
|Galana Kulalu: Likely to attract his undivided attention|
Kenyatta’s first term was defined by big spending on eye-catching infrastructure and impressive economic growth which ranged above 5 per cent, in a tough climate.
His resolute handling of sensitive matters stunned both friend and foe alike. He borrowed large amounts of money to invest in infrastructure; fought drugs cartels- sinking two ships caught ferrying drugs and allowed drug Lords to be repatriated to the US to face the law.
He weathered storms at home including Somalia based militant attacks on: School children, shoppers at a mall, a military base in Al Ade in Somalia and civilians in Lamu, Wajir and Mandera counties; dismantled “tenderprenuer” cartels and shrugged off their flack. “Tenderprenuers” are characters who make their living from fronting bidders for government projects for a cut.
His administration build the first Railway line in Kenya in 100 years completing the gigantic project with 18 months to spare.
His administration is likely to focus on completing the SGR line to Kisumu and Malaba, ensure Galana Kulalu is operational, complete some of the on-going mega projects in water, roads, electricity, ensure free education from primary through secondary, built a few thousand more kilometres of tarmacked roads and Start the construction of LAPSSET.
To be fair, many of the projects completed in his first term were began by previous administration. In fact even those that will completed during his second term were initiated by the previous administrations.
We expect more electricity generation capacity to come on the grid adding to the 2234 MW already on the grid.
We also expect oil exports to begin during his watch. The contract for transportation are already in place. In fact the early oil exports programme should have commenced in June but was delayed by technical hiccups.
His uncompromising stand weeded out cheating cartels in the education sector restoring respectability to Kenyan education certificates.
He shrugged off allegations of massive corruption in his government and delivered leased medical equipment to referral hospitals in the 47 counties. Now Kidney patients can get dialysis in their county Hospitals.
So do we expect President to deliver this time around? The omens point to that direction. For starters, this being his constitutionally authorized last term in office, he is likely to be keen on his legacy than politics. This means that he shall have to deliver on his promises.
He has a large majority in Parliament and even in the counties. That ensures that he has fewer saboteurs to deal with. Even in Opposition dominated counties, opposition is likely to be muted given that their leader, the militant Raila Odinga, has been vanguished and is expected to quit politics.
However, this overwhelming majority could also be exploited to pass legislation that will stifle Kenyans. NGOS that have been critical of him and those that helped sabotage his pet projects and the press too, could find themselves under siege.
Already, two NGOs that were accused of fishing and coaching alleged witnesses against him at the ICC are beginning to feel his weight. For them, this could be payback time. They have sought refuge in the High court seeking orders to protect themselves against de-registration but it may not be long before they cease to exist.
Alternatively, their freedoms could be severely curtailed. Either way, the omens do not look good for them and could soon follow “tenderprenuers” and other cartels into oblivion.
How will Kenya look like in 2022? Well, we leave that to the omens. But our view is,it will be a transformed country with reduced unemployment rates, steady economic growth, perhaps above 6.00 per cent, lower corruption index, more industries, higher FDI inflow and for the ordinary Kenyan, more democratic space and wider economic opportunities.