Political acrobats got it wrong in foretelling doom

Saturday January 7 2017

Tatu City Ltd sponsor Stephen Jennings (left) with Dormans chairman Jeremy Block during the signing and ground-breaking ceremony of the 10-acre Dormans global headquarters at the Tatu City on April 22, 2015. Three appellate judges ruled that the law firm involved in the case had no authority to file civil suits against the Tatu City Ltd directors. PHOTO | DIANA  NGILA |

Tatu City Ltd sponsor Stephen Jennings (left) with Dormans chairman Jeremy Block during the signing and ground-breaking ceremony of the 10-acre Dormans global headquarters at the Tatu City on April 22, 2015. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By ALVIN KINYUA
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There are individuals who wish to dampen the spirits of Kenyans by foretelling doom, courtesy of 2017 being an election year.

Some of these doomsday cultists, citing the fact that a number of corporate organisations, especially banks, laid off massively, started spewing their tragedy-bound prognosis as early as last year.

Well, I don’t buy this thesis at all.

The truth is the banks laid off not because Kenya was going under but rather because the law capping interest rates stopped them from imposing vulgar tolls on loans.

Many of the charges imposed on borrowers by local banks hitherto were not only hidden but were actually intended to solely siphon huge amounts of hard-earned cash from them.

The noise about corporations exiting Kenya or laying off in 2016, it seems, was a bait by masters of political disruption to dampen the spirits of both Kenyans themselves and investors ahead of 2017 — the year of a closely watched General Election.

Kenya’s population of more than 40 million has a key decision to make before, during and after the August 8 election. They should resolve that whatever temperatures are stirred by political competition, they will regard provocation to violence and lawlessness as downright unwise and wrong.

The choice to make Kenya prosper throughout 2017 rests with Kenyans. This choice should not be ceded to a handful of leaders bent on sowing dissent and discord or creating back doors to the seat of power. The Constitution clearly declares that power vests with the people. This is our time to demonstrate as much.

PRESIDENCY IS PERPETUAL

Kenyans need to acknowledge that the presidency is perpetual, though the occupants change from time to time. The question should be how successive presidents will complement the agenda to make Kenya great progressively.
In the foregoing regard, the Mwai Kibaki administration opened up Kenya’s economic space and created the necessary hardware and environment to do business. The Uhuru Kenyatta-led government has added immense value to the work of the previous government by introducing potent elements to the infrastructure it inherited.

Perhaps the best examples of how Kenya has progressed in 2016, a year doomsters and assorted political pessimists claimed was a wasteland, are in the success stories in the private sector.

In this league is Tatu City. This mixed use and mixed income project located on the outskirts of Nairobi is arguably a towering example of how confidence in an economy amid torrents of pity-party vibes can and should manifest itself.

Just a year back, this emerging example was thrust in all manner of contests that made it look and feel stillborn. In 2016, Tatu City made several achievements. One of them was partnering with the internationally acclaimed Nova Academy that set up its flagship campus at Tatu City last year.

The academy — headed by Mr Christopher Khaemba, a celebrated former principal of Alliance High School, and more recently dean of the African Leadership Academy — has started on a high note. It is already admitting its first group of Form One students.

HARDLY CELEBRATING

Aside from the school, again in 2016, Chandaria Industries announced the launch of its Sh5 billion tissue paper factory within Tatu City in a deal that saw the group lease 29 acres.

Still in 2016, Tatu City extended support to the Kenya Rugby Union as an Associate Test Sponsor. This happened at a time when other corporate organisations were withdrawing sponsorship from sports teams.

Earlier in 2016, Tatu City became host to a well-established coffee brand. The Dormans Coffee Group, which specialises in coffee roasting and export, announced its global headquarters would from then on be located in Tatu City’s Industrial Park.

Clearly, a lot of encouraging progress is afoot in several parts of Kenya that we are hardly celebrating.

I am sure there are many other Kenyans who can cite shining examples of enterprises and success stories, particularly in the private sector, which clearly demonstrate that those summoning social and political Armageddon over Kenya in 2017 are not sincere.

The selfsame political acrobats talk of how they will build the same economy they are all over scare mongering the world about.

How, pray, does a sane individual deliberately douse a piece of clothing in a sewer in order to get a chance to exhibit your prowess in cleaning clothes?

The writer is a blogger and commentator on social and political affairs