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Mr President, get your act together this year

Friday January 1 2016

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Your Excellency, 2015 was a bad year for Kenya. All the pillars of our nationhood were tested and most were found wanting. Some collapsed, some were seriously weakened, while others were desecrated beyond repair.

We are talking about the presidency, economy, security and, most importantly, the people.

We acknowledge the fact that it has been a tough year for leaders across the world — what with global economic upheavals and terrorists wreaking havoc everywhere.

However, we reject the almost criminal resignation and negligence with which your government has responded to our national crises this past year. We need not recount the number of lives lost, the losses incurred by businesses and opportunities wasted for millions of Kenyans due to the incompetence of the Executive.

With the exception of a few family businesses and tenderpreneurs who raked in billions of shillings — thanks largely to political patronage — everyone is losing money in this country.



The stock exchange is brewing losses instead of creating wealth. Companies are sending workers home to stay afloat, while small businesses are shutting down mainly because of Executive myopia.

The people losing jobs are joining millions of desperate youth who have never known a job, despite having an education. This growing army of disgruntled youth and middle-aged people pose a grave risk to the country which, unfortunately, the government seems to understate.

Mr President, unemployment, corruption, bureaucratic incompetence and economic paralysis are the bane of your regime. The country today is crying for action — practical measures to guarantee the citizens that the government has been seized of their concerns.

Instead of providing this leadership, you and your lieutenants — the Deputy President, THE Cabinet, MPs and Senators — have adopted a default campaign mode of regaling the public with tales of largesse to come.

Your Excellency, three years is a long time to live on hope. On more than one occasion you have addressed the nation and promised to fix the fundamentals of statehood once and for all. However, nothing has come of it. Your Excellency, why do you make promises that you cannot keep?

Remember November 24, 2015, when you reshuffled the Cabinet? You promised to constitute a budget office at State House to address the financial mess that’s Jubilee’s hallmark in two weeks. Almost six weeks later, nothing has been heard of it. And this is not the first time.


Mr President, these half-measures are harming the presidency and your authority as the First Citizen of Kenya besides tormenting Kenyans. Among other challenges, it creates an impression of a reluctant leader, one who enjoys the trappings of office but is not ready to get the work done.

Worse, it suggests that you are being held captive by some forces you cannot disentangle yourself from. You swore to uphold the national good, Mr President, what is it that is holding you hostage?

Mr President, this newspaper supports the presidency as the symbol of national unity. However, we will not sit back and cheer when the very pillar of nationhood threatens its very sustenance.

Mr President, there comes a time when the rhetoric must stop and some work gets done. We challenge you, Mr President, to walk the talk of executive probity and nationhood this year.

For close to three years, you have been declaring your tigritude on rooftops, it is now time to pounce. Not least because your legacy hinges on it, but it is the only decent thing to do.

Happy New Year, Your Excellency.