As debate on the recent shutting down of TV stations continues, I am reminded of the words of one of the most influential former Third World leaders.
“Freedom of the press, freedom of the news media, must be subordinate to the overriding needs of Singapore, and to the primacy of purpose of an elected government”, former Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kwan Yew said in an address to the International Press Institute’s assembly in Helsinki in 1971.
He told the gathering that he needed the media “to reinforce, not to undermine, the cultural values and social attitudes being inculcated in our schools and universities”.
Mr Lee, in his journey to transform Singapore into an economic powerhouse, believed his young nation needed some intensity of purpose to succeed.
“Unlike Singapore’s ministers, they and their journalists were not elected,” he wrote about media houses in his book titled, From Third World to First: The Singapore Story, 1965-2000.
Our country is at a defining moment. We are just coming from a prolonged electioneering period, but the hangover is still too strong to let go.
We have read many opinions on the January 30 mock oathing of Nasa leader Raila Odinga.
Much has also been said about the arrests of opposition politicians.
We must shun perennial politicking that consumes our time and energy.
Excessive freedoms can see a country degenerate into anarchy.
People elect their leaders and entrust them with running the affairs of their government.
President Uhuru Kenyatta must decide how to manage his final five-year term.
This final term will determine how history will remember him.
Legacies are written on how leadership changed the course of nations, how economic situations improved and generally on indelible marks.
Legacies have no place for excuses. The main body of a legacy is about what and the how is only noted at the appendix.
President Kenyatta must focus on issues and less on the process of delivery.
Whereas there is a thin line here, focusing on issues and being a bit impersonal has a higher yield rate.
The tragedy in ignoring detractors, though, is that they can always be used by the enemy to dictate national discourse.
The advantage of ignoring them is that time will prove him right and they wrong.
South Korean leader Park Chung-Hee focused on issues.
In his first term in 1963, he pursued a policy of guided democracy by suppressing the media and opposition parties, curtailing personal freedoms and controlling the judicial system.
He also reorganised the Korean Central Intelligence Agency and used it as a political tool.
South Korea’s GDP per capita is $27,538.8. Mr Lee is remembered for changing the fortunes of Singapore.
Singapore has a GDP per capita of $52,962.5, equivalent to 417 per cent of the world’s average and 36 times that of Kenya.
Home ownership stands at 90 per cent. President Kenyatta has a mission to make Kenyans create enough wealth for all of us.
He must focus on the bigger picture. Another living example is Turkish President and former mayor of Istanbul Recep Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
He is redeeming his country economically at the expense of opposition figures.
Lastly, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte is writing his legacy by cracking down on drug dealers and other criminals.
He has been heavily criticised but he’s focused on delivering on his promises.
Abraham Lincoln is remembered for uniting the United States; no one remembers his critics.
The Kenyatta administration will be remembered on the Big Four promises: Food security, affordable housing, universal healthcare and manufacturing.
Anything standing in the way of the realisation of these goals should be ignored or crushed.
Mr Nyoro, an economist, is the MP for Kiharu. [email protected]