As the country mourns the passing of H.E. Mwai Kibaki, much speculation and comparison have come up on the impact of both the current and former governments. Both governments have made positive impacts by coping with different problems to create a better nation.
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Before Things Go South
As Mwai Kibaki was sworn in as President in 2002, he battled to end the single-party dominance that had been there for 39 years. He had a vision also to make the country sustainable with minimal external loans and increase tax revenue collection.
Later on, his successor, H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, battled to redefine governance due to the implementation of the 2010 Constitution. Devolution was so intense due to its implications on government expenditure and planning. Consequently, the Legislature had to deal with lots of amendments to ensure its effectiveness.
But in recent times, it has been evident that the current government went wrong somewhere. From inflation, corruption, and excessive borrowing, Kenyans are experiencing one of the worst economic growth rates of all time.
1. External borrowing
First, it is very uneconomical when our borrowing rates are the highest, and our Tax to GDP ratio has dropped from an average of 22% (2007-2013) to an average of 17.9% (2014-2020), according to the World Bank. High Tax to GDP ratio means the country’s tax revenue rises in synchrony when GDP rises.
Mwai Kibaki was able to implement free primary education during his tenure and still restructure government expenditure with minimal external borrowing. During Uhuru’s tenure, we’ve seen a big decline in university education as The World Bank pressured the Kenyan government to close and merge public universities late last year and close loss-making parastatals to receive more loans from the banker.
Implementation of the New Constitution in 2013, sparked hope for better governance. And while it has been effective in some areas, it has been the death of key areas facing difficulty with both funding and human resource. Underfunded county governments have taken over key sectors like health and education to manage.
Also, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Kenya took a hit from the biggest corruption scandal in recent times, the KEMSA scandal. Over Kshs. 2.3 billion has been squandered with no successful prosecution or recovery of the same.
Proper legislation is mandatory to effect policies that will ensure effective prosecution of corruption cases. The re-introduction of performance contracts in the Public Service would be revolutionary in changing the public engagement of public servants.
3. Sustainable Development
The current government is invested in seeing the country’s economic growth become the most superior in the East African region. This has left us with big debts and a shaken social atmosphere. For sustainable development to be evident, there is a need to balance social and economic growth.
In recent times, the inflation rate has been at its peak, and the government’s response hasn’t been satisfactory. Also, issues like water and food security should be a country’s priority to steer the country in the right direction. Sustainable development is expensive since sectors like education and food security involve investing in the future since its effects are gradual.
President Uhuru Kenyatta eulogised Mwai Kibaki as “a quintessential patriot, whose legacy of civic responsibility will continue to inspire generations of Kenyans long into the future.”
As the General polls draw near, it is a collective responsibility for both politicians and the general public to secure the future of the country. This is possible by electing leaders with a mindset such as Kibaki’s.