By Silas N
I have sad news.
It is for the extremely naive folk who are buying the Punguza Mizigo nonsense.
The government is not some private entity that you can save money for. A few moments ago, President Uhuru came up with some austerity measures, that included cutting on unnecessary expenses like office tea. My friend who works in the government told me they were thrice as wasteful after the decree. There is nowhere in the world Austerity works and Greece is a basket example.
It is really persuasive that we need to “punguza mizigo”, but few people stop to ponder and ask, “to what end”.
Come on, guys. The drafters of the 2010 constitution understood the delicate situation we live in as a country.
We are a country of more than 70 ethnicities. It is not easy to balance the interests of each community. And that is why we have flexible stuff like nominations, women reps, and what everyone is talking about that it is overrepresentation.
I have seen the maths Punguza Mizigo have done, and it sounds suspicious. A proper economist should do the math and weigh the money that we will save versus the money we waste to corruption every budget year.
John Githongo has said in the past that we are the third, worst form of corruption where money to be stolen is factored into the budget. That means, if some functionary wants to steal Sh 20 billion, they just factor it into some ministry they control. What is even more nefarious is that despite even the estimates, still delivery on projects is sub-par.
Kenya has two main problems: Corruption and the refusal of the government to create a proper environment for business that will spur economic growth.
Corruption eats more than half of our national budget. The remaining money is not even enough to buy us genuine medicine in our hospitals, or even build standard roads.
Secondly, we are always talking about dividing the national cake, but we rarely talk about baking the cake.
When Kibaki came to power, he liberalized our economy and sectors such as media, education(private universities), banks (Equity, Family, K-rep-now Sidian), and real estate had such a crazy boom that our budget clocked the Sh 1 trillion threshold.
These digital boys have ruined everything the old man made in such an astonishingly stupid version, it is overwhelming. They run down university education. They killed banking. They have killed the little we had in the way of industry. Now, they rely on taxes to fund our national budget. Because we are not exporting much, but we are importing everything from lingeries to matchsticks.
We have such an annoyingly bad memory. Just six years ago that President Uhuru came up with a very lean cabinet for which we praised him. The lean cabinet oversaw the biggest money heist in the history of our country. He dealt away the post of assistant minister, but five years later, he introduced another post-Chief Administrative Secretary, inflating his cabinet some more. And it was a good move. Because political reality never mimics naivete or some childish idealism.
In politics, there are many people who have to be appeased. That is why people have faulted the winner-take-all mentality, especially favoured by Jubilee voters.
What the coalition government and the handshake have taught us, is that the cake is big enough for everyone.
The jobs we want to scrap off are held by Kenyans and even you and me may one day hold such a position. It s the only way of accommodating egos of politicians.
Yesterday, I listened to Maina Kageni and King’ang’i say in their kasheshe that if newspapers stopped for a day to talk about politics and focus on development, we will be far. And then, they proceeded to talk about women who give it up on the first day, in their morning show. Last week, I attended some training and the trainer asked why as journalists we are fixated with politics. “Is it possible to give politicians a black out…?” I laughed.
Politics is what determines who gets what and where and that is why it is part and parcel of life. Politicians everywhere in the world control our lives. Through a stroke of a pen, a politician, or government functionary can affect the lives of so many people and that is why all of us have to be politically conscious.
Drop your naivete. We will reduce the posts today, but in five years time, they will use some backdoor to change the constitution. The beauty of current constitution is that it limits money that can be stolen at the top.
And believe you me, there are powers-that-be that hate the constitution, because they don’t want someone in Wajir or Marsabit to get their fair share. They want all that money to themselves. So that they can steal and stash it in foreign accounts. Disgusting.