What Is Wrong With Kenya? Will Uhuru Kenyatta stand up for us?
By Donald Kipkorir
Today is my first day back in Kenya after being in Europe for Three Weeks on Summer Vacation. The time allowed me to reflect on Kenya and why 55 years after independence, we are still Poor, Backward & Primitive …. Don’t be lied to that we are the Biggest Economy in East Africa …. You can’t be proud because you are the only one with mabati roof in a slum! The truth is, Rwanda, Ethiopia & Tanzania will all overtake us in GDP per capita within the next 10 years. Let me give you few examples from my European Tour:
1. Malta: a tiny island measuring measly 316 sq km and arid with a population of 500,000 is self-sufficient in food. Its economy is very vibrant driven by tourism & services industry creating a rich nation with GDP per capita of over Us$42,500 (Kshs. 4.25m)
2. Britain: measures 240,000 sq km with arable land of less than 60,000sq km .. though cold most of the year, Britain is self-sufficient in food for its 70m Citizens plus the illegal immigrants. Britain has GDP per capita of us$42,300 (Kshs. 4.23m).
3. Iceland: This cold Island measures 103,000 sq km with less than 1,000 acres (yes, 1,000 acres) of arable land But is able to produce sufficient food for its 340,000 people. With economy driven by services industry, its GDP Per Capita is whopping us$52,000 (Kshs. 5.2m)
KENYA: our landmass is 580,000 sq km … bigger than all the countries above nearly three times … our arable land is over 60,000 sq km …. same as Britain …. But our GDP per capita is a ghetto us$3,000 (300,000/=) and we can’t feed, house or clothe ourselves.
The question we need to ask ourselves is: with so much arable land and so much rain, how come we have been unable to be self sufficient in food? Why can’t we produce maize, wheat, sugar, milk, beef et al in such quantities we can feed our people and still have so much for export?
How can we import food from all places poor and miserable Uganda, Malawi and Zambia? And even mercury laced sugar from a Brazil and Mexico.
A people that can’t feed itself can’t amount to much … to dream of industrialization or housing for all when we can’t feed ourselves is hallucinations.
If we can’t fix our Agriculture, we don’t have to pretend we can fix anything else. To claim otherwise is political voodoo. We have the land and the rains ….
Kenya is looking for a transformative leadership … we are waiting for enlightened leadership in the mode of Lee Kuan Yew, Mahathir Mohamad, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Paul Kagame and of course Abiy Ahmed.
Am still optimistic that Uhuru Kenyatta if he wants, can still experience political epiphany and be the leader Kenyans needs. But will he? The food on our table will be the test.