Dear Mr President
My name is Tim Kipchumba,a 30 year old young entrepreneur.I am the first born of my parentâ€™s 4 siblings and a father to two awesome boys.I was born in Elgeiyo Marakwet District- some 450KM North East of Nairobi.
My dad worked for our government. He worked for the ministry of public works for close to 25 years. He barely got 3 promotions in that time. He earned much less then the money our MPâ€™s would pay for one breakfast. At one point he earned as little as Kes 3,000. And even though he rarely took leave fixing roads, he failed to get promoted because the papers either didnâ€™t get to Nairobi or he didnâ€™t know or they didnâ€™t get to him or there was â€œno one to pushâ€. He passed away 2 years ago to Multiple Myeloma. The doctors said that, this was the best cancer you can get, but dad didnâ€™t live more than a year. He passed on when he was just about your age.
Your Excellency, you have many more priorities so I will now go straight to the message of my letter. I think we need to:
Fight the Tragedy of Billionaires that have done NOTHING
Have healthcare- and YES (the medical equipment) in working hospitals all over the country.
Mr President I will only dwell with the Tragedy of the Billionaires that have done NOTHING today. Iâ€™m just unable to master the courage to write about healthcare.
My dad and mum (full-time mum) managed to educate us all four.It helped that I won the EABL scholarship. And at the 27, I co-founded Questworks, which now directly or indirectly employs well over 100 people and handling work in Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, and Zambia among other countries.
We Kenyans are ingenious. God loves us. We work hard to secure the future of our families and build our country. We are a resilient lot.Like other human beings, we shape our odds. What we now need is a government that can do its part to allow us all to pursue our dreams and happiness.
I was very happy to see you yesterday at Strathmore Business School for several reasons;
The first one is that you came to launch an entrepreneurship event (a field I am now navigating with many young people in Africa).
Secondly because you visited the buildings that my 3 year old company dreamâ€™t and delivered. That glass roof building that you sat in, was built by a team of electricians, plumbers, carpenters, installers, architects, engineers, technicians, and analysts â€“ all people I know very well. So I was very happy to see the pictures in many places. These buildings have won several awards including Best Green Building in Africa and Presidential Green Award
Finally I was very fortunate to win a scholarship from East African Breweries and study in Strathmore University.I would not as otherwise afford that quality education, just like many young people canâ€™t.
My fear now Mr President is that we have a tragedy in Kenya and in â€ª#â€ŽAfrica. It is the Tragedy of Billionaires who have done NOTHING. Elsewhere, people become Billionaires and there is a solid company or value that they have created. You can trace their wealth to value they created for people.Their wealth can be explained.
Steve Jobs, Ellon Musk, Bill Gates, Carnegie, Thomas Edison, Sam Walton among others becomes Billionaires doing something great with their lives. They did things. They built real value. They built industries. They changed our lives. These people become our heroes & heroines because of the incredible value and opportunities they created. Wal-Mart today is one of the biggest employers. And many young people around the world now want to do SOMETHING to be like them. To be fair we have our own too in Kenya and Africa. We have our own Billionaires that have actually created value and as a result they also got rewarded. Equity, Bidco, Comcraft are just among those companies that we are proud to know.
What is worrying Mr President, is the rising number of those Billionaires that have created NOTHING.
Your Excellency, One of the biggest contributions to entrepreneurship that you can make is to inculcate in law and practice, a culture that encourages and rewards ingenuity and hard work while also punishing harshly those many Billionaires that just rob from Kenyans. The true cost of corruption, is not just the money that tax payers loose but also the message that millions of young Kenyans get. When young Kenyans see corrupt officials that robbed the lives of their parents walk out of jail or just step aside, or a system of government that continues to deny them an honest pursuit of their dreams and aspirations, they become just disillusioned and hopeless. They become radicalized. They have little to lose. This is the real tragedy of these Billionaires and Millionaires who have done nothing.
Your Excellency,we need to turn this corner as a nation. We need to have people jailed and hanged. We need people to be disgusted at people that steal and motivated by those that work hard. We need to jail millionaires who have done nothing and celebrate millionaires that have done real things for our nation.
We need men & women of enterprise to build real value and become rich. This way many young people will stop chasing deals, looking for ways to cut corners and instead settle and for ways to built real value. We need good people back. We need a new moral fibre for our nation and continent. Young people will start investing in skills. They will start believing they too can do it. We need the men and women in enterprise to be respected more than our public servants and politicians who profit from their positions.We no longer need more representation per capita. We need more income.
I think the single action of jailing corrupt officers will reverse insecurity, improve enterprise and inculcate a more cohesive Kenya and in fact create employment.
A research done at Strathmore Business School (unpublished) reveals that those young men who participated in Violence in 2007 general elections had a very weak relationship between their effort and the things they desired (self-efficacy). We need more young people to start believing in that critical link between their effort to things they need in life. Thatâ€™s what brings meaning, peace and prosperity.
This is indeed a bigger legacy.
@timkipchumba, June 2015
Tim Kipchumba, CO-Founder and CFO, Questworks