Tuesday, 10 February 2015

My Advice to President Uhuru

Mr President, after several years of writing opinion pieces for the SIASA pullout, this will be the first time I address myself to you in person. I trust you will find my thoughts most helpful.

I'm not a prophet, but long before you and your deputy Ruto were an item, while both of you were for all intents and purposes nemesis, I knew you would team up in order to fight the ICC and even wrote about it in this very pullout.

Back then, I foresaw that the only way to defeat the ICC was for you to team up with Ruto and fight the ICC. I will admit that I don't know whether it was my opinion piece that opened your eyes to this fact or not, but the fact is that you teamed up and successfully seized power - fairly and squarely.

And just as I thought would happen, you out maneuvered the ICC prosecutor and she was left with no choice but to withdraw the case against you citing a lack of sufficient evidence to proceed with the case, never mind that she cited a lack of cooperation from you.

As to whether you are innocent or guilty of the charges that had been preferred against, that question is now immaterial. You have escaped like a bird from the snare of ICC and now you are free to lead our beloved nation going forward.

Sadly though, the fate of your buddy and deputy still hangs in the balance in The Hague and I think you owe it to him to help him unclutch himself from the ICC death grip. It's just what friends do for each other Mr President.

But then again, this is politics and everyone must carry his own cross. Just as there are no permanent enemies, there are no permanent friends. So screw him if you must but please be very smart about it.

Alternatively, you can ignore his plight and let justice take its course. The choice is yours mister president. I will be watching with a lot of interest to see how you handle that one.

I'm however not addressing you with a view to giving you advice on how to handle this issue. No. That is for you to decide and I have a feeling you already know what to do.

My concern however, and the purpose of this write-up, is the next three years of your presidency. Sir, the next three years of your presidency must count for something.

When you took office, you had a very defensive posture. You were combative and understandably so -it's human nature given the circumstances you were in. But the battle for self preservation is already won; you're free now - free to write the next chapter of your presidency and the destiny of our great nation.

More than anything else, our economy requires fundamental reforms. Our vision as you are aware, is to become a newly industrializing, middle-income country by the year 2030.

At present however, agriculture is still the backbone of our economy. Whereas there is no disputing that agriculture is a vitally important sector of our economy, Kenya cannot become rich like we want to be by remaining an agrarian economy.

Your task mister president is to bring about the economic transformation that our country is need of. Unfortunately though, the economy is not one of your strengths and that's nothing really to be embarrassed about. President Kibaki's strength lay in the economy and not politics. The reverse is true for you and that is perfectly fine.

Your die hard supporters however will diasgree with my assessment and point to the Standard Gauge Railway and other Vision 2030 mega projects that your government is overseeing as proof that you are delivering on the economic front. You know as well as I do that they are ignorant, so don't derive cold comfort from them. Every government we elect must implement those projects.

What however Vision 2030 - the master plan of our economic development - requires in order for it to become reality is not merely the completion of the proposed mega projects in a timely fashion but rather, fundamental economic reforms that is underpinned by no less than 10 per cent economic growth rate for the next decade or so. Currently, the growth rate is at a measly 6 per cent and it was projected to rise to 7 per cent next year.

But as you are already aware Mr President, the rains failed miserably last year and given that our rain-fed, largely agrarian economy is highly susceptible to the vagaries of weather, chances of attaining the projected 7 per cent growth rate have all but weathered. In any case, don't forget the magic number is 10 per cent not 7.

So what do you need to do? Your strength may be in politics and not the economy, but you don't have to be lead the country bankrupt of ideas when it comes to the transformation of the economy. What you need is strategic economic advice.

Sir, right now you really don't need the services of the Strategic Communications Unit. For now, the propaganda machine can take a back seat until 2017. The task at hand is nation building not political survival as it were.

Your energies should now be directed to the transformation of Kenya's economy. I suggest you quickly assemble a team of economic advisers with fresh ideas and task them with the responsibility of coming up with what will be your government's economic agenda for the transformation of the economy and empower them to oversee its implementation under your direct supervision.

Your cabinet secretaries of planning and finance should be part of the team but they should not be the drivers of your economic transformation agenda or initiatives. They should remain the chief implementers of the programs and initiatives you direct them to based on the advise and recommendations of your economic advisers.

You should also revamp the National Economic and Social Council and make it more vibrant. That council should be a very rich source of timely and authoritative information concerning economic developments and economic trends that your economic advisers could collate and provide you with excellent economic policy advice that should govern the implementation of your economic agenda.

Mr President, the onus is on you to set the agenda for the remainder of your first term in office. Personally, I strongly recommend that you make the economy your top priority moving forward. Economic transformation should henceforth feature prominently in your administration's lexicon and the ensuing national discourse. Make it happen mister president.

No comments:

Post a Comment