Shift focus, VP tells Kenyans

January 20, 2009

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 20 – Kenyans have been urged to shift their focus and debates on national discourse from politics to social and economic matters.

While admitting that political matters are important, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka said on Tuesday that social and economic issues that can positively transform and impact Kenyans’ day-to-day lives needed to feature prominently in the country’s national debates.

“Political issues, often times mundane, have for a long time overshadowed our country’s economic agenda and caused attention to shift from critical issues of livelihoods,” he regretted adding that economics issues need to be regarded highly and with as much zeal and passion as politics.

Mr Musyoka said it was sad that some members of the political class continued to politic while majority of Kenyans were grappling with the problems of perennial hunger and high levels of unemployment.

“While we expend tremendous energy on political debate, Kenya remains a net importer of food while majority of our people are dying of hunger,” he obserbed, pointing to the current food crisis that is estimated to affect 10 million people.

Speaking during the launch of the ‘Kenya Change Generation Campaign,’ the Vice President reminded everyone that the country would only achieve its ambitious development goals if every Kenyan played their part in building a better and more cohesive society.

“Not withstanding the numerous efforts the government has undertaken to provide opportunities for all, our dream of achieving the noble objectives of Vision 2030 will remain just that – a pipe dream – unless we as Kenyans take a critical look at what our priorities ought to be,” the VP warned.

The campaign, which is organised by the Brand Kenya Board, was launched to coincide with the historic inauguration of Barrack Obama – the first black American President who has Kenyan roots – and aims to motivate the youth to appreciate and celebrate Kenya’s diversity and heritage and make them more patriotic.

Pointing to President Obama’s less privileged background, Mr Musyoka told the youth that they did not need enormous resources and privileges to succeed.

“The most important thing is to have a dream, dare the dream and be determined to achieve it. Do not withhold your talents but instead exploit them to the fullest extent,” he advised.

Attending the same function was Information Permanent Secretary Dr Bitange Ndemo under whose docket the Brand Kenya Board falls, who disclosed that the government would soon start training about 15,000 youth to engage in entrepreneurship in the Information and Communication Technology sector.

He urged young people who constitute a big percent of the country’s population, to take advantage of the much-awaited fibre optic cable which is expected to arrive mid this year and create job opportunities for themselves and others.

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