Over the last week, a lot of analysis has been shared over the Jubilee government’s first 100 days in office. Generally it has been quite easy to tell one’s political leaning from what they think about this first 100 days; those who support CORD have found little to celebrate; while those who support Jubilee have found little to fault.
As usual I chose to break ranks; despite being a supporter of CORD I do honestly think the first 100 days of the Jubilee government have been quite impressive. However I did also observe an interesting lapse in all the commentaries that have analyzed this period. No one has noted that the Jubilee government has also benefitted from the mistakes they did not make.
For example unlike President Kibaki’s inauguration speech in 2003, President Kenyatta did not make the mistake of an antagonistic inauguration speech. The presidency has also avoided anything that looks like a public sector witch-hunt against those who did not support them; the deputy president still has staff carried over from the former prime minister’s office and so far the diplomatic corps have not changed.
However they do need to up their communication skills. An example is the laptop issue where despite having one of the best public communication structures ever seen they just cannot seem to be able to explain how the laptops-for-children policy will benefit Kenyans.
They seem stuck on the notion that telling us the laptop idea is a campaign policy we will understand it to mean that they are politicians who ‘sema na tenda’ (say and do). Unfortunately half of Kenya did not support them politically so this just opens them up for resistance even those who see the sense in the policy, but oppose them politically.
Why not present the fact that children in school now will enter the job market after Vision 2030 has been achieved; when we ideally expect to an ICT hub in Africa? Why not show parents the difference between a child who grows up with access to ICT, compare him to one who does not; and point out the fact that the two will be competing for the same spaces in education access as well as jobs? Why not showcase how each school that will benefit from the laptop program will affect its own infrastructure, and that of the community around it?
The Jubilee government must also walk the talk on their promise to tolerate political opposition. They must remember that Kenya is a multi-party democracy, which also means that we will continue to be plagued by political campaigns that never stop; because when one party is in power the others spend the next five years undermining them and positioning themselves to beat them, and take over at the next elections, and the cycle repeats itself.