BY MACHEL WAIKENDA
Meaningful progress in developing countries, just like in major economies, largely relies on unity of purpose between the government and the opposition. Political goodwill is a major pre-requisite for any government to realise socio-economic and political growth and development.
Essentially, political instability breeds uncertainty over a country’s future economic policy as this is likely to adversely affect investor confidence. In the absence of political goodwill, the trickle-down effect is mass exodus of entrepreneurs and subsequent mass layoffs, which detonate the ripple effects of poverty and crime.
Indisputably, political stability and economic growth are jointly determined and must remain uneasy but necessary bedfellows.
Perennially, our national politics have for long been characterised by personality attacks, character assassination, propaganda and hate speech, a development that does not augur well for any growing democracy.
Constructive politics that incorporate tolerance, understanding and positive criticism are a critical unifying factor to placing economic growth in pole position.
In nations where the political environment is polarised, there is a security slump, business closures and downsizing of enterprises. For instance, Kenyans are still recovering from the debilitating political and socio-economic effects of the ugly 2008 post-election violence. People lost lives and property running into billions of shillings looted and destroyed. Thousands were displaced thereby disrupting their way of life. Families were ruined, investors pulled out of the country, the economy was crippled, education was paralysed and everything came to a standstill.
But give Kenyans credit for their proven ability to bounce back and like the mythical phoenix rise from the ashes. To this end, the country has made significant strides on the reconstruction front, and championing healing and reconciliation amongst its people.
Going by the peaceful elections seven months ago, the response and commitment manifested by every Kenyan to promote peace is a clear indication of the resolution to do things right and that our diversity is not mere dots and shades of colour and tongues of speech, but that it is our greatest strength.
The youth constitute the majority of Kenyan population and must therefore play critical roles in the socio-economic and political development of this country. To move forward for the betterment of the country and for posterity, constructive criticism has been welcomed when leaders, from across the political divide, have come together to confront matters that affect us as a nation.
The vibrancy of the opposition must remain alive as is the case in every democracy to play an active watchdog and complementary role on the common cause to change the lives of the Kenyan population for the better.
United we are stronger; divided we are weak. This is the approach adopted by many of the civilised states where energies are directed towards development and service delivery to the people notwithstanding the divergent political ideologies.
With the realisation of the new constitutional order, Kenyans expect more tolerance and respect for each other regardless of one’s political persuasion. These are the whirls we subjected our country but we must steadfastly as patriotic citizens say never again because we are one.
Just like the Jubilee administration has laid the foundation of a progressive and liberal political dispensation, we need an alternative voice that is able to embrace the idea of a united nation that transcends divergent political ideologies, gender and ethnicity, religious or political inclination.
The Jubilee administration has been quite articulate on its agenda to inject new breath to register double digits economic growth. To boost this commitment that the Uhuru administration has pledged to fulfill in the next five years, Kenyans must rise above partisan politics.
Commendably, elected leaders from across the political divide right from the 47 county assemblies, the National Assembly and the Senate have been pushing to establish and entrench a bipartisan working arrangement.
This is a precedent if purposely adopted for the betterment of the country, then, Kenya is set for a major and positive transformation.
(Waikenda is TNA’s Communication’s Director)