“I am for doing good to the poor, but…I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. I observed…that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
The greatest test of our political acuity as an opposition is our ability to scrutinize the achievements of an administration, measure them versus their functions, and then give fair criticism of performance. However those we expect to do this; that group of political analysts that grace our televisions and radios every day, seem completely removed from the reality of where Kenya is. These so-called pundits have for some strange unfathomable reason chosen to deliberately ignore the successes of this government and focus only on that which is not as successful.
For example on more than one occasion I have heard an ‘analyst’ or ‘expert on governance issues’ declare with finality that the Jubilee government does nothing. This is in a country where the State has not disintegrated into utter chaos. Such statements are made without being challenged even on the fact that a government cannot not do anything simply because by virtue of its existence it must be doing something.
A key factor to any public discourse must be the demand for proof of claims, or at the very least the need for anyone to present a reasonably argued standpoint that is accompanied by information and facts.
For the sake of clarity let me highlight some key achievements brought about in the last three years by the Jubilee regime.
A key objective of the Jubilee regime was to foster and stabilize food security, increase productivity and enhance the economic output while at the same time supporting and subsidizing farmers. The fertilizer subsidy program established in 2013 has invested Sh11.5 billion in ensuring that Kenyan farmers have access to quality and affordable fertilizer and over 500 metric tons (MT) of fertilizer has been supplied to over 500,000 households across Kenya. The impact of this program has been that the farmer is now accessing fertilizer at a cost of Sh1,800 compared to a market price of Sh3,300.
Agriculture has also seen the involvement of private sector in creating efficiencies. The fertilizer subsidy program involved Safaricom which launched a pilot project electronic fertilizer management system (e voucher system) in Embu, Murang’a, Machakos and Bungoma. The government is also working with the Toyota Tsusho Company towards the construction of a fertilizer processing plant in Eldoret that is expected to be complete by September 2016.
The other part of the food security policy has been the enhancement of the Strategic Food Reserve (SFR). Under Jubilee the SFR stocks increased from 2.3 million bags in 2013/14 to 4.1 million bags in 2014/15. In addition an SFR Trust Fund Boards was formed to ensure efficient management and accountability. These are just the highlights in a long list of impressive accomplishments under the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries.
Under the Ministry of Trade, Investments and Industry, the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) programme recorded a 20pc increase in exports of clothing to the USA under the AGOA act; making Kenya the highest exporter in sub-Saharan Africa.
This also created over 22,000 new direct and indirect jobs in the sector. The Kenya Industrial Transformation Program was also launched to drive the industrial agenda over the next 10 years and given the target of ensuring 1 million jobs are created and that Foreign Direct Investment grows at least fivefold over the next 10 years.
To compliment these key transformations the Northern Corridor Infrastructure summits have been consistently facilitated with President Uhuru Kenyatta championing the fast tracking of the project. This has resulted in firm commitments by partnering countries in enhancing, developing and improving strategic infrastructure projects. These and other strategic international policies are all geared at making international investments easier and faster. The result is that Foreign Direct Investment inflows grew from USD597 million in 2012/2013 to USD 868.44 million in 2013/2014; a growth of over 45pc.
The achievements of the three ministries above is just but an example that not only is there a lot of something going on in the Jubilee Government, there are tangible and measurable results that have been largely ignored in the ongoing effort to show Jubilee as doing nothing. There is plenty more information available if only the media, or the analysts they invite, chose to look for it. But I suspect speaking of positives does not make as much ‘good media’ as beating down on government, even when you are wrong.