"My government will embark on policies geared to economic reconstruction, employment creation and immediate rehabilitation of the collapsed infrastructure." – These were the parting words of President Mwai Kibaki’s inaugural speech as Kenya’s third Head of State in December 30, 2002.
This most certainly, was the basis of the famous NARC dream. And yes, its reality began. Scenes of dilapidated, potholed roads started disappearing. Rural dispensaries that had turned into grazing grounds were renovated and the poor peasant could now afford healthcare. The launch of free primary education programme gave over a million children a lifeline and a chance to basic education.
From a 0.3 percent growth rate the economy steadily grew to 7 percent in 2007. This period saw the highest employment rates in Kenya, as financial institutions took the lead, and graduates who left learning at this time smiled all the way to new jobs.
Brilliant ideas were borne by the new administration. The Constituency Development Fund, the National Economic and Social Council (the country’s fiscal think tank), Public Procurement and Disposal Act, the Public Complaints Standing Committee, the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission … the list is endless. Vision 2030 was also born during this time. And that was the NARC dream.
If there are any ‘good old days’ for our beloved country, then those years were.
At the inception of the dream and its execution one thing was common, and that was unity. After failing to oust the KANU regime on two occasions, the Opposition united into one party and the magic worked. This unity that went into the initial stages of the new administration is what energised the NARC dream. At this time, all eyes were on rescuing a country from the Intensive Care Unit and nothing else.
Fast forward to 2009, and the difference is clear. Prior to the last election, our leaders lost the unity dream and focussed on who got which post, or which community got the biggest share of the national cake. With that, down the drain went the dream.
Currently the country is fixated on reforms (which to me is more of selfish interests than national good), power struggles, proposed trials at The Hague and the 2012 succession politics. Unemployment, a tensed civil service, frustrated citizenry, political wrangling etc is what we now have to show .
If you closely look at this, one thing is common – selfishness. For some, reforms are not the improvement of our institutions as ideally should be, but who vacates what office to be replaced with someone from their rural backyard. For others, they fight daily to retain their own in power for their own selfish gain.
As Kenyans continue to die of hunger others are obsessed on taking over the reins from President Kibaki. No lesser than Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka is on the campaign trail for 2012 and working for the so called KKK alliance. We continue to lose it by day.
Kenya badly needs to go back to the NARC dream, and for me this is simple. We need a dedicated leadership. It is time for leaders who will eliminate thoughts of 2012 elections, put aside their interests and focus on development and feeding hungry Kenyans.
I advise the Head of State to go back to the archives, get his acceptance speech and read it to his ministers and focus on its implementation. I picked this from his speech as a start:
"We chose to let go our individual differences and personal ambitions in order to save this nation. Some prophets of doom have predicted a vicious in-fighting in NARC following this victory. I want to assure you that they will be disappointed. When a group of people comes together over an idea or because of a shared vision, such a group can never fail or disintegrate."
NARC will never die as long as the original vision endures. It will grow stronger and coalesce into a single party that will become a beacon of hope not only to Kenyans, but to the rest of Africa."
What a wonderful dream. Three years is enough time to make a difference and President Kibaki can leave a legacy for himself.