, NAIROBI, Kenya, December 27 – The year 2011 has been touted as one of the most difficult in Kenya’s history politically, economically and even socially.
In this year, the harshest economic times have been experienced with the weakening of the shilling which saw it hit record lows of up to Sh 107 against the dollar to high inflation rate and the sky rocketing prices of essential commodities including fuel.
Other negative aspects of the year include the Sinai fire tragedy which claimed over 100 lives and the deaths of more than 10 people who consumed illicit alcohol in Nyahururu among other calamities.
Road accidents have also claimed more than 3000 people this year, according to police statistics.
Capital news spoke to a cross section of Kenyans on the streets of Nairobi and for most of them, the hardships they experienced this year far out weigh the gains made.
Most of them blame the high inflation rate as a contributing factor to their sufferings.
Others said they could not even afford to travel to holiday destinations this festive season due the harsh economic times.
“The fuel prices went very high such that even going to the rural areas became very expensive,” Morris Ouma, a city businessman said.
“This year has not been good to me at all. I encountered so many challenges because prices of most essential commodities hit the roof,” said Stephen Oduor, a self employed artisan.
Those interviewed however, pointed out the gains made in government reforms especially in the judiciary and road construction projects as some of the high points in the year.
“What has really impressed me is the progress made in the construction of roads. Our government has really tried because roads are being upgraded in most parts of the country,” Elena Yambi, a marketer said.
“I am also impressed with some of the reforms the government has undertaken. Although they may seem a bit slow, personally I think they are something positive.”
However, there were positive aspects of the year which saw the Kenyan Judiciary go through revolutionary reforms that culminated in the appointment of chief justice Willy Mutunga.
Other major changes include the constitution of the Supreme Court, the expansion of the court of appeal and the appointment of more judges to the High Court.
The long awaited vetting of judges set to kick off next month constitutes one of the key highlights of the year 2012.
Most Kenyans are optimistic that next year will be better.
“With the new constitution, maybe there will be better reforms. Maybe the government will implement more reforms next year,” another accountant based in the Capital Nairobi said.
“We need more and more reforms because that is why we fought hard to have a new constitution in place,” he said.