I normally shy away from political discussions for obvious reasons. First, I am not a politician, and secondly, political arguments have no conclusion, yet my school of thought believes in the closure of all matters. One such discussion that is going nowhere in the next 3 years is the issue of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s legacy.
When he will be done with his 10 years, no interruption from snap elections or motion of impeachment, Uhuru’s development record wrapped in a package called legacy will judge him, not just for this generation.
Some people opine that infrastructural development with a signature project highlighted by SGR, universal health coverage and the fight against corruption will be the key headliners for Uhuru presidency. While many might not agree with this line of thought, I would like us to look back and see what the chronicles of history tell us.
The founding father of this nation focused on fighting disease, poverty, and illiteracy. Those were important things to maintain their energy against, considering the shackles of colonialism had fallen just when the majority of the population was deep into the traditional way of dealing with issues.
The world was changing. The industrial revolution had happened and everyone was keen on embracing the new era of production and technology. Jomo Kenyatta did his part in establishing a political system that paved the way to set up a foundation for this nation.
Curious acts of omission and commission are often discussed in the form of land use and ownership and how he dealt with the ethnic system after independence. Many commissions have been formed to relook into land distribution and transition from white settler administered a system to Africanization.
The issue of ethnic fundamentalism has also been highlighted in post-colonialism, with indications that as a nation we sunk deeper into negative tribalism and refused to embrace our diversity. These have shown areas of disengagement and probably pockets of inaction, ostensibly to remedy the situation.
Moism is credited with kufuata nyayo. While President Moi made sure that even the smallest of potential from the farthest of the fringes of this nation had a role to play in nation building, he also brought considerable mismatch in distributing the wealth of this nation. Obviously, those who did not follow his philosophy got a fair share of lack of attention, mostly affecting not the political class but the common mwananchi.
In terms of infrastructure development, this country lost close to 24 years of track and sunk deeper into dilapidation. Someone intimated to me that a recently built highway was done as per 1974 design and pathway, just to show you how many years we lost.
Something to note is the number of white elephant projects that the Moi era left behind. Hospitals, institutions of higher learning, roads and industries that could create employment were not spared. No wonder President Kibaki once said that they inherited a bankrupt government, unable to sustain herself.
But one interesting phenomenon is how Kibaki dealt with Moi era projects. He did not just neglect them. While Kibaki is credited with the largest strive from infrastructure inertia, he is equally applauded for finishing idlest projects started and neglected in the Moi era. Across the country, you will hear of monumental establishments like little known wasteland called Ukai in Kitui County that transformed into South Eastern Kenya University that today is trailblazing in mining training across the region.
What is not clear is the position of Kibaki era projects and their place in the current administration. Most of Kibaki’s projects were packaged under Vision 2030, whose visibility and ability seems to have been dismissed to the outer fringes. Konza techno city has gotten lost and Lapsset has been neglected, remaining only as a shell to take us back to memory lane.
At the county government level, this issue of legacy was equally devolved. Some county chiefs who lost their seats disappeared with their focus, and the new fella seems to dismiss earlier ideas and plans as useless and impracticable. Years back, under the focus areas of Kidero administration lay the transformational agenda to take care of Dandora dumpsite through a world view changing waste management system. That has not started till to date.
It will be interesting to see what Uhuru does in the next three years because that will either cement his legacy or destroy it.