Three key tasks awaiting Uhuru
With President Uhuru Kenyatta having been sworn to office, it is now time for him to turn his attention to the key tasks ahead of him.
As the dust settles, the President will have three key tasks that he must tackle as urgently as possible since they are the key to the stability of our country, and the return to normalcy.
The first task is rejuvenating the economy.
While the electioneering period has not seen much of the destruction that we experiences in the 2007-2008 post-election crisis, the uncertainty it has brought about has stalled economic activity.
Businesses have been seriously affected, and many plans are on hold, awaiting the signal that this period has finally ended.
The counties are yet to receive their disbursements from the national government, meaning that little meaningful economic activity has been taking place. The close of the electioneering period should enable the issues holding up these disbursements to be resolved quickly so that normal economic activity can resume.
The government will need an economic blueprint in the short to medium-term to jumpstart the economy. It might have to offer additional incentives to some sectors such as agriculture to boost production and marketing. In the run up to the August 8 election, the government subsidised the cost of maize flour to enable families afford the country’s staple food. This was after a severe maize shortage, resulting in doubling of the price of maize flour.
The second task that awaits the President is national reconciliation, healing and inclusion.
The run up to the general election, and the intervening period before the repeat election was held, were generally very divisive periods in the country.
Kenyans tend to be divided along ethnic lines, and this was no different. As a consequence, major tribes aligned themselves with either of the two political formations, Jubilee or NASA.
However, the problem with these alignments is that they are thoroughly exploited by politicians, who feel the only way they can containerise votes in ethnic communities is by ethnic jingoism. Communities that coexist peacefully for the five years before the polls all of a sudden become sworn enemies.
The President will need to reach out to all for national healing. He has already said he is ready to reach out and have talks with his protagonists because this is what a responsible leader does.
This is a very important step in stabilising the country. He will also have to craft strategies that build bridges across communities to ensure he achieves what is roughly translated to as “inclusion,” — a euphemism for people feeling they are out of government and,therefore, have no opportunity to access national resources. He should do this in the first 100 days in office.
The third task is pacifying the country. A lot of people and communities walk around Kenya with deep wounds from grievances, real or imagined. It is time to deal with these so-called historical injustices once and for all. President Uhuru made the first all-important step when in 2015 he apologised to all those whose actions of government over the years had inflicted harm in any way. He even set up a Sh10 billion fund to compensate people who were victims of such grievances.
This was a very bold, even audacious, step, and one that broke the ice. He should now move the process to the next step- that of acknowledging the various grievances and seeing through compensation for them. This way, he can create and secure his legacy for all time as the President who dared confront what has been taboo in Kenya for more than 50 years.