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Kenya: Time to Deliver On Promises Made
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Business Daily
Nairobi, Kenya
by Ibrahim Mwathane
Monday, March 17, 2008

Wonders indeed never cease!

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Just a couple of months back, Kenya was awash with high level, fast and furious campaigns; the big three, President Kibaki, Mr Raila Odinga and Mr Kalonzo Musyoka were out to retain or "grab" State power.

Each went to great efforts to rally their forces. When the final whistle went off, one was clearly down and owned up to it while the other two were thrown into a dispute, the details of which are all too familiar.

But, amazingly, here we are today! The three now sit side by side, one president, the other his vice while the third is prime minister-designate. Each has sleek enviable State motorcades, complete with chase cars and security detail.

The past forgotten, they now enjoy the spoils. Kenyans don't seem to comprehend this transformed status. Arch enemies yesterday; political friends today, dining from a common dinner table...Kenya.

Well, it's indeed so, the wonders in politics; let's quickly appreciate the circumstances and go for what matters to the country. If you recall, each of these guys made promises. And now that they are all in government, what an opportunity for us?

We now should witness a variety in policy and service delivery from a combination of the three, contrary to expectations following exclusive ascension to the state throne by any.

Each promised free secondary education, we want it efficiently delivered without hiccups. They promised to fix our road infrastructure, and notably that in North Eastern province.

It's time to have the Isiolo-Marsabit-Moyale, Garissa-Wajir-Mandera and Kapenguria-Lodwar-Lokichoggio road arteries tarmacked to ease trade with Somalia, Ethiopia and Southern Sudan and improve livelihoods in the North.

Good for Kenya. Indeed, some promised insurance cover for cows, goats and camels for pastoralist communities in the North as well. They are waiting. They haven't forgotten.

It's time to ensure that the coastal region has a university like other parts of the country. It's time to resettle the squatters along the Coastal Strip. These promises were made. And they make sense. Please honour. Kenya, we were told is ripe for a 24 hour economy. We were told this would be effected. Can we now have pilot models for these in the respective areas.

Isiolo was to have an International Airport to cater for the North and relieve "miraa" farmers as well. The people of Isiolo and the region are waiting. Being in government, this should be easy now. People want the promised jobs, housing and an economy growing at 10 per cent and above.

But remember, priority must go to forming a functional coalition government. Reconstruction and resettlement of the displaced, along with national healing and integration, must take preference.

That doesn't give you an excuse to gloss over your promises till the next general elections. We wouldn't buy that and wouldn't forgive you for the lie. And again, continue going to churches and mosques on Sundays and Fridays respectively. Not to beaches, golf courses and clubs.

No, just like you did during the campaigns, we need you to continue to urge on the moral base of our country. You make a good example to the growing youth and even many adults in this country who wish to emulate you.

But, please avoid political bravado and instead, through example, preach love, unity and hard work. Don't flaunt consumerism and excess. Please cut down on your pomp and show all how to live in moderation, proud to live from resources honestly earned. That will last and help Kenya. And we shall support you if you get serious.

Mr Mwathane is a consultant in surveying and land information management.