In Summary

  • He summarised our challenges and aspirations and spoke of accountability, development, security, integrity and the need to rationalise public expenditure
  • The President highlighted measures taken by the government in the last four years to improve internal security
  • The interesting part is that devolution was not the real culprit

This week has been action-packed! In three days, we had four huge headlines.

Doctors went back to work after almost three months of deadlock and failed negotiations.

Tanzania’s President threw tantrums that scared the hell out of investors doing serious work for our neighbour.

Somali piracy has reawakened with the capturing of a Sri Lankan oil tanker off the coast of Somalia.

The radical anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim Dutch far-right PVV party, headed by Geert Wilders, was defeated by the VVD centre-right party, led by incumbent Prime Minister Mark Rutte. Rutte’s party will form Netherland’s new government.

We do not live in a bubble. All these issues will affect our future directly or indirectly, but the most relevant episode happened right here, in Nairobi, at Parliament, where the President gave a very interesting State of the Nation address.

The President’s speech was seamless. He summarised our challenges and aspirations and spoke of accountability, development, security, integrity and the need to rationalise public expenditure.

RULE OF LAW

The President was right to reaffirm his commitment to the rule of law and the need for a conducive environment for business and investment.

The rule of law and sustainable security walk hand in hand. Without the rule of law, security is reduced to fear and repression, which is not sustainable.

Security is one of the greatest threats to stability in our region. The inflow of illegal small arms and light weapons in Kenya is a big threat.

The President highlighted measures taken by the government in the last four years to improve internal security.  The ratio of police officer per person, he said improved from 1: 800 to 1:380.

These improvements have been tarnished by the alarming number of extra-judicial killings in the past two years. It gives the impression of a police force on the rampage, where extreme corruption has developed into uncontrollable anarchy.

TRIGGER FACTORS

Kenya is deeply engaged in the fight against terrorism, and the peace processes in South Sudan and Somalia. The government also enhanced counter-terrorism efforts to prevent radicalisation and dismantle terrorism operations, with more or less success.

The government’s efforts include increase of security personnel, adequate training, enhanced surveillance along the border and co-operation with foreign law enforcement agencies.

The President appreciated the lawlessness and violence in several parts of the country such as Laikipia and the orth Rift and assured us that measures would be put in place to curtail the violence.

He warned politicians who may be inciting the violence. He noted that inter-communal conflicts and criminal activities such as banditry, poaching, drugs and human trafficking was flagged as a menace to grapple with.

On this issue, the President limited his speech to the use of disciplined forces to maintain peace and security, but force alone is not sustainable. Any lasting solution will need to consider the root causes of violence and the trigger factors.

Certainly, as the President said, efforts to lower crime levels have been in place for the last four years through a multi-agency approach to security matters and public safety measures.

UNFORGETTABLE HERO

“The revival of industries like Pan Paper Mills in Webuye, Rift Valley Textiles Company in Eldoret, the re- establishment of new motor vehicle assembly lines by Volkswagen, Peugeot and Toyota demonstrate that we are on our way,” the President said.

The geographical conditions of Kenya are ideal for us to become a leading investment destination in the world, and a large-scale manufacturing nation. For this dream to come to life, we need to deal with corruption.

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