In Summary
  • Political stability that is driven by narrow self-interests, such as political expediency, often leads to the rise of corrupt regimes.
  • Sycophancy has become deeply embedded, even pervasive, in our body politic, especially when respected lawyers and opposition legislators like James Orengo and Amollo Otiende speak.

Political stability is a key determinant of economic growth and poverty alleviation.

Sustained stability supports local business, savings and investment even as it attracts foreign capital.

But political instability — the likelihood of a government to collapse due to conflicts or rampant competition between the various political parties — is deemed bad for everyone.

It is for this reason that many view favourably the surprise March 2018 rapprochement between President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Premier Raila Odinga.

Eighteen months later, hard-nosed evidence seekers should, perhaps, tell us if the ‘handshake’-induced calm has been beneficial.

Have core economic indicators — GDP, saving rate, trade, FDI inflows — meaningfully improved?

IMPEDIMENT

While it’s good the political temperature has been lowered, it would be better to show, even as we await the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report, how this is helping to address known weaknesses in governance.

Paradoxically, stability is not always a good thing; it can create complacency, stymie change, impede innovation and eliminate competition.

Some regimes have used stability to erect barriers to freedom of expression and association. They have curtailed press and religious freedoms and restricted access to social media and to the internet.

Indeed, political stability that is driven by narrow self-interests, such as political expediency, often leads to the rise of corrupt regimes.

Such governments ultimately become intolerant to criticism, abuse their powers and soon replace vibrant democratic discourse with political sycophancy.

WATCHDOGS

Since the ‘handshake’, President Kenyatta has received endorsement and support from every known stakeholder group that often challenges the State.

The labour movement, under the likes of Wilson Sossion and Francis Atwoli, advance political and state interests more than workers’ rights.

The diplomatic corps no longer point out questionable and corrupt government projects. Journalists and the entire ‘Fourth Estate’ are extra-careful with their reportage.

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