Rieko Mwenyewe gives his personal take on where Kenya is just over a year since President William Ruto took office…
1. Hustler National Fund
As was promised during the election period, the President H.E. William Samoe Arap Ruto introduced the Hustler Fund with a provision of 50Billion Kenya Shillings. Many citizens have benefitted from this generous action and are now enjoying the product in starting various projects. Many have returned the money and continued to obtain loans as and when practical. It is true that many have also defaulted from repaying their loan. At least this is one promise which President Ruto has achieved one year in office.
2. Provision of Subsidised Farm Inputs
The other project which President has succeeded in offering the people of Kenya, with particular reference to farmers and agricultural products within areas where farming is paramount, is the provision of subsidised farm inputs including fertilizers which reduced the cost of fertilizer from 7,000/- to 3,500/- in the first year and subsequently to 2,500/- currently. This, of course, will only benefit people if rainfall is maintained at an optimum rate, and only in areas where farmers are found. This project is a plus to the President in line with his, and UDA’s portfolio and manifesto as clearly stated during the campaign period.
3. The Disdain of Opposition Demonstrations
As the President was going around the country promoting his good start of managing the country, the opposition was not content with the status quo coupled with the refusal by the opposition leader, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, together with his supporters, to acknowledge that the UDA through President Ruto had squarely and legally worn the August 2022 General Elections. Rampant demonstrations took place across many parts of the Country, especially in Kisumu, Homabay, Migori, Kakamega and Kisii which caused immense damage which eventually culminated in the government agreeing with the opposition to form the National Bipartisan Dialogue Committee.
4.The National Dialogue Committee
The formation of the National Dialogue Committee was set to look into the following salient issues:
1. The formation of the post of Prime Cabinet Secretary as was proposed by the President;
2. The formation of the Office of the Leader of Position with complete Office Structure and Necessary Appliances;
3. The inclusion in the Consititution of Kenya Act not less than one-third of each gender as was set by the Constitution of Kenya Amendment Act 2010;
4. The formation of balanced membership of Electoral Commission Kenya Selection Panel to include all interested parties;
5. The consideration of working on the minimum of cost of living to ensure that the the price of unga, mafuta, electricity and transportation are lowered to a reasonable rate for the people of Kenya, most of whom are low income earners;
6. The opening of the Election Server to Audit the correctness of 9th August 2022 General Elections;
7. Other necessary issues beneficial to Kenya Citizens.
The National Dialogue Committee has worked on most of these issues but the opposition are not confident that their ideas will be included in the final draft to be taken to the August House. They are threatening to shoot down the report if the last demands are not included in the final report.
6. The Mood of the Citizens
Going by the trend of the activities of the people, particularly after the escalation of prices of most commodities such as the identity cards, birth certificates, passports and marriage certificates which appeared in the Kenya Gazette recently, the people are not amused. If something drastic is not taken to normalise these, the Country may erupt into even worse demonstrations as witnessed earlier.
H.E. President William Samoe Arap Ruto must take charge of the economic and tax regulatory problems in Kenya now to avoid the negative mood of the people of Kenya.