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Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Kenyan Dream and Mwai Kibaki's Re-election

When we got our independence in 1963, there was something leaders of the time liked to call The Kenya Dream and what a wonderful dream that was. Modern day politicians also talk about it, the loudest being those in the Orange Democratic Movement. The Kenyan Dream was essentially a victory against Poverty, Ignorance and Disease. While I agree there is more to good leadership than a fight against these three evils, the success of such a fight can form a sound basis for assessment of any regime. It therefore makes sense to analyze how Kibaki fared in this front and whether his performance played a role in his re-election.

There is a very interesting statistic that I kept hearing when I was coming through (probably when in fifth standard in 1992); that 56% of Kenyans live below the poverty line. Politicians like to quote these statistics to advance their cause but the truth is that Kenya’s poverty index used to be 56% in the ‘90s. Kibaki took over when it was 50% and he finished his first term when it was 46%. That is not a too shabby performance over five years in my opinion.

You cannot talk about poverty eradication without looking at the state of the economy. Mwai Kibaki’s government oversaw a period of high economic growth. Of course there are those who believe otherwise, but then we can’t all agree on all things. Angola, Ethiopia and Mozambique are the only African countries that recorded higher growth rates than Kenya in 2006/2007. When one considers what the ‘growth’ was five years ago, they cannot fail to appreciate the gains. There is an argument that Kenyan latter day economists like to advance that the trickle down effect is just not there. Any Poverty report says that poverty has reduced in the last five years. What then exactly do they mean when they say the average person does not feel the economic gains? Where do the people of Kenya take the money they used to pay primary school Development levies with? If people used to ‘fund raise’ to erect classrooms and village dispensaries, where are they taking that money today? The CDF was a good idea and the fact that the economy can support that without a sweat is good news to everyone. If healthcare is cheaper than it was six years ago, doesn’t that mean the Kenyan people are either saving money or spending on stuff they used to live without? It is just plain dishonest for anybody to claim that the economic growth statistics are a fabrication. What that basically means is that the government has made some strides in the war against poverty.

The War against ignorance; Mwai Kibaki’s administration’s biggest success story is the free primary education. Bill Clinton said in 2003 his biggest wish was to meet Mwai Kibaki and thank him for making elementary school education accessible to every Kenyan child. Since the introduction of the free primary school education, school enrolment rates have shot up. Many children were being locked out of school due to the high fees. Today, Kenya boasts the oldest primary school pupil in the world. He had stayed out of school for almost a century and in my opinion, there is no better way of proving that you are fighting ignorance than having an 80 year old man enroll in class one. It has been argued that the quality of education has been compromised but to be fair everything comes with some side effects. Even so, the deterioration of standards is yet to be proved because performance in the national exams has continued to improve every year. The country’s literacy level as well as general education attainment is something we are all proud of.

The last aspect of the Kenyan Dream is victory over disease. When Mwai Kibaki’s government came to power in 2003, the HIV prevalence rate was 14.2%. It was 6.7% in 2004. 6.1% in 2005, 5.9% in 2006 and 5.1% in 2007. These figures were given by Alloys Orago, the Director of National Aids Control Council in August this year. It would be very selfish for the government to claim solo credit for this decline, but no one can rule out their role either. The fact that HIV/AIDS victims can access ARVs at no cost in public hospitals is one of the biggest reasons for the decline. Healthcare is less costly than it was six years ago. The general health of Kenyans is better and that is why we are talking about a life expectancy of 55 up from 49. That means we are not doing badly in that front either.

I know that some of these statistics may not make sense to a lot of people, but honestly how else would you assess the country’s situation without looking at them? These were noble goals that our founding politicians set and Kibaki should be rightly proud for being in charge at a time when all indicators show a favorable trend. Americans did not think very highly of President Bill Clinton, but when they looked at statistics on unemployment rate, inflation, economic wellbeing, home ownership, and welfare roles, they started seriously considering him as one of the country’s five best presidents ever. When we ask ourselves what it is we expect a president to do, we will agree that it is to provide leadership on things that matter to the governed. When you report to a right thinking Kenyan that there is better business environment, there is more money in circulation which they can get if they work hard, healthcare is better accessible and more affordable and that their children are better educated than they were six years ago, you will definitely see them smile.

There are other areas of governance that must be assessed before passing a verdict on Kibaki’s regime. These include expansion of the democratic space to allow people of normal intelligence like Najib Balala to make fun of the president and his family. There are other things like his wife’s attempt at intimidating the press, the failure by his government to midwife the writing and adoption of a new constitutional dispensation acceptable to a majority of the people of Kenya and his war against corruption and insecurity. His performance in some of these aspects of governance was ‘outstanding’, ‘average’ on others and ‘outright failure’ in others.

After considering all these, I think it’s fair to give the president a general score of 6.5/10. That in my opinion is a score that merits some reward. It is not too bad if you ask me and I am sure some people considered some of these things when casting their vote.

“The World is full of willing people; some willing to work and others willing to let them.”

50 comments:

deroo said...

Good One Vikii, beer on me! Ambia waiter. Can you make it louder please?

-Derek-

Anonymous said...

Points well taken, but Michuki has in effect nullified any good work Kibaki may have done. It is like the 5 years never happened!

Anonymous said...

Nice. However, all that statistic jumble is failing to penetrate my brain due to the fact that the democratic system has been peed on

deroo said...

KIbaki did a good job. All we want him to do now is to make it even better. We can have a GNU if Raila accepts a post in the government. We dont want Ruto and Mudavadi. Soon, they will be in the courts and will be taking trips to kamiti and from Kamiti every morning and evening.

I think now, it shows that there is someone in charge.

Kazi inaendelea Vikii...

-Derek-

Pea said...

Umm... sweetheart... any score Kibaki would have gotten has been erased and taken to a big, fat ZERO by the past few days.

dezee said...

anaweza @ 11.39

that is exactly what i am saying. history tells us the path kibaki and co chose to take automatically elicits particular reactions! it is not about what raila or ruto do now believe you me! that sense of 'oneness' that bound people together-however weak it was- has been broken to be replaced by 'them and us' attitude and feelings of persecution and second class citizenry. that is something any sane kenya will feel regardless of what the pentagon do.

let them go and arrest them. it's just plain silly in this day and age. the cold war ended long time ago (not that i expect the michukis to recognize the relevance of that). no western government is going to prop them up. so we will to deal with this internally- the only way that is possible with them taking advantage of their control of agencies of violence and the citizens reacting. people here were talking of bloodshed should we go to uhuru park. well-kibaki has just sanctioned it with these arrests.

anaweza said...

As I read this, I had the same feelings that I had when I watched Kibaki's swearing-in on KBC online. I had the image of band that kept playing as the Titanic sunk.

dezee said...

derek, your stupid infantile ramblings can only be coming from an uninsightful moron who is living abroad-BY DEFAULT- and who- if karma was fair, should now be in kenya to witness/experience first hand the mess the misguided and selfish tribal arrogance haboured by your likes has thrust kenya into. hope you're very proud of yourself fella

Sam Okello said...

What's up Vikii,

Nice try. But that stuff can wait until our democratic rights are restored. You may wanna come to Uhuru Park tomorrow to see what brave Kenyans can accomplish. Bwana Kibaki badly misjudged Kenyans.

Mgash said...

We need people like Victor in this country. Kibaki's record is unmatched and his good work must continue whoever the president will be.
Raila needs to show direction as a leader and make a decision that will put the interests of the Kenya people first. We all know what he needs to do.
It is not the time to look onto the past. Our economy is like a train engine. We are all in the train. If we stop working in that engine for a moment; we will have to start all over again. We need competent leaders to show us direction and an election that ushers democracy. People have exercised their right to vote and some have shed blood in the process. We do not need to play a blame game nor run negative campaigns to oust Kibaki or swear in Raila.
If people need an audit of the votes it will be done but it cannot be allowed to interfere with our moving engine. Business as usual, and let democracy prevail.

Ramashadand said...

Pls confirm arrest...not just rumors...okay

deroo said...

Kazi inaendelea...

4.5 million Kenyans cannot be wrong. Mwai Kibaki, the Better Option. Did the same happen in America where they had to wait for Florida polls (our Florida was Nithi) and it won the elections.

Five More Years. Inaendelea...

Anonymous said...

Ramashadand, with the media black out that old guard Michuki imposed on us, rumours will surely feel the vacuum.

Pea said...

Deroo, have you no idea about the rigging that goes on in America? We are not America! And Mwai Kibaki is not Kenya. Bado mapambano.

Sam Okello said...

Deroo,

If Mwai Kibaki is the better option, God help us all.

ati what said...

There is a group of people who I wish I could transport over to my cousins house in Nairobi. Her, and family, are bila maji and dish and cannot risk going out obviously BECAUSE OF THE UNREST DUE TO THE FACT THAT KAZI IENDELE AND FRIENDS TAMPRERED WITH DEMOCRACY.I know many feel my rage and frustration

A kikuyu and a kenyan said...

We need peace at this time or unrest. Kenya has been heading in the right directions. Setting a GREAT example for our neighboring countries. 5% growth and a growing economy. We currently have free primary education for ALL and soon to have free high school/secondary school.From a macro level, the past 5 years Kibaki has been in power, we have seen tremendous advances. I can only hope that we continue in this path instead of dividing the nation along tribal lines. For ODM, if dissatisfied with the current results, their is a judicial system in place to address those issues. Kenyans don't need to spill any more blood due to power hungry officials. That said, I can only pray for peaceful and quick resolve for our country in addressing this issues.--A Kenyan who sees beyond ethnic lines (though born a Kikuyu)

Mgash said...

Well, most Kenyans agree that If Raila was to hold a parallel government; they will not forgive him for the bloodshed.
Raila needs to respect the will of the people and conceded defeat at no costs. Any matters should be handled through the avenues outlined.
However, as i stated, if 4million voters are not satisfied with the outcome of this election, a full audit of the 210 constituencies will need to be carried out to bestow peace and order.

MR RAILA HAS THE POWER TO URGE FOR CALM AMONGST HIS SUPPORTERS OTHERWISE THEY WILL NEVER FORGIVE HIM IF HE DECIDES TO TAKE SUCH A DIRE ROUTE.

KUMEKUCHA SHOULD POST POSITIVE BLOGS THAT DO NOT PLACE THE BLAME ONTO ANYONE OR ESCALTE THE ALREADY DIRE SITUATION. We understand your concerns KUMEKUCHA but this is not the time.

Anonymous said...

I am trying to understand those who keep talking about the economy and the 5% growth (OT: but why is this considered the height of success?)

The events of the last few days have ensured that the economy will grind to a halt if something is not done to relieve the pressure cooker situation.

Do those talking about the economic growth really believe that anyone is going to invest in Kenya under the current unstable political environment (This political instability will not end even if ODM pursues redress in parliament and the judiciary)?

What foreign governments will do business with Kibaki when they have acknowledged that there were irregularities in the process and there is a question as to his legitimacy?

Anonymous said...

Hey a Kikuyu and a Kenyan listen: For all its attraction, you can keep the free primary education, the 5% you are talking about though my mom hasn't felt any and all others but I just wanna have my voice back. That is more important than all that, get it?

dezee said...

mgash@ 12.07 check that out

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/30/world/africa/30cnd-kenya.html?_r=1&ref=africa&oref=slogin


democracy? only when definided within the narrow/nefarious confines of a thoughtless tribalist mind. the rest of the world sees it otherwise and are calling it what it is-RIGGING- even when some -like the u.s ambassador would have been compelled to use diplomatic language.

and for the umpteenth time old boy. hakuna kazi itaendelea. not even the KAZI BURE of before. this time. we're gonna fight each other for a very very long time bro. and your myopic mind can't see that hence your senseless gloating. please yourself little man.

Anonymous said...

Democracy first everything else secondary. No dictatorships please

anaweza said...

sorry, the comment at 12:30PM was me.

Anonymous said...

Vikii, you can talk up Kibaki's 'achievements' all you like, you are not going to spin him out of shitting on our democratic right. Kenya CHOSE Raila for its 4th president NOT Kibaki. Kibaki has forced himself on us.

The world has condemned Kibaki's re-election, his swearing -in has been farcical and now we have something approaching a state of emergency in the country, and you dare talk achievements? Shame on you!

Vikii said...

Anonymous you are entitled to your little opinion. Kenyans CHOSE Kibaki and I am shocked you are not aware.

Proud Kikuyu Woman said...

Lets make this clear. Some Kenyans chose Kibaki, some other Kenyans chose Raila. Apparently, more Kenyans wanted Kibaki than wanted Raila. I wonder if we knew what we were signing up for when we asked for democracy? That even if the margin is 1, that is democracy. Maybe we need an alternative school of thought like MOU? it worked on '02.

Proud Kikuyu Woman said...

Some even chose Stevo, Muiru, Matiba, Nazlin and all those presidential candicates that fade in the light of Raila vs Kibaki.

Anonymous said...

proud kikuyu woman where are you from? I am just asking

Proud Kikuyu Woman said...

Where do I come from? That depends. As a Christian, I'm originally from the Garden of Aden. As a Kikuyu, I'm from a place called Mukurwe wa Gathanga in modern day Murang'a where Ngai placed our father Gikuyu and our mother Mumbi. Science puts my origin somewhere in Kenya around L. kariandusi and the Ol Duvai Gorge. Suit yourself!

A Kikuyu and a Kenyan-- said...

"Anonymous" I was rather conservative on my numbers. The most accurate number reflect a 6.1% growth rate vs the conservative estimate I pointed out earlier of 5%. Source
http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2962.htm

First, I think we can all agree that not "everyone" can say that they have "felt" that growth rate BUT the truth of that matter is, our currency has valued greatly in the past couple of years as compared to previous years, we have better roads, free elementary school education, less (and I qualify the term "LESS") corruption AND we are less dependent on foreign aid. Seconly and I think more importantly, we have foreign investors interested in conducting business with Kenya. A good example is Vodafone (Safaricom's parent company). There are countless examples to list-- but to answer your question, you mom HAS felt more than just 1 of the benefits of having strong leadership this past 5 year.

Anonymous said...

just curious. I am intigued by your comments and was just curious about your background. No pan intended

anaweza said...

A flawed process no matter the result will always raise a question as to the validity of those same results. The process must be transparent.

Why was the ECK unwilling / unable to recount all the results for each constituency one by one on national TV - show each of the tally sheets and have the returning officers publicly affirm that these were the true results. This was all it would have taken to validate the results before all. Instead they was a furtive announcement to one broadcaster and a secret swearing in ceremony.

After living through the Moi years where such happenings occurred, do you not see why people are questioning the results?

Vikii said...

Anaweza if your memory serves you right, u will admit that Martha Wangari Karua asked for just that yesterday. She said if the results in Nithi are to be counterchecked, then the same thing should happen to all 210 constituencies because they also have their questions about some constituencies in Nyanza. And do you know what Ruto said? A BIG NO!

A Kikuyu and a Kenya said...

Anonymous- My background is as follows Kenya born : Pumwani Hospital. Education:Roysambu nursery schoo, Aga Khan Primary Nairobi, and attended a highschool in Nyeri.
Undergrad and grad school:A university in California

Anonymous said...

Neat. I say yes to more smart and educated women as yourself. Women have a huge part to play especially in rural areas where they may not be heard as much. I was raised by a smart single mother and thus take admiration in such

anaweza said...

Vikii:

This is not a question of what Ruto or Martha Karua said or did. They are irrelevant. They do not have the legal authority that the ECK and the government did to ensure a transparent and free elections.

The ECK met overnight to review the results of all the constituencies, why not do that in public? The situation begun to deteriorate in Saturday, why the continued secrecy after that? What could have better alleviated public unrest and disquiet by reviewing the results publicly.

Compare this to the 2002 election where results were broadcast in a very transparent manner. Those of us abroad were able to go online and get results from constituencies as they were completed and see these results validated by the ECK. That was not the case this time.

Vikii said...

You want to know why they counted 'in secrecy'? Because the masters of violece led by Ruto were heckling them!

Proud Kikuyu Woman said...

I've not said anything in favour of the PNU win. I'm however concerned that anyone could never possibly recount ballots with ODM guys literally taking the ECK chair. At the press conference, Raila talked of the Nairobi ballots being recounted (which by the way, may give PNU the seats it rightfully WON), not the whole country. But if that resolves the deadlock, I say why not.

Hey, no one here is talking about ODM aspirants running away with ballot boxes, the killing APs and chasing away PNU agents in ODM strong holds, why? Could it be because its not convenient. Kweli nyani haoni kundule?

Mdawida said...

Proud Kikuyu Woman,

Wakati huu ni wa kuomboleza wazazi, ndugu, dada na watoto walio umia, na kuuwawa katika ghasia zilizo tokea nchi nzima. Ni vigumu nyani aone kundule.

anaweza said...

I am not for ODM or PNU, but their claims and counter claims all give rise to the impression that all was not well in the vote counting.

I am for having a process that an unbiased observer can say with confidence was free and fair. If that requires that all votes be recounted then so be it. That should have been done and done on camera so all could have faith in the system. As things stand, I have no idea where the rumours begin and the truth ends. The responsibility for ensuring a free and fair process was up to the ECK and in my opinion they have failed.

The secret announcement and swearing in only served to reinforce the impression that all was not well and the results are not legitimate. That too is the failing of the ECK and the government authorities.

Hellen Okello said...

PKW, the agents in ODM strongholds were APs.

Mdawida said...

The people's choice no matter from what side of the political divide do not deserve to be crowned accompanied by bloodshed. Before the coronation or after! APs are humans first, Kenyans second, next they choose thier professions. No one has to die for that. PNU/ODM/ODM-K or any of the securtity agents for that matter! Am not taking sides, just believe we need to inherit a peaceful country if not for us, for our children.

Anonymous said...

hii maneno ni bure kabisa. i cant imagine being in kibera right now. Good bless all my brothers and sister out there.think about the children

Anonymous said...

Mungu atawalinda. Kesho it will be sawa. It happens in other parts of the world when an election is disputed.... Kesho, GSU will pay a visit to Kibera and the small probe;lms will be sorted out....

Mwangi said...

Needless to say, the guy was moving in the right path, and at one point, he may have been justified to toss the MoU (with expalnation to the people)if it was going to undermine results. But now we know that was not the case. I now see his manipulative, greed and insecure nature. This was a desparate man that had to win, planned to win the election to prove a point. Let all be honest, Raila humbly agree to work with Kibaki and even endorsed in the "Kibaki Tosha" famous line. Kibaki's manipulation is clear in the way he use the the likes of Michukis, Mois, Nyakiamos, Kivuiti's, Moodys etc to get what he wants. For example, why pressure ECK to accept flawed and rigged votes which has been clearly witness by ECK and observers. During Moi, the poor just did not go to school, miss meals a day, so literary 5% growth (of few $1 a day they can) is putting them back to be able to have a daily meal. Honesty I hate to see Kenyans suffer under these hyenas - the government. The real question about economy should not be that the government provide but the government contribute to the environment. The fact that they can now go to primary school, or have health facilities - that is a basic right, any government responsibility. I think, the most effective economic growth should be people driven, maybe through a Microecomy structure and the government should be a facilator of this process not a director provider. Yes, there are loan, but who will ger the loans - those with title deeds. Still meeting the slogan the rich becoming rich and poor becoming poor. This 5% growth is mostly reflective in the Urban not rural. I do have a Kikuyu and do not live in Kenya, but feel betrayed by dictatorial approach to issue as elections. Kenya should move to issue politics and Kibaki should allowds the young turks with different to bring changes to country. Kibaki was my hero when he was approachable and worked with Raila in last election to move Moi, now that he professional rigged the elections, manipulated ECK and joined forces with Moi, he is not my hero. He should be no kikuyu hero, because, he is tribal, vicious and senseless - even the observer know that the guy rigged. No kenyan deserve to be manipulated and lied upon.

Anonymous said...

It is about anti-corruption fight ...stupid! The corrupt guys will rather have Kenya lose the economic growth and international standing than be in jail.
As I write this many innocent lives and hard earned property are being lost in the rural Rift Valley and other parts while the Kibaki and his allies prepare to enjoy the powers of state. This is not right! He should talk to the opposition or else many people will lose their lives and property and this will lead to many dire consequences never seen before due to ripple effect and cause- reaction scenarios. Guns cannot pacify a people who think that votes were topped up to ensure legitimacy of a preferd canditate!
God bless our country and save us from self-destruction!
Bwana Kibaki show us the democracy we fought for.You cannot wish this away sir!

TR said...

PKW

As I recall, all that ODM and many others wanted was that the results before they are announced are certified. The reason for this is simple, once announcements are made, they automatically become official. Orengo, Kwach, Ruto and Nyaga among others appeared to heckle the ECK to get their attention to prevent announcing of fraudulent results. Now that is behind us.

Going ahead, all level headed people should be thinking about healing. There are a lot of disatisfied people out there. At this point in time talking about economic growth etc is irrelevant and borders on insensitivity to the feelings of a lot of people. Kibaki in the last few days had an opportunity to become a hero by simply appearing before a press conference and stating that because of the doubts expressed that he would like the ECK to do everything in its power to verify the results so that all Kenyas feel that they have not been cheated. If at the end of this process he emerged the winner, he would have won a lot more Kenyans even those that did not vote for him. Politics are all about perception. By going the way he did he has placed before himself a very difficult task that I doubt he is capable of performing. Kenyas after this election are more divided than ever. Will he be able to unite us? I highly doubt it.

Anonymous said...

The day Kenyan people will wake up one morning and think they are Kenyans, will be the day they will start thinking what neo-colonialsm is doing in Kenya at the moment.
As my friend from the Caribbean told me, black people suffers from the effects of slavery, colonialism and it high time "21st century" that we address this issues and stop thinking Jaluo, Kikuyu, Kalenjin, Kamba, Kisii the list goes on to Ibo`s and Zulus etc.
Election only took a day, and the stupidness of uneducated in Kenya sorry to say and Intelectuals abroad have been compromised by two people. Kibaki and Raila "millionaires" They are now spilling poor peoples blood for their own selfihness, greed and power hunger. What do you think they want to accomplish? Protect their ill gotten wealth some of which have been stashed in foreign banks (safe deposits) while poor Kibera voters slaughter one another and others in Eldoret and nyanza burn their loved neighbours houses because they are from different tribes. And as we speak, kibaki and Raila are tossing champagne and shouting loud "cheers". They all go to bed together. These guys are crooks, i quote John Kerry when Bush was declared the USA President the second time. After rigging Florida votes where his brother was Governor.

KENYANS, I PLEAD WITH YOU. LET US WORK, STUDY AND GO BACK TO KENYA AND DEVELOP OUR NATION. KIBAKI IS 76 YRS come on, RAILA 62 YEARS hihi getting there, PLEASE GIVE ME A BREAK. These people have never experienced poverty and the people dying are hardly 30 years. ARE WE BUILDING OR DESTROYING OUR FUTURE?
These guys are senile, and the reason i`m saying that is because of the lifestyle they had. Ordinary Kenyans should come together as brothers and sisters and oust these guys out of the way and take charge of our country.

Anthony said...

At last something positive on Kumekucha What happened?????

Anonymous said...

You are spot on giving
Kibaki 6.5/10

I'll finsh the report card

Moi 2.5/10 - He left kenya a worse place than he found it and robbed an entire generation of its future over a 24 year period. That is why the youth are so angry although they do not know; they think it is about elections.

Kenyatta 5.5/10 - He left kenya in better shape than he found it and was okay but had a tendancy to eliminate people he thought had insulted him.

Colonial 4.0/10 - also left kenya in better shape than they found it but treated most kenyans as third class citizens in an apartheid style state.

SO Kibaki while not perfect is the best governor since Kenya was invented in 1888. It takes more than 5 years to undo MOI's 24 year misrule.

For a perfect government you will have to wait for the second comming as is promised in the bible and only if you recieve christ.

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