President Mwai Kibaki flanked by PM Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga, VP Hon. Kalonzo Musyoka and Minister for Planning Hon. Wycliffe Oparanya unveils the Vision 2030 Logo after he officially launched the vision and its First Medium Term plan at KICC, Nairobi.
Government of Kenya launches the most ambitious development plan since independence
The Kenya Vision 2030 has finally been launched after the successful harmonization of the 2007 pre-election manifestos of ODM, PNU and ODM-K, which are the three main political parties forming the grand coalition government. The vision is planned to be implemented via 5 year medium-term rolling plans that will run concurrently with electoral cycle, and the first phase starts from June 2008 to 2012.
According to an upbeat Planning Minister - Wycliffe Oparanya - the government plans to invest a staggering Kshs1.6 trillion (approx. US$25.2 billion) over the next five years so as to transform Kenya into a middle-income earner in the next 22 years. In other words, Kenya wants to play in the same league as the famed Asian ‘tigers’ – all very laudable.
Information released yesterday indicate that Vision 2030 development plan is based on what the government calls three "pillars" namely; economic, social and political pillars. I must admit however, I have not exhaustively read the full version but sneak previews reveal that:
The ECONOMIC PILLAR aims at providing prosperity of all Kenyans by the year 2030. In conservative terms, and this is the target government has given itself, Kenya must achieve a GDP growth rate of 10% per annum for the next 25 years beginning next year! Bearing in mind that the growth rate for the last five years was somewhere between 2% to 6% (and these are Kimunya’s figures), and that even the current rate is expected to reverse back to 4% as effects of the post election skirmishes sink in, is a 10% growth rate really feasible within the next financial year? Unlikely I say, and even if Kenya achieves this, is it sustainable?
The SOCIAL PILLAR seeks to build “a just and cohesive society with social equity in a clean and secure environment” whereas the POLITICAL PILLAR aims at “realising a democratic political system founded on issue-based politics that respects the rule of law, and protects the rights and freedoms of every individual in the Kenyan society” – again all very laudable...... after all this is what ODM has been trying to teach PNU ever since the NARC/LDP days when they were busy hatching anglo-leasing deals!
Even to the most optimistic Kenyan, it is hard to imagine that Kenya as a country will actually raise the prerequisite investment, maintain political stability and achieve national cohesion all of which are required to pave the roadmap to the year 2030. And why not, one may ask?
Well, for a country led by such self serving politicians who are also anti-reform, this plan is already doomed even before it starts. It is obvious even to a casual observer that the GCG is teetering at the edge of breaking down. Just two days ago, senior ODM member and cabinet minister called a press conference in the company of Spokesman Salim Lone and warned the PNU partner to ‘tread carefully’.
Before Ntimama’s warning could be digested, the bitterly contested parliamentary by-elections in five constituencies were already scheduled and are underway as I type these lines. The very strange coincidence here is that ODM lost two of those seats in the most violent manner earlier this year. These murders are still unresolved! The third had to be annulled when ODM was in the lead and a hired mob barricaded the counting hall while the fourth, in one of the strangest coincident and in what should be the world’s first, was called a ‘tie’ when the ECK announced the elections results. Only the fifth was voluntarily given up by ODM. As if this is not enough, two ODM members died yesterday in a yet to be explained aircraft accident. What is so wrong about being an ODM MP? Are they ‘marked’ men and women or these deaths are mere coincidences? My take is that 10% economic growth rate and foreign direct investment running into billions of dollars hardly ever comes when only ODM MPs are dying like flies. What’s your take?
On top of this political minefield, even the minister Oparanya conceded, Kenya has still to overcome humongous challenges such as high unemployment, widespread poverty, gross inequalities in income distribution and development disparities in different regions of the country and gender inequalities. One wonders whether ODM (then LDP) was talking to walls during the initial years of the NARC regime because these are the same issues that have always been highlighted on the national agenda, and are the force behind calls for a peoples’ driven reform process!
It has taken a bungled election, over a thousand five hundred deaths and massive displacements to harmonize these manifestos. Hopefully this time, ODM (Chungwa Moja Maisha Bora) is in partnership with reasonable gentlemen!