Friday, June 12, 2009
Uhuru’s Star Performer with Majimbo Budget
Uhuru’s delivery of his debut budget speech was marvelous. Short on jargon and long on freebies to everybody from alcohol to mitumba dealers. And his fellow MPs aptly rewarded him with thunderous applause. Jomo Junior’s delivery was superb and betrayed the hitherto so-called professions before him.
But there ends the party. Those old enough to have had their ears assaulted before with tough empty talk by Kenyan politicians know better. With all eyes on 2012, UK knew even better. With his populist constituency conditional stimulus plan, he hoped to bag allies in advance, delivery notwithstanding.
The majimbo budget was cleverly crafted to soothe national egos. Nyachae played to a full gallery before with his austerity measures that never took flight from his lips.
All the talk about localized package to pay for construction of roads, building fresh produce markets and fishponds and also enable a number of Kenyans living in far-flung areas access quality education is sweet music. Experience will drain you on any trace of optimism in walking the talk. Not being an alarmist nor a doomsayer but reality is never pleasant.
With no institutional reforms, all the good promises will only be selfishly implemented to serve partisan interests. Ask any government insider and s/he tell you that the so-called freeze on civil service recruitment only exists on paper. Finance and Education ministries are constantly hiring the RIGHT people. No prizes for guessing the fate of Sh1.3 billion set aside for teacher recruitment albeit with some token exceptions to create a false impression of objectivity.
All the buzz about devolved budget is great. But don’t be fooled. With no firm institutions to monitor implementation, the smart looters are simply creating disguised avenues to milk us dry. The fine print will lead you to modernized faceless Anglo Leasing-like schemes.
So UK scored highly on delivery. But only the mentally timid can start ululating hoping for commensurate action. Well, mirages keep caravans hopeful amidst sand dunes and scorching heat.
For those in search of evangelist missions, it never hurts to occasionally have your ego boosted oblivious of the painful disappointment thereafter. Welcome to Kenyan political theatre of scoundrels.