A Redirection of Priorities

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During the campaign period of 2013 elections, the jubilee government had a grand list of things it would do for Kenyans and most were basic sing song of every soon to be elected leader. Roads, Housing, Medical care, Stadia and justice were among the top in the list. Seven years down the line, we are faced with Covid-19 pandemic and the number of those infected keep rising. As Kenyans, we are getting worried about the government’s measures to curb the surge.

The recent implemented curfew and lockdown have not done much against the pandemic and the government is between a rock and a hard place on how to keep its citizens safe while at the same time dealing with the socioeconomic impact of the pandemic. Resources allocated to development projects and other activities have had to be diverted towards the pandemic, stretching the government further.

Corona virus which requires a high level of tidiness does not play out well with our country’s level of hygiene and sanitation.

The outskirts of Nairobi, whose living standards aren’t conducive for a healthy living with rise of sub urban low grade housing known as slums are a ticking time bomb should local infections get there. These slums like Kibera and Dandora hosts thousands of closely clustered poor housing, drainage and sanitation systems which may not be effective in combating this pandemic.

In this crisis the Kenyan government has had to come face to face with its inability to implement working policies that benefit Kenyans. Most Kenyans have informal sector jobs and depend on political goodwill to carry out their businesses and investments which came to a stop when Corona struck. Now, some of these people who were and are still not financially secure to fend for the themselves, depend on the government for relief food and money for upkeep. The government should have initially invested in the informal sector to empower them enough to create employment and reduce the populations in slums and poorly housed projects.

The government should also focus on improving water access, drainage and sanitary services. They should come up with a plan to ensure housing projects meet a set standard of cleanliness when it comes to drainage and sanitation infrastructure. If at all it’s possible, they should do away with slums and any form of degenerate housing; a process which takes time but a worthy cause in the long run. Such poor living conditions, toppled with Kenyan’s tendency to flout rules is a recipe for disaster. We have been conditioned to live and find ways to go around set guidelines and feel heroic about it.

Food and water are the reasons Kenyans discard rules. The government now and in the future should work tirelessly to ensure that cartels do not hinder these basic needs from their intended subjects or we will pay a higher price than we are now.

Kenya’s health sector has always been in a tug of war with the government since the beginning of time. Salaries, medical supplies and equipment and shortage of workers have been the main cause of disruptions to healthcare delivery to Kenyans. The government always falls short of addressing these issues and now it has come up again. The rising cases could mean that the current medical staff will be overworked, because the government didn’t have a solid working plan to provide medical care for Kenyans.

The jubilee government has less than two years before the next general election. Now would be a good time to work on the list which they wowed us with at the beginning of their campaign. Internal struggles led the party to divert their attention from the bigger picture. Kenyans were not getting the services they deserved under the notion that the Building Bridges Initiative ( BBI) was going to help give better services to the local mwanachi. It didn’t take a genius to know it was all a front for power play between government and the opposition. Most elected leaders in government now have been in power for at least 15 years, so why would they need a document to help them navigate providing services for their people?

(Article by Ian Macharia. His email; [email protected])

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