A lot has been said about the elections to be held tomorrow. From the spin machine of the two main contenders (CORD and Jubilee), to the incessant coverage emanating from a plethora of analysts. Most politicians especially in Kenya are known to be masters of spin or just blatant liars, I really do not expect much from their padded manifestos and all the hot air blabbering through their rallies. We are used to them.
The analysts nonetheless make an interesting lot. From self proclaimed â€œpolitical analystsâ€ mainly stemming from what seems to be failed intellectuals who canâ€™t even grasp the basics of statistics and probability, to itinerant expat analysts claiming to be experts on risk, economics, security and a whole list of hogwash. You canâ€™t just parachute into Nairobi and check in to a nice cushy hotel, attend a few press conferences and think that you know it all. There are others whoâ€™ve made Kenya their home and have been welcomed with open arms, so why are you being so negative and yet youâ€™re still in Kenya, after all logic will dictate that if you knew that things will be really bad, youâ€™d have packed up by now.
Iâ€™ll not even waste time debunking what has been said. However allow me to express what has not been said. Last I checked the NSE-20 Index (Kenyaâ€™s main stock indice) was +9.13% year to date and+35.48% year to year. Apart from the currency shock mid last year, Kenyaâ€™s foreign exchange rates have been relatively stable, we have had consistent positive GDP growth over the last 10 years between 0.8â€“7%which is no mean feat considering that market conditions have been pretty choppy due to some gluttons living beyond their means.
The middle class has expanded, infrastructure has improved drastically, telecommunication advances both in policy and market conditions have propelled Kenyan media and its democracy to new heights. Seemingly Kenya leads the way in this â€œmobile moneyâ€ craze. About 30% of Kenyaâ€™s GDP is moved around by a couple million SMS messages, apparently even PayPal is at awe and Western Union is stupefied by these numbers. But hey, thatâ€™s no major feat after all weâ€™re just a bunch of Kenyans right?
President Kibaki achieved quite a bit over the last 10 years, he also messed up, but Kenya today is self reliant. Infrastructure projects dreamed in the years of yonder seem to be taking shape, slowly but surely. And for a developing country not endowed with mineral resources hitting consistent growth numbers without heavy doses of foreign aid or strangulation by IMF or World Bank loans, now thatâ€™s â€œkicking assâ€.
Now all this negative vibe about who said what and which community seems to be arming and machinating and so on and so forth as if Kenyaâ€™s government and security infrastructure is null and void. I mean in 2007/08 we messed up big time and we still are yet to solve cyclical rashes of election related violence. However having grown up in Kenya during Moiâ€™s era and being a first hand witness of the 2007/08 crisis, levels of optimism have not been as high as they are today. All it takes is a walk through Nairobi or any other major town/city and talking to the common man or woman, most if not all will tell you that we have learnt our lessons from 2007/08.
Tribalism and ethnicity still is an issue, however when you talk about it, do mention its pre-1963 origins and orchestrations and also do mention that although not an everyday occurrence, Kenyans have demonstrated that they can look beyond their tribal allegiances. Just follow #KoT whenever there is a major athletics grand prix or 7â€™s rugby game and enjoy the obsessive nationalism.
Now apparently there are 17.38 million Kenyans connected to the internet. Seriously people, you think these 17.38 million data crunchers are just a bunch of slackers? Yes weâ€™re probably going to elect the same bunch hoodlums back into government (judging from the polls) but society is becoming more enlightened, more aware and more accountability is being demanded. The couch surfers may not entirely swing the vote this time around but trust me in 2018 real stuff is going to happen when a whole generation of political figures will be wiped out through the ballot. Why? Because weâ€™ll peacefully learn from our mistakes in 2013.
Save yourself some bytes and forget about putting in that â€œkillerâ€ by-line for the post election coverage in Kenya. Weâ€™re going to go through this process in peace and as one country. And while youâ€™re at it also poke fingers on the non ICC signatory telling Kenyans what to do while theyâ€™re illegally trafficking people across the globe and flying drones to kill scores without trial all under the banner of national security.
Oh on the ICC coalition, last I checked we are supposed to be a democracy and in the unfortunate event that they do get elected, weâ€™ll deal with it in one-way or another. Come what may, we are the only ones that can solve our problems and the solution does not lie with the West choosing one hoodlum over the other but with Kenyans taking charge of their destiny and taking an active role in the political process. Whatever you will be doing remember to keep the peace!