SULEKA HARUN: Why Ruto deserves time to sort economic mess he inherited
Regardless of who was going to take the leadership of the country after Uhuru, radical measures needed to be employed to turn around the economic situation.
• It takes years of sleepless nights, policy shifts and changes, loans restructuring, among other strategic measures to get a collapsed economy up and running.
As Kenya was heading into the August 2022 general elections, one thing stood out as the campaigns picked momentum – the cost of living.
All presidential aspirants agreed on one universal challenge the country was facing and that was a dilapidated economy.
Regardless of who was going to take the leadership of the country after retired President Uhuru Kenyatta, radical measures needed to be employed to turn around the economic situation of the country.
President William Ruto and Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua have time and again reiterated that fixing the economy is their top most priority. The situation would be the same had former Prime Minister Raila Odinga become President.
It takes years to rebuild a broken economy. It takes years of sleepless nights, policy shifts and changes, loans restructuring, among other strategic measures to get a collapsed economy up and running. It will take many more years before things get back to normal and better.
There is a lot of noise coming from the Opposition side led by Mr Odinga. These noises are out to distract President Ruto and his administration from implementing policies aimed at fixing the economy and ensuring stability in the country.
This is despite President Ruto asking for time to deliver to the people of Kenya, the promises he made to them during the campaign period.
Kenya Kwanza presented its manifesto to Kenyans “The Plan”. As a legislator who subscribes to the same, our plan is sufficient and will be a game changer to the lives of Kenyans once fully executed.
Some of the things already implemented from the plan have begun bearing fruit. The Hustler Fund is helping young people start businesses to empower themselves and their peers and this is barely a year into initiation. I can only imagine what it will look like in the next four years.
The President promised to do things differently and he started by scrapping all subsidies on consumption, channeling most of it into food production and as we speak, farmers receive fertilizer at subsidized prices.
In fact the cost of a bag of fertilizer is currently three times less than it cost during the former regime and while previously farmers harvested about 44 million bags of maize a year, that is expected to rise to an excess of 60 million bags this year.
With time, this will only increase and things will get better.
Azimio resorted to anti-government protests to get the attention of President Ruto, which they now have. They, however, should be reminded that protests will not lower the cost of living, which forms the centre of the Opposition protests.
Each time Kenyans take to the streets demonstrating, businesses suffer the most and thus the economy gets hurt.
This will never be the way to cure a country in an economic crisis. The cure to the high cost of living is the Finance Act, 2023 that Azimio has been calling for a repeal of.
While they look at a few aspects of the Act, there are many aspects that protect the Hustler. The increased taxes are set to cushion the government against external borrowing, which is what led the country’s economy to near death. In the next two years, all debt will be paid and Kenya will be self-reliant at best.
President Ruto has been courteous enough to hold talks with the opposition and they should thus make the most of what is open for discussion instead of making any further demands. Every elected President has five years to deliver on the promises made to Kenyans, and President William Ruto deserves the same.