Kenya has been economically riding a dead horse for years now. Its rickety bones may move and creak under the weight of the riders but a dead horse won’t move an inch let alone deliver the goods on its back to the market.
Studies by economists on budget deficit and investment nexus in developing countries have identified that budget deficit has negative impact on investment and growth. (1) This is an economic consensus backed by vast scientific data. This negative impact is compounded by blatant misuse and ravaging cancer, corruption, that fuels the direct plunder of not only home grown but also borrowed public resources. The cost of projects balloons and costs the taxpayer ten-fold the sustainable and realistic price tag.
The government and its advisors may, quite rightfully, sell as a dream of an economy that is constantly growing but all that will fall on deaf ears of mwananchi who is confronted by drying taps and tits every day. What is the point of having a cow that fattens by the day yet its udder dries by the hour? What will a growing economy mean to the mwananchi if more investors close shops and more arable land is left idle by the frustrated investors and disillusioned farmers respectively? Nothing!
In Kenya, the few that have learnt the ropes have perfected the art of drilling holes on the side of the communal tank to quench their thirst and some more while the feeble poor wait in tatters by the tap! As citizens of a democratic nation we believe in the systems of our government. The mwananchi dutifully scavenge the barren rocks, wrestle with green branches and collect the firewood to keep the national flames burning in order to produce the steam to turn the turbines of development. Wanjiku has never faltered to do her duty, come rain, come sunshine.
However, it would be obnoxious and futile to claim the thin and meek efforts of the mwananchi will build a nation from the ground up. The government has to top Wanjiku’s taxes with capital borrowed from those economies already on their feet so as to garner the muscle power needed to catapult its own economy. That makes an economic sense. But, it is a reality that only works if the muscle has the tendons and bones to enable it to contract and stretch.
Borrowing only makes sense if the funds are used for the targeted purpose in the economy and that the framework and structures of the economy in question are not only intact but well oiled to move with ease.
Unfortunately, Kenya’s is an economy where the very backbone, the agriculture industry, has been broken by the subsequent governments’ busy borrowing billions to help spur the economic growth. The Irony of dying of hunger while eating rich and wide because the cancer within is busy grabbing anything you throw in.
The subsequent regimes have not neglected it but some powerful individuals from within and without have deliberately dismantled the fabric of Kenya’s agricultural powerhouse and its impedimenta, the cooperatives of respective crops, in order to further self gain. This indeed is an insult to the very idea of developing as a nation.
Ideally economies borrow to get the capital to keep the vital components of the economy going while simultaneously the infrastructure to enable rapid and extensive delivery of the products to markets, domestic and international. But, ideal is not in the vocabulary of most developing economies, more so the African economies. Budget deficit that results from borrowing deepens as the borrowed money is wasted on luxury for the state officers at the expense of crops and Jua Kali industry die of thirst.
In the light of all that is happening, something has to give: Kenyan mwananchi have to wisen up and cease being complacent in the plunder of our mother or those trusted with the high offices will have to betray their insatiable stomachs to fulfill their promises to not only the common mwananchi but to the future generations as well. But, if we maintain our complacency and cheer on the flogging of the dead horse that is our economy then it takes no naysayers to tell us how bleak our future as nation gets by the hour.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Marsabit Time’s editorial policy.