TIGHT RACE OR OBVIOUS CHOICE?
By Mike. M. Boy
The 2022 general election is just but days away, and Kenyans will have the last say on who they would like to steer this country forward. Both sides have exuded confidence that they will emerge winners in the 1st round of this national exercise.
With polls, predicting a tight race one may be tempted to think that there is little ideological difference between the front runners, with the Rt. Hon. Raila Amollo Odinga and Hon. Martha Wangari Karua on one side and Deputy president Dr. William Ruto and Hon. Rigathi Gachagua on the other.
From prior experience, Kenyans associate politicians with lush promises during the campaign period and lacklustre delivery once in office. In light of this, both the Azimio and Kenya Kwanza teams have made great efforts to distance themselves from the failings of the current regime as the cost of living soars, drawing the irk of Kenyans across the country.
If Kenyans, as many have expressed, are fed up with political rhetoric and promises, then they will have to make their decisions based on the character and previous actions of the leading contenders.
In this regard, we’ll look at the leading contenders, and the positions they took at some pivotal moments in the growth of this country, in terms of democratic space, economic growth, development and social justice.
The difference here is as broad as day and night. While the Azimio-OKA team of Right Hon. Raila Amollo Odinga and his running mate have always been pro-democracy, ranging from the push for a multi-party democracy to the push for a new constitution.
Kenya Kwanza’s William Ruto and Rigathi Gachagua have been wielded in the state’s pushing back against these in their roles as the ruling parties biggest weapons as youth wing YK92’s rising star, student leader William Ruto and as part of the mighty Provincial administration D.O. Rigathi Gachagua.
Economic growth, Infrastructure and Development
The Azimio-OKA duo have had their biggest political roles in both of Mwai Kibaki’s terms as president. This is largely considered the period of Kenya’s highest economic growth with the GDP growing from 0.6% in 2002 to an average of 5.6% over his 10-year tenure.
The Kibaki regime is also credited with initiating developments fit for purpose and that delivered value for the corresponding costs.
The digitization of gov’t services and the laying of ICT infrastructure like the Fibre Optic Cable also find their roots and origins in this regime with The Right Hon. Raila Amollo Odinga served as the Co-Principle in the Grand Coalition Government with him as the Country’s Prime Minister.
Many will remember the Rt. Hon. Raila Amollo Odinga’s role as Minister for Roads in the construction of the by-pass roads to ease congestion in the Capital.
Martha Karua is also credited with taking on cartels in the Ministry of water which resulted in the regional water boards were established under her stewardship.
The Kenya Kwanza team have enjoyed the biggest roles in their present roles with William Ruto the Deputy President and Rigathi Gachagua as MP thereby representing both Jubilee government’s Executive arm and Jubilee government’s tyranny of numbers in parliament that has helped in pushing the Jubilee government’s agenda.
The Jubilee government has not showered itself in glory as most of its infrastructure projects are considered to have been overinflated and not responsive to the current needs.
Projects that have faced the heaviest criticism include the SGR project and the Expressway project. We’ll leave the verdict on Jubilee’s performance in terms of economic growth to the reader.
A look at the political journey of the Azimio team versus the Kenya Kwanza team draws a simple conclusion. There is little more than the Right Hon. Raila Amollo Odinga and Hon. Martha Karua can do to endear themselves to the electorate.
The same, however, cannot be said of the Deputy president Dr. William Ruto and Hon. Rigathi Gachagua as their history leaves a lot to be desired.
In all fairness though, as the Deputy President recently said during the Presidential debate, it is only fools who don’t change their minds.
The question the voter needs to ask themselves is simple. Do you believe he who has stood by you in words and deeds or do you believe that he who has been against you has now seen the light? Who do you believe and why? Remember actions are louder than words!