Coastweek -- This
is the final week of the year two thousand and eighteen and it’s
been the usual topsy turvy Kenya,
writes TETI KAMUGUNDA.
We have had some
highlights that have held their position throughout the year and
others have come and gone without leaving a lasting mark – (…yet
After the tensions
and tumult of the prior year where the election was the main
matter on peoples’ minds, the year started with most Kenyans on
tenterhooks as the threat of secession and the continuation of
the violence and loss of life that characterised the election
period would continue into the year.
This event marked
the thawing of the tensions and a new collabo and co-op between
the two key protagonists during the prior election period.
It was at first
greeted with a lukewarm reception as the traditional politicos
tried to work out what the effect of the “handshake” would be.
They were all
worried about what they would be left looking after and also
whether their political situation would change or be under
The situation has
The two so called
principals have maintained that the handshake was meant to
return some sanity to the country and work as a catalyst for
continually said that it was not a political pact but the wary
and sceptical Kenyans continue to think that there must be some
other ulterior motive that will manifest itself in the future.
Instead of focusing
on the negatives and trying to fathom some kind of political
intrigue, the political class should settle on using the
opportunity presented by this political calm to speed up
development activities at whatever level they operate at.
My view is that
because the two principals are in synch and the message is clear
– Big Four Agenda is the headlines for the President and changes
in the representation and the electoral system is key for the
former Prime Minister.
The handshake was on
the basis that the two leaders did not really have different and
priorities – they were not a divergent view on the same issue or
The noise, for the
last nearly nine months, from the event has been mainly on the
However, now that
the agenda is clear, the actions are known and the actors are
getting into place, the focus is shifting onto the
constitutional changes required.
Tampering with the
Constitution or the laws of Kenya is a delicate activity and
requires political astuteness and a strong consensus building
This is probably
where the handshake will be subject to the sternest test.
This is what we
consider will be the big political focus in twenty nineteen.
The other highlight
of the year as far roads are concerned is the announced return
to the Michuki Rules.
Whilst the welcome
the return of the Rules and the implementation has started in
earnest, our prayer for twenty nineteen is that the starting
momentum be maintained and we start working on the more basic
and slightly more difficult mindset change amongst the public
service providers a whose current behaviour is uncouth at the
They are the thought
leaders as far as roads are concerned and we insist that they
should be the first to be steered in the right direction –
The other highlight
in the year is the robust action that is being taken against the
typical impunity we have seen in the government and its agencies
as well as parastatals.
The sterling work
that the Directorate of Criminal Investigation as well as the
Director of Public Prosecution is beginning to get results even
as they hit the usual headwinds of smart lawyers and heavily
monied actors in the sector who have in the past believed that
they can buy “justice” and get their cases compromised.
That era is coming
to end and we wish that in twenty nineteen they will have the
backing to continue as they have stated that they intend to.
The last highlight
we would like to put on the table which is especially pertinent
to the Coats, is the fact that the number of charters have gone
up. In principle, the number of charters should equal the number
of arrivals that have come to Mombasa.
This increase in
numbers should translate – hopefully - into additional and badly
needed bed nights
The main lowlight of
the year has been the sluggish economy. The GDP of the country
has been literally flat for a few years with a drop that
happened due to the election uncertainties.
indicators point to an economy that will only marginally improve
in twenty nineteen.
As the President
gets us to lay the foundation of the Big Four agenda we should
work diligently to ensure that it is done at the best cost to
the country without the added high cost of corruption.
So, for the old
year, a good start to the many things that we hope will mature
in twenty nineteen.
They year has not
seen big results but has laid a solid foundation for a lot of
We are looking
forward to the New Year and wish that the efforts that have been
started should continue in earnest.
Clean out the
transport sector, get corruption in a stranglehold and stop its
We also wish that
corruption will be driven out of the way we work and the work
started will be strengthened.
We also wish that
the road building and maintenance programme that has been on
going will be accelerated to catch up with the backlog that was
created in the last twenty or so years.
us all have a Merry Christmas and Prosperous New Year
It will also mark a
year in which one of the icons of the coastal scene will take a
It has been
privileged for me to have been with allowed to speak through
Coastweek for the many years it has been in existence.
More importantly it
has been really great having the many of you that have been
faithful to this publication which has graced the tables and
minds of many at the Coast.
As Kachumbari says,
from the ashes a Phoenix will rise!
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