I’m always an optimist but realistic and prudent in approach. Based on the history of the world one discovers that advancement in technology and science plus human society developments culturally, economically and politically have had a lot changes over time. It is more rapid nowadays as science and technology are changing many of our interactions and engagements as well as wellbeing or lack of it very fast. This shows that God endowment to human has given unlimited potential only subject to him. So informed by history and knowledge about human potential I remain optimistic about Kenya in 2018. As we start off the year 2018, it is with knowledge it is also a roll-over of the success attained so far and challenges that we carry over from 2017. So it is optimism with caution and prudence.
To begin with the short rains that fall around October to December have been insufficient in most parts of the country this year .So we have a food problem at hand already. Moreover, we have our usual politics (divisive and tribal) to deal with. In addition the many other problems that include unemployment, corruption, indiscipline in many places as part of our negative habits, some neighbouring countries problems, global trade issues, trade imbalance and so on are still there to be dealt with. We have systems to reforms that include education and several others. But there is hope. We do know we have all these problems and we have to confront them anyway.
Where do we begin? There are many areas to begin and all are urgent. But looking at the weather it is evident that global warming is here with us. Despite many denials in some quarters in the globe, climate change is real. Those who have studied weather patterns over time can tell that there have been tremendous changes over time. The frequency of droughts in countries like Kenya has intensified unlike before. The usually cooler parts of the world especially north of the tropics are becoming warmer. I should know as I have day work to do with renewable energy, environmental conservation, biotechnology and technology generally, that afford opportunities to interact and learn from diverse minds and knowledge. So food security should be among the top priorities to tackle in 2018. Rain feed agriculture is evidently not sufficient to feed a growing population like in Kenya and many parts of the world. With almost failed short rains at the last quarter of 2017, we certainly have work to do especially to cater for the vulnerable in many places in the country.
There are many areas needing a lot of attention. Top among these include reforms in education sector, security, job creation, more infrastructure development, political and legal reforms but in a democratically progressive way, taming the evils of corruption and tribalism, progressive tax reforms to widen the net but allow economic and business growth, creation of a more business friendly environment, building regional and continental trade, fixing our exports as we are doing far below capacity, reforming the energy sector and especially making electricity cheaper etc. As population grows rapidly we need to be thinking far ahead. The growth of urban and now even rural slums should alarm us. The unemployment crisis is a harbinger to more evils in the country and we should tame this in good time by building opportunities for direct employment and self-employment and that inevitably means more economic and political reforms. There are sectors and industries which given re-invention can create massive absorption of labour – top among them include manufacturing and tourism. Certainly a lot of reforms are needed in agriculture and several other sectors and industries.
We start off in 2018 as a heavily politically divided country and we need to create avenues for building consensus. We should be alive that another round of divisive campaigns in near future is not far-fetched and this only destroys the nation further. In 2018, Presidential succession will be in top gear and political and capital holder’s players will be in top gear to position for 2022. This creates more room for aggressive politics and all manner of schemes. What to do? Never to give up. Great nations grow through a lot of difficulties. The problems we have are not so unique and even if they were, as human we have the minds to build solutions for them. So, I’m optimistic we can make a better future for Kenya and her people in 2018. There is a lot of hope. Politically we have to fix quite a lot. Economically there are many opportunities to tap and make some reforms. Socially we have a lot that can work for us. Technologically, we like many other nations of the world are facing a revolution in that will change the political, economic and social landscape while evening the world and creating opportunities in any corner of the world. As global citizens we have so much to hope and go for.
Harrison Mwirigi Ikunda
The Writer is a Researcher, Consultant, Chairman Consumer Downtown Association (CDA) and providing Leadership in Several Renewable Energy and Biotechnology Organisations based in and Outside Kenya.