President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto suffer from a fierce urgency to impress.
Combined with urgency, the Kenyatta administration projects a modernist posture, post-ethnic tech-driven governance aspiration.
In Uhurutoland, public service’s singular problem is pesky inefficiency that can be addressed through a combination of technology, corporate like efficiency using big data and technology.
After slightly being in office for over a year, this anti- political machine is confronting myriad problems, some expected, some self inflicted. This is coupled with the President and his deputy slowly becoming captive of their election-image campaign management zeal. They forgot you campaign in poetry and govern in process. And it is taking longer for them to break from their bubble.
The Anti-politics Machine.
There is a facile belief that ‘politics’ is ‘bad’ and ‘development’ is ‘good. This false, neat and simplified dichotomy creates a wall between development and politics. But such a division will inevitably lead to no development and no politics.
The two leaders who formed a counter-intuitive coalition were elected on the crest of fierce anti-ICC rhetoric, corporate efficiency, and transformational agendas, and they seem gratuitously determined in proving their critics wrong.
The more they strive to prove others wrong, the more they indulge in poor judgment.
And in the process they are eating the goodwill that brought them to power.
Many reckon Moi was an incurable political animal. He never let an opportunity to play politics. However, Kibaki was loath to play politics and he was more focused on development. Kenyatta was seen as continuation of Kibaki, but with a sharp corporate edge.
But corporate-fication of Kenya has done little to stem some of the myriad immediate challenges. Instead it has exacerbated them.
Wage bill debate The much-vaunted economic recovery has hit a dead end.
The cost of living has spiraled out of control. Run away insecurity has become the new normal. And slowly, it seems the center cannot hold anymore. The recent wage bill a symptom of a government that doesn’t have its hand on the pulse of people.
The mild support for the president, his deputy and cabinet secretaries elicited mild support. Many read it as yet another PR stunt. Simplify a complex problem into a bumper sticker news bite that is slowly emerging to be the default setting of this administration.
A more nuanced reading of the announcement is this a pre-emptive plea of failure to govern properly, and a harbinger for retrenchment of public service. Kenyatta will be well advised not to retrench civil service because the scars of Leakey led retrenchment have not healed yet.