“At times in the course of our daily political endeavors, it becomes necessary for political rivals to abandon the ideologies that alienated them and to recognize that human lives are paramount and greater than the separation. A decent reverence to the opinions they hold requires that they should put on hold the beliefs that impelled them to the separation and join together to earnestly, continue collectively, serving mankind”. Arch Dr. D.K. Gitau
DIASPORA NATIONAL ASSEMBLY PRESS RELEASE # 25 OF 12TH April 12, 2020
The founding father of the Kenyan Nation, the late enigmatic Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, cleverly told Kenyans who believed that life in the City was better than in the villages, to shun that line of thinking and go back to their farms and work hard. (Mzee akasema rudi mashambani, hakuna cha bule). That was the simple catchphrase he would constantly repeat in public meetings and the same, had a lot of useful message as he was trying to make Kenyans to be able to lead a sustainable life without too much relying on the Government.
Many that heeded his call, later benefited and became useful citizens that found a long lasting solution to their families basic needs. That was the clarion call when the nation was young but the wise old man, was in a way avoiding creating a dependent society.
Today in Kenya, we now have a major never-ending poverty crisis that will further be aggravated to high proportions by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Diaspora National Assembly (DNA) has outlined some of the measures that the Government need to urgently take to alleviate the likelihood of creating a crippled dependent society.
Kenyan leaders and charitable organizations should think beyond their assumed one day feeding small miracles, as they are not enough to offer a long-lasting solution to the eminent prolonged hunger facing many in Kenya. They should further plan on how to make the poor population to feed itself after the epidemic and to continue doing so always. The same should also extend to the Diaspora as there are people that will be rendered homeless by the pandemic if it has not happened already. There are Diaspora people facing uncertainty in China and elsewhere and those are the areas they should also focus on.
SUGGESTED PLAN OF ACTION
1). The Poverty reduction strategy, The economic recovery for wealth creation and The Vision 2030 are some of the many papers that contain proposals targeting the productivity and performance of Kenyan industries but piled with dust waiting for implementation.
The Vision 2030 objective is to develop a diversified and competitive manufacturing sector. Now is the time to diversify the EPZs and SPZs.
2). The NSSF should be actively working and using the Huduma numbers to be able to give assistance packages to Kenyans so that instead of donations that are lumpsum and only for a while, there is regular payments to provide security throughout to those in need.
3. The Diaspora ministry is long overdue, to assist Kenyans in the Diaspora in times of strife and crisis such as the current pandemic..the ministry would be able to coordinate between Embassies which work independently of each other…. as to serve all Kenyans effectively…will be the much needed voice for the Kenyan in the Diaspora. The Diaspora National Assembly has outlined measures on how to solve the Diaspora crisis and the same can only be done if there is a full Diaspora Ministry to handle crisis that affect those in the Diaspora.
4.Kenya needs to invest greatly in training and retaining healthcare workers if the devolved healthcare system is to be successful. All the County hospitals can and should be adequately equipped to be able to handle any type of disaster, however that would be pointless without specific training e.g. I.C.U. staff.
5) Government to give incentive to the informal sector as evidence by the rate at which the locals: individuals and factories are coming up with, producing and creating items like sanitizers, masks, ventilators to fight the COVID-19. That shows that Kenya has the capacity to have a sustainable manufacturing sector that can further create more jobs. That is the sector the Government can concentrate to protect and ensure that they are not overshadowed by the big manufacturing foreign companies. Kenya has alot of skills and brains that need to be fully utilized as evidence by gadgets that came up to fight corona virus and the same were locally made as trial even at village level.
6) Kenya should focus on expanding industry capabilities. We saw the case of the factory in Kitui (Gov. Ngilu’s area) that embarked on mass face masks production to cover the demand.
Beyond this pandemic, we know masks are still needed in hospitals & other places, so let’s now become self reliant & produce them locally. Improve that factory’s capability to make their product competitive on a global scale.
We also saw our university students make ventilators, do the same to those as well. Learning from the response we’ve seen so far, we have something concrete to build on.
7) The agricultural production can also be increased as we still have vast un-utilized Government land that now need to be allocated to especially poor people living in slums to change their lifestyle and be able to sustain themselves food-wise . The Nyayo tea zones are such and areas bordering existing forests and natural reserves can be utilized without interfering much with the ecosystem.
SUMMARY AND OTHER IMPORTANT HIGLIGHTS.
Our young Kenyans are deprived of their potential by an Education system that only concentrates on preparing students for desk jobs.
The Jua Kali sector and Kenya Industrial Estates ( KIE) needs to be revived. We need to support vocational training centers as Kenya is growing in very many ways. Houses are going up everywhere in Kenya. Sometimes it’s hard to locate a plumber or an electrician who is not from Kenya power.
We need to encourage students to take up engineering as it’s a field that’s also paying off. There are many skillful Kenyans out there and they just need proper training so that Kenya can increase production.
We need to encourage large scale farming instead of farmers selling off their lands to builders. You can’t invent anything on an empty stomach or be hustling everyday just to eat. When the stomach is full, the mind is sharp and ready to work. Why Kenyans starve today is just beyond puzzling because there’s enough land for farming. There’s no need of importing food because most of imported foods can be grown locally.
We need to solve the water mystery in Kenya for both farming and personal use. We have good rains a few times a year and these rains become a death trap rather than a blessing. The same can be retained in form of dams and our young well trained Kenyans are more than capable of coming up with ways of trapping these free waters from Mother Nature. There’s no need of cartels making money by selling water.
The Government need to approve water catchments to be built. Simple strategies can be applied in all areas of development if we want Kenya to continue becoming efficient and able to increase production.
Resources and access to government tenders available to cartels only need to be made stiffer and transparent for Kenyans to thrive.
With the above few remarks, we are anticipating that the Government will come up with proper measures to offer a long lasting program to tackle the three tenets that the founding fathers pledged Kenyans to eradicate viz: Poverty, Ignorance and Diseases and not forgetting the unforeseen EVIL that later emerged and still is an enemy of development,… “CORRUPTION”.
Yes it’s time now to give hope to our future generations
Hope to be able to face any unforeseen pandemic and overcome it.
Hope to solve any difficulties no matter how monstrous.
Hope for a better tomorrow free from dependency.
The BOLDNESS to HOPE.
Yes we can! We fail because we do not try!
Arch Dr. D.K. GITAU
Diaspora National Assembly