Hustler Fund Meltdown: What are Gachagua and Ruto Afraid Of?

11 mins read

Stop discussing Hustler fund on TV, Gachagua tells critics

Ordering Kenyans not to talk about Hustler Fund on TV, DP Gachagua basically was telling Kenyans, “look, we are helping you poor broke folks, shut up and go buy and make mutura.”

I don’t know how much mutura Gachagua eats each day but someone should tell him that Shs. 1,000 may not be even enough to buy you a mutura meal. Leave alone helping you start and run a mutura business.

But that is the kind of rudeness you expect from billionaires who took endless amounts of money from the government claiming they will supply all sorts of things, then took the money to their banks and never supplied anything. Not even hot air.

Now they are in the courts for theft of public money and with big thieves in government now, all their theft cases are being withdrawn by the DPP. Gachagua is complaining that some people may not pay back the money because of bad advice.

Well, Mr. Gachagua you owe the Kenyan government more than Shs. 7 billion you collected to go supply things that you never supplied. When are you paying back the public money you have stolen from the government before you tell us how people getting Shs. 1,000 must pay pronto? Can you also pay what you owe the government? If you pay back the more than Shs. 7 billion you stole, it could provide loans for 1 million Kenyans.

I thought Hustler Fund was the greatest thing to happen in Kenya and people are thrilled with it. Why then are people being banned literally from talking about this great success?

Here is the order from Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua during the Environment and Land Courts 10th Conference at Pwani University, Kilifi on Thursday, December 1.

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has told off critics of the recently launched Hustler Fund.

Speaking on Saturday, the DP said those talking ill of the fund on TV stations should go to the ground to see the impact the fund is making.

He said the critics are rich and they can see the amounts being disbursed as little but it goes a long way in impacting lives at the grassroots.

“The people discussing Hustler Fund on TV, get out of there and come to the ground. A loan of Sh1,000 can change the life of youth here in Maragwa,” Gachagua said.

“Let the rich know that they might see Sh1,000 as little money but for someone who sells mutura, the money can give up to three days stock.

Here is the deal Mr. Gachagua.

I don’t know much about running a mutura business but I like eating mutura may be with Ugali or potatoes. So you go buy the mutura supplies with your Shs. 1,000 loan. You need a stoke to cook it. That costs more than Shs. 1,000 and you get something to roast the mutura in. Then you need fuel whether it is wood or charcoal. That too costs money.

That is not how people do start up in business. You are starting with nothing but your knowledge and skill to produce what you want to sell. So a start-up which is what the Hustler Fund is advertised to be you just don’t buy this or that supply. You build up a small infrastructure to get your business going. There is no single business in Kenya where you can set a start-up with Shs. 1,000. You guys probably don’t know that because your start-ups are in billions of free public money.

If I was to start a small business in my home town for example before the mutura, I would talk to a few friends so we set up a group that can start a small butchery in my hometown. The meat we eat there is often terrible and the places they sell the meat are even worse. Typical butchery in our small towns are pretty bad but we have no choice.

If anybody was to start a small clean butchery in my town where you just do one beef slaughtered per day and make the place clean and healthy, you will be doing roaring business and you will run out of stock before mid-day and off to go buy the next beef cattle.

One bull today for beef will cost you between Shs. 30,000 and Shs. 50,000. Then you set up a store and put in the equipment you need to cut meat and store it safely. So I would need about Shs. 150,000 to start something like that.

If I work smartly and do business the right way, I can repay all that loan in less than six months and will expand my business to two or three beef cattle per day without any more loans.

Then all those doing mutura in the market can come to me to get clean materials for their business. That is a business that can be set up in a matter of weeks and then expand it.

Giving people money to do business is a good idea but without proper planning and working with people on the ground instead of issuing directives and statements everyday it is going to be a huge flop.

Just promising people to just take the Shs. 1,000 and they will get Shs. 50,000 or 500,000 later will not help anybody start a business and the whole thing will go down in shambles within no time. Blaming other people will not help you and William Ruto. Plan what you are doing and do it right. Now it is show time, for pictures, and that is going to end very soon.

Then we have established businesses that need help to expand. My sister runs one such store. She took it from our mother and the municipality moved the market to a new open area and closed former market which is now a town green park.

At the new open area which is now a huge market the size of three football fields she has built her own store with many departments and also built a storage which she rents out to other traders. She employs a whole bunch of people in her stores.

If a person like that wanted to expand her business, employ more people and build stores, then that is the kind of person who needs Shs. 500,000 loan and there are so many such business people in Kenya who cannot expand their business. They operate in those open markets in the rural areas and in the big cities like Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu, and other towns. You can have a loaning program focused on that and do a whole lot of good things.

We need to fix these markets where the majority of Kenya’s small business is done and which supports the lives of millions of Kenyans.

The last thing I will mention here now that I am talking about open markets and those semi-built markets all over Kenya is for the national government to work with the counties to figure out how to expand, make them safe, bring the infrastructure for water and electricity and for the love of God put in place fire protection gear and fire fighting plans so they don’t get burnt to ashes every other day.

Just asking people to borrow money to run a business in a hell house called an open market is not very helpful.

Those traders cannot fix those markets and that should be a priority for any government that wants to promote small business expansion. Can the government develop those business places to provide the infrastructure to do good business there? Unless that is done, the rest of the campaign talk on Hustler Fund can continue for the next couple of years and will help nobody.

There are so many business opportunities in Kenya for low-income and small-time business people that can actually be built and I have talked about food production and what should be part of that project. But putting up a show and giving lectures daily and rubbing your own backs about how wonderful you think you are is not even close to what needs to be done.

This government will find that out pretty soon.

Adongo Ogony is a Kenyan Human Rights Activist and a Writer who lives in Toronto, Canada

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