In one month since assuming the presidency of Kenya, William Ruto has visited the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Tanzania while Kenyans are waiting for any indication that the man and his UDA team have any hope of fulfilling the myriad promises he made in the last five years of his campaign.
Remember 100 days promises were screaming about – Unga prices down, cheap fertilizer, fuel down, boda boda and mama mboga roaring into new heights of economic development. Zero, zero, and zero in that department. Just move the 100 days solutions to 1,000 days (three years) and that will be election time again and more 100 days promises would be handy once again.
On Tuesday, Azimio leaders told Kenyans that the prices of fuel are going up and up and there is no end in sight with the Ruto regime.
In Tanzania, Ruto began his address by thanking the hosts after which the translator, far from where Ruto was standing, immediately began repeating his first sentence in Swahili.
Ruto looking across the room towards the translator, in visible astonishment, told the guy: “I don’t think it’s necessary to translate, kuna mtu haelewi kiingereza hapa? Wananchi?”
“Nitarudia mimi, wachana nayo. Wewe utanichanganya zaidi. Pole!” said Ruto.
The biggest translator William Ruto needs now is someone who can translate to Kenyans why and how he has tanked on all his promises and there is no sign his government even has a clue as to what they are doing or intend to do to solve the problems that Kenyans face.
The first translation is about the prices of basic commodities.
I can help Ruto with that and he doesn’t have to pay me. In fact, he does not even have to buy me an air ticket to fly from Toronto where I live to come to Nairobi and do the marathon explanation.
Maybe Ruto can give me some free land for the work but I checked with my sisters and they told me my land in Kenya is still intact and needs to be developed and they told me to put some effort into that.
So I am offering free help for Ruto here. Bwana Mkubwa, you have no control over the prices of basic commodities because your government produces none of those. You cannot control the price of something you do not produce. That is economics 101 even from the streets.
In other words, I will tell Ruto the high prices are here to stay until we figure out our production system, and what we can manage, and then provide incentives for Kenyans to produce those products in a more affordable way.
There are so many ways of doing that but I don’t think Ruto and his people will even comprehend such things. I am going to try anyways for the sake of my fellow citizens.
For example, small-scale farming that has provided food for our populations for generations has collapsed. My grandmother and even my mother never knew something called a grocery shop. Their little farms outside their homes were their grocery shops and those farms provided everything from grains, vegetables, fruits, milk, cassava (better than bread), potatoes, carrots, sikuma wiki, kitungu and they reared chicken, goats, and sheep there. Does anybody think people like that would be starving?
Today everything is from the grocery store and if you don’t have money to buy from there, you are starving with your family and there is not a damn thing any president can do for you until those basics are addressed and they are easy to fix. Anybody telling you otherwise is lying to you.
The way to fix this is to start with the land ownership system in rural areas everywhere in Kenya. Many Kenyan farmers and peasants have land mostly their ancestral land but the big problem is they have no title deeds for the land they own.
James Orengo did a good job when he was the minister of land in the first Kibaki government 2002 -2007 and they have very well-built and equipped Ardhi Houses everywhere including my hometown of Bondo.
In 2007 my whole family went to the Ardhi House to ask for the Title Deed for our family land which is very near to the Ardhi House itself. We got the Title Deed. Then asked for a surveyor from that office to come to our 8-acre property in Bondo Municipality, measure it and give us the exact boundaries. They did that and put the marks which we used to fence the land and now it is very safe for all the investments we are putting there. Without those basics that land does not belong to you.
We are one of the few 1% of the local population there and probably across the country who have their Title Deeds fixed and can use their land whichever way they want. How about doing this for all Kenyans by this new government? Let Kenyans have genuine and legal ownership of their land and then we can figure out the best ways to use such land for the development of the country.
Let’s use the local example and explain what can be done with our lands to feed ourselves and develop the country.
For Kenyans to use their pieces of land effectively, they need proper water systems, using small rivers, building water dams (by the government), good soil management techniques, crop planning and management (often done by the ministry of agriculture), storage facilities for harvested crops, marketing for their produce and all-round sound farming techniques, programs and funding. When will that ever come to Kenya?
And this is just A of going from A to Z. Long journey, right? Ruto is not walking that journey with you and Kenyans know that already.
The biggest translation William Ruto needs to provide to his hustler followers is that the grand plan to wealth for the mama mbogas and boda bodas is to invest in the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE) and then bingo you are floating in money.
I have no idea how this lady is going to make big money on the NSE but that is the plan their president has for them. Good luck with that.
That is beyond my pay scale to explain so I will live that to the Linturis, Moses Kurias, and others to explain to Kenyans. How the heck did Bottoms up end up at the NSE?
William Ruto advised Mama Mbogas, Boda Boda Operators to buy Shares on NSE: “It’s Possible”
President William Ruto noted the stock market had the potential to help the country raise development capital through the bond market.
“I look forward to many Kenyans buying, selling and growing their wealth using NSE. I also look forward to the time when a boda boda guy or a mama mboga will trade on their phone as he or she awaits the next customer instead of betting. It’s possible.
I will leave Ruto to explain his NSE grand plan to the mama mbogas and other market traders and jua kalis. However, I will say this to the Kenyan traders in the local markets who actually sustain our economy in real terms:
I will start with the market trading centers all over the country. They are terrible and every single one of them is a fire hazard and a disease den.
Kenyans love their big open markets. Gikomba in Nairobi, Mwembe Tayari in Mombasa, Kibuye Market, Chiro Mbero and so many others.
Kenyans know and love their big markets because you can buy anything from there like foodstuff and cooked food, clothes, all types of groceries, timber and furniture, and everything else under the sun. Every one of those places is a fire hazard waiting to happen and they are riddled with all sorts of problems in terms of security, health, endless thieving landlords, and all that.
One of the most encouraging things about these big markets run by Kenyans is that the folks there are not just selling stuff, they produce a lot of things. They make bread from their bread factories there. They produce very sophisticated food products and body soaps, lotions, and other necessary body care products for Kenyan women.
There are whole industries there and the Kenya government needs to give them the infrastructure to grow their businesses and produce products even for export. They have the expertise and the market. We have to help them.
Can the Ruto government at least fix these markets and trading places starting by first having firefighters and fire control in each one of them? Help build safe storage facilities there. Streamline landlord ownership and make the markets available for ownership by Kenyans who trade and work there instead of landlords in their Karen homes.
Ruto promised to nationalize the Gikomba market. When is that happening? Never. These big landlords who own the market are in his government.
But can President Ruto at least fix Gikomba and other markets all over the country where Kenyans work and keep everybody else alive before we move these Kenyans to the Nairobi Stock Exchange on their way New York Stock Exchange?
There are actually real and effective things the Kenyan government can do to improve the lives of Kenyans but such leaders have to be awake to such realities. The present leadership has no such clue and now all they are telling Kenyans are “OK God put us in government and now you have to wait for God to help you”. The last time I checked, God was not on the ballot box in Kenya. Maybe I am wrong.
Here is my quick and ready-to-go advice for Ruto and it is about his favourite promise and talking point. Ruto promised Kenyans he will set up the Hustler Fund for struggling Kenyans to get money and loans to start projects. This is very easy to do.
He needs to tell Kenyans that there are a lot of political thieves sitting on billions belonging to Kenyans. Collect that money and hand it directly to the Hustler Fund. Ruto can promise Kenyans that as soon as he collects the Shs 200 million already taken out of DP Gachagua’s mountain of stolen money it will be handed over directly to the Hustler Fund with no strings attached.
Ruto’s other friend Waititu is sitting on Shs 588 million of stolen money. Collect that and put it straight to the Hustler Fund. In fact, Ruto can collect tens of billions of stolen money from his buddies. Actually, this could be William Ruto’s biggest achievement for Kenyans. Collect all the money from the thieves surrounding him and set up a Shs. 20 billion Hustler Fund for Kenyans. He can’t possibly go wrong with that, can he?
It will be a project of money coming from Hustler thieves going to Hustler Kenyans dying to make a living. It could be really good but the big question for the president is: Who are his real hustler friends? The thieves or the citizens? That answer is coming in less than 100 days.
Adongo Ogony is a Human Rights Activist and a Writer who lives in Toronto, Canada