Problems to Solve in Government

*Written on 2022-07-12

Today I noticed that running a country is no different from running a company. You have to deal with finances, have a vision, have a plan for it, show how you can implement, work with obstacles, deal with people and so on. The Gubernatorial debates were enlightening to say the least. I got to see the fringe candidates who didn't have a firm grasp of the issues that Nairobi faces. They were embarrassing to watch as they stumbled on the questions that they were asked. These ranged from access to water, affordable housing, dealing with corruption, the issue of governance and overall service delivery by the county. The fringe candidates were not prepared for what was in store for them. They did not do their homework and it was not a pretty sight when they were interrogated and probed on their alleged statements. However, there was one guy who showed promise. His name is Harman Gerwel, he is a Kenyan of Asian descent and he is 25 years old. That was impressive to see and he answered his questions from an ICT perspective. He provides solutions and answered questions as they should be answered.

When the next round came, which was between Senator Sakaja and Polycarp Igathe, I got to see how a track record is very important. Since Sakaja has experience in government, he has a solid understanding of the problems that the county faces. In fact, he has a better understanding of how the government really functions. However, I have to give to Igathe for the seriousness he has about policies he will implement. Igathe is clearly a manager and someone that I think can run the county like a business. If the leakages in revenue collection are as bad as he claims, then his solutions are the ones that we need to make changes. Sakaja's ideas are good but they are probable and need to be fleshed out in more detail or implemented. Sakaja is a charismatic guy but he can also border to arrogance as he did not apologise when he came late. He has also be alleged to have forged documents and he has been arrested for being outside during curfews imposed during the COVID period. That can be a challenge we may face with his arrogance. However, he has a track record, unlike Igathe who chickened out of the deputy governor. That was bad look for Igathe and it will be a hard sell to Nairobians on how he will stay in office if he walked away. It will be disappointing if he does that again.

In light of all this, I have come to see that running a county is no joke. You can't just apply as an independent candidate and expect to speak on issues. The county is a large organisation that run provides services to 2.4 million Kenyans. Not to mention that it is the capital of Kenya and hosts the National Assembly. You can't not know your stuff. Such a seat requires a proper understanding of the problems that Nairobians face. I can name a few:

  1. High traffic congestion
  2. Poor public transport system
  3. Poor runoff systems when it rains
  4. Sewage systems are non-existent in many fringe and informal settlements
  5. Garbage on the streets
  6. Homeless and street children
  7. Crime in the informal settlements
  8. Haphazard business in the CBD with hawkers and informal "stalls"
  9. Little or no piped water in certain areas
  10. The poor state of the roads due to the construction of the expressway
  11. Many business permits that add financial pressure to new and existing business owners
  12. Poor revenue collection by the county
  13. Delayed payment for workers and suppliers
  14. Unfair tender giving
  15. Lack of lighting in certain areas at night
  16. Unemployed youth with nothing productive to do
  17. Lack of proper hospitals and healthcare
  18. Rising cost of housing

These are the issues I would have to consider if I were to run for the governor position. They are many and they make running Shukran look like childs-play. These are the things that I am preparing for. There will come a time when people will call to me to fix these issues. I cannot solve all of them and that's why I will need a discipline team to do it. There could be people like those out there but they have been disenfranchised by a system of corruption, state-capture, poor management and negligence. If someone was really taking care of the needs of people, we would not have these issues.

As I speak, I am the privileged minority. I am sheltered from the issues that people face in this county. I cannot come infront of them and say that I know all the issues that they face. I have an idea but I know little about their struggle. However, I am in a position to equip myself with the skills to make things happen. Starting with the position that I have now at Impact Africa Network. I have an opportunity to work on the future and build a track record of making things happen. In due time, I can get into public life and participate to improve my country. For the moment, I work on building products for the market. I must not rush. There is no need to be there at 25 years of age. Nor do I even need to be a governor or the president. There are people who are being moulded for those roles at my age. They may have even started earlier. My best bet to contribute to society in a way that I am both willing and capable of doing. I sense that Igathe is moving up a stream that that he doesn't understand from experience. He is well-suited to private sector and corporate to be specific. It is not to deter him to show that he has a lot to learn and he needs some guidance. It is good that he is getting this help from this political party of Azimio, which is a strong party that is supported by Uhuru and has the duo, Raila and Martha at the presidential seats. He has a large and experienced machinery behind him.

In conclusion, this has opened my eyes to the world of politics and the deals of public life. There is a lot that is expected from these candidates and those are the same expectations that other people will have of me. When I stand in front of people, I must be ready for the questions that I will be asked. I have to know my stuff because I will be put to the test and people will be looking up to me to deliver. I cannot stumble aimlessly through life. Intentionality is the word of the day. Excellence is the other. Contribution is what it is all about.