OPINION: Uhuru’s visit to Nyanza won’t realise tangible economic gains

President Uhuru Kenyatta commissioned the Ksh.2.4billion Bondo Water Supply Project in Siaya County on ...
President Uhuru Kenyatta commissioned the Ksh.2.4billion Bondo Water Supply Project in Siaya County on May 30, 2021. PHOTO | PSCU

By Eliud Owalo

President Uhuru Kenyatta should utilise his visit to Luo-Nyanza to espouse a feasible and realistic policy framework that facilitates a tangible development agenda for the region effective July 2021 (new financial year).

History is awash with examples where previous presidential visits to the region have been utilized to hoodwink the people through artificial and cosmetic political pronouncements aimed at realizing short-term political expediency.

The development challenges facing the Luo-Nyanza region are already well-known and the requisite strategic responses are well-articulated in already existing policy blue-prints and strategic plans.

What has been lacking is the political goodwill and financial resources to facilitate implementation of the development programmes necessary to get the region out of economic morass.

Consequently, what I expect the president to do during his visit to Luo-Nyanza this time round is to outline a clear implementation matrix for the desirable development and revitalization programmes in the key thematic areas of sugarcane, fishing, cotton, tourism and infrastructure, among others- backed up with adequate budgetary provision and tied to specific time frames and performance indicators.

Anything short of this will be tantamount to nothing but political gimmicks and a drop in the ocean.

And perhaps for a start, there is in the same vein need for accountability for funds utilized in the construction of Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium at Mamboleo in Kisumu, irrespective of who the accountability centre is.

There is a disproportionate relationship between the current state of the stadium by way or output and the funds allocated.

Overall, I’m skeptical about the president’s visit realizing any long-term and tangible economic gains to the people of the Luo-Nyanza region.

The government is currently dead broke and is even struggling to pay salaries. It has no money to embark on the new projects envisaged in the responsive development agenda for the region.

More so, there is no way any development programme can be undertaken by the national government if the same has not already been captured in the strategic plans for the relevant/implementing line ministries and backed-up with commensurate budgetary provision.

It can neither be done through roadside pronouncements, public rallies or public-relations initiatives.

The president’s visit is more leaning towards a political shenanigan to save the crumbling political handshake from eminent collapse as opposed to a feasible development topology.

Eliud Owalo is a former campaign manager for ODM leader Raila Odinga and a management consultant 

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