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Pull masses out of poverty

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A United Nations report indicating that some 14 million Kenyans — about 35 per cent of the population — live in absolute poverty presents a grim situation that should compel the government to take drastic actions to reverse the trend. During the more than 50 years of independence, Kenya should have overcome poverty and secured prosperity.

Right at independence, the government committed itself to fighting three enemies: Poverty, ignorance and disease. Various policy documents and national development plans, which articulated solid ideas aimed at creating a progressive and modern economy, were crafted. However, they achieved mixed results.

Now more than a third of the population lives under conditions of absolute poverty; they are unable to feed themselves, access decent housing, quality education, healthcare, water and sanitation, among other basic needs. This is alarming.

At the centre of this is leadership, which is linked to resource management and distribution in successive political regimes. Distribution of State resources is uneven. Worse still, looting and corruption have been pervasive. Recent interventions like devolution have not changed the situation much.

In recent years, the government has published Vision 2030 as a road map for national development in the next decade. The current administration has identified four elements — health, food security, housing and manufacturing — as pillars for growth. All these are well-intentioned. The challenge is implementation.

Too much talk has been done and it’s time for real transformation to pull the masses out of absolute poverty. Others did it and Kenya has the capacity to do the same. Prioritise and undertake programmes with sufficient impact to make a difference.





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