No business model can survive corruption cartels

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The biggest threat to our growth has nothing to do with the upward or downward economy. It has everything to do with our manners. Without fighting corruption, nepotism and tribalism, all business models will be useless.

Little has been tried in Kenya to equalize economic growth and improve the condition of the masses. Historically, capitalist models have been applied in many countries including Kenya and have widened the gap between elites and masses, rural and urban areas, and urbanization and agriculture. Attempts to bridge these gaps have fueled the debate on bottom-up business models.

Recognizing the disparities between urban and rural areas, a new strategy was adopted by the government in 1983. The district’s objective for rural development was to improve rural development through the participation of local interest groups such as self-help groups, cooperatives, churches and even political parties.

The program itself was an admission that indeed Kenya was a country of “10 millionaires and 10 million beggars”, as the late JM Kariuki estimated. It was also one of the first attempts at decentralization.

When former President Mwai Kibaki took office, he founded the Youth Enterprise Fund and the Women Enterprise Fund. Both aimed to make capital available to young people and women. The two funds came a few years after the Constituency Development Fund, another attempt to address inequalities.

In 2010, we created 47 county governments and 47 county assemblies with 1,450 wards becoming the smallest electoral units. It was another opportunity to meet the needs of the base. The Constitution Amendment Bill 2020 hoped to create a neighborhood development fund – another push down.

Although he was not excited about the process of BBI, the leader of the ascendant movement, DP William Ruto seemed excited about the inclusion of Article 11A which he said anchors the economy of scammers in the constitution.

The article states in part “(1) This Constitution recognizes the need for an economic system which provides equitable opportunities for all Kenyans to benefit from economic growth in a comprehensive, just and sustainable manner”.

The new bottom-up economic model is therefore not so new. The idea is to transfer part of the state budget to a smaller unit. Ruto has already spoken of setting aside 100 million shillings for each constituency. The worry is where the money is to be taken, thieves and cartels will follow it there. When the money was vested in the counties, the corrupt followed it. The Auditor General has previously asked questions about millions of people being diverted from purchasing items of opulence rather than meeting real needs, such as providing medical supplies to public health facilities.

A good business model destroys the glass ceiling that keeps people at the bottom from climbing the ladder.

The writer is a presenter at Radio Maisha


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