- Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi has said for the country’s economy and democracy to grow, Kenyans need to get their priorities right.
- He further clarified that the Kenya Kwanza administration is very tactical in ensuring that taxation is not punitive and encouraged Kenyans to demand accountability on how their taxes are being used.
- He said better understanding of each other’s perspective can be achieved through open and honest communication, as well as identifying common ground and finding solutions to even the most challenging problems.
Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi has said for the country’s economy and democracy to grow, Kenyans need to get their priorities right.
Mudavadi was speaking during this year’s People Dialogue Festival, organised by the Centre for Multi-party Democracy (CMD).
He said the Kenya Kwanza administration is working on policy formulation mechanisms that will see all programs and functions of the government are geared towards enhancing growth, sustainability and equity.
“In all sectors of our economy we will be looking at the prospects of growth, sustainability and equity, with all the debates revolving around how to turn things around for a better and working economy for Kenya,” Mudavadi said.
Mudavadi said the rule of thumb in government operations will be based on productivity, which will see the economic transformation agenda fulfilled.
He said it is paramount that whatever the government is doing is guided by policies that point to the direction of prosperity especially now when Kenya is undergoing tough times with the challenge of a huge public debt, high costs of living, drought and other challenges.
He said even in legislation, the leaders will have to make sure that whatever legislation is planned underpins equity and steady growth.
The Prime SC noted that the government has reached a stage where it can no longer fund all programs, telling Kenyans that the assumption that they have carried for quite some time that the government can support all programs is a fallacy and not a reality.
“Kenyans must stop living a lie and wake up to the reality. What we need to work on is to make sure we rationalise the resources that are at our disposal, ensure prudent utilisation of the resources we have and direct the resources to the relevant programmes and projects,” the Prime CS said.
Mudavadi defended the government on taxation pointing out that no government can operate without taxing its citizens.
He further clarified that the Kenya Kwanza administration is very tactical in ensuring that taxation is not punitive and encouraged Kenyans to demand accountability on how their taxes are being used.
Mudavadi revealed the government intends to direct resources to more critical Kenyans and it may take some time for change to be realised.
"We are re-looking at our priorities as a government. We want to direct the resources to the most critical areas, but I want to tell Kenyans the solutions we are working on are not instant coffee, they will take some weeks and months for us to turn around things," Mudavadi said.
“It is going to be commitment over a period of time since the global supply chain has been disrupted and it has become very expensive as a result of a number of things that are happening globally. Therefore, a keen look at the Bottom-Up Economic Transformational Agenda is what we are working on as the government.”
According to Mudavadi, dialogue is one of the realistic approaches to helping build trust and the political will for change, adding that in a world where conflicts and misunderstandings seem to be the order of the day, compromise and cooperation are key.
He said better understanding of each other’s perspective can be achieved through open and honest communication, as well as identifying common ground and finding solutions to even the most challenging problems.
“I am a believer in dialogue as one of the most powerful tools that bridges the divide and brings people together. It is a tool that I have personally used numerous times to great effect and this is what I encourage all leaders across all spheres of life to adopt,” the former ANC boss said.
“It is not the number of demonstrations that we hold or intend to hold but the debate and dialogue on sound policies we are going to put on the table and have a candid, honest discussion on where we want to take our country as a collective responsibility and not a one-man show.”
Mudavadi lauded the growth of the democratic space in Kenya, noting from the analysis of the August 2022 general election that Kenya has shown that it is possible to conduct a free, fair and transparent election with dissatisfied factions getting an opportunity to explore the legal channels for redress.
He said it was important to strengthen political parties, citing multi-partyism as a key to building democracies.
He dismissed talks revolving around folding parties, as this would undermine the freedom of political association and constitutionalism.
“If we want to grow our democracy, we must strengthen political parties. That is why the Centre for Multi-Party Democracies is offering a platform for political parties to have a dialogue on crucial things affecting our country not only politically but also on the economic and social front,” Mudavadi said.
Mudavadi said that in response to a question about whether he supports the folding of Kenya Kwanza affiliate parties to join the United Democratic Alliance (UDA).
“Political competition should be based on ideas and policies. Convince the electorate, but don’t threaten the people by issuing empty threats and holding on to rhetoric talk that does not add any value to the development and transformation of the country,” he said.
Mudavadi said the current challenges the country is facing should form the basis of the discussion at all levels in the country rather than the sideshows being brought out by some leaders, both in the opposition and in government.