If Kenya was running in a race against other developing countries, it would be some distance behind the others. Trying to catch up but with a bad limp and too many problems. Right now, our beloved country is suffering as a brand. In Africa we are ranked 3rd on the global terrorism index with Nigeria and Somalia being the only ones doing worse. The land of “Hakuna matata!”, Island of peace in East and Central Africa has lost its luster to the world. Our stock market is falling.
Brand Kenya Board was set up and mandated to ensure that an integrated national brand is created, harnessed and sustained in the long term. As a nation we need to strengthen our brand in the global market.
One of the direct results of the weakening of our National Brand can now be experienced in the weakening shilling. The result of weak Forex inflows due to the falling tourism and foreign direct investments. A weaker shilling will mean a hike in prices of essential commodities which will hit the poor the hardest.
Take a minute and ponder, as we speak people from other countries are advised against all non essential travel to some parts of the country. Some of those people heeding the advisories are investors.
As we debate the list of shame, no one has been jailed for corruption. Kenya is considered one of the most corrupt countries in the world. To add onto our shame, a London court sentenced two officials of UK based company to 3 years in prison for bribing Kenya officials. The officials that were bribed are still in office at this moment. Chris Okemo, Simon Gichuru, Akasha’s among others are still in Kenya despite there being extradition warrants for them.
We are showing the world how little we care for the law here, in the process we make it look like a place where the rule of the jungle is the order. We forget that the world is a marketplace and we are in contest against other nations.
The worst battering however, comes from destruction of Kenya’s most important asset; wildlife. Elephants, lions, monkeys and other animals are under threat from poachers. Rhinos could all be poached in the next decade. At the current killing rate, our elephants could be finished in 20 years and we have about 1000 cheetahs left in the wild. When tourists come, they have nothing to see and word spreads fast. In no time, the whole world knows there are no animals to view in Kenya.
A challenge has been presented into the hands of the Brand Kenya Board. The citizens have a bigger role to play by ensuring the institutions that play the role of oversight are protected. The world needs to see that the rule of law is the norm in Kenya for all.
It is a job that is cut out for every individual. Jukumu Letu begins with an individual’s input. The nation we dream of is guaranteed in our Katiba. Equality, poverty alleviation and human rights are essential for our developing nation. We have one of the most progressive Constitutions in the world, all it needs is our protection and support.