While us urbanites are concerned with issues like corruption, governance, broadband, media freedom, mercenaries etc., farmers just want to earn a decent living from their hard work – and this government has made several right moves.
One of these was to revive the Kenya Meat Commission and another was during the recent drought when government agencies were out buying livestock to minimise farmer’s losses.
For dairy farmers, the turnaround has been very dramatic. Where a few years ago milk was selling at 7 shillings per litre, farmers were pouring milk by the roadside as the industry had very low capacity and could only process a limited amount of milk. Now milk commands 17 or 18 shillings per litre and there are many companies buying milk, and paying farmers on time, including a revamped KCC that is now able to process and distribute milk nationwide after many years in obscurity.
If the government can sort out the greed in the sugar and coffee sectors and fix the country's infrastructure (roads and railways) it will have connected with people’s stomachs which, in a way, matters much more than their minds.
Throw in other goodies like free primary education, Kengen & other IPOs, and the constituency development funds (CDF) and things look quite good. With the electorate wiser than ever, the 2007 elections will be harsher on MP’s, than on the government, and we are likely to see several dozen new faces in parliament in 2008.
Any MP who misuses the CDF will bear the brunt of voters as only a foolish or crooked MP can fail to make an impact with direct funds from the government at his/her disposal.
Even though there is still an unhealthy obsession with becoming an MP, and crowds of recycled/rejected politicians jumping parties to be in the right place, there are many new faces willing to taking the plunge into politics to make a positive difference.
The problem is that the government has such a poor image and even worse sales people - that even this simple message does not translate via the media. Also the message of economic prosperity is difficult to push through since cash handouts at election time are a necessary evil and the only way that old politicians perceive as a way to sway gullible voters. This is an expensive, misguided habit and old habits from old politicians die hard.
One senior official has just upgraded to the latest S-class barely month after the Finance Minister announced a cutback in government expenditure on limousines.