By Martin Masinde
As the country inches closer to the general elections, a clarion call has been made to leaders to observe peace, calm and normalcy.
Esther Muchemi is the Chief Executive Officer of Samchi Group of companies and she shared her insights with The Times .
“As a nation we are at crossroads and the decision that we are going to make on 9th August will be binding for the next five years so it’s prudent to make the wise decision,” the highly respected entrepreneur said.
Esther also called upon leaders who are eyeing various positions to make realistic pledges to the people and prioritize on addressing the pressing challenges that are affecting Kenyans like the high cost of living, unemployment, high inflation and heavy debt burden.
“The question we should be asking ourselves is: What are the problems facing this country? What is the common issue that cuts across board? What solutions are you bringing on the table as the way forward?,” Esther quipped.
She also cautioned the youths to carefully analyse the manifesto of their leaders and not to fall into the trap of being misused by the politicians for their own selfish gain.
“When youths are concerned, they are vulnerable to be misused because they have the numbers. But they should identify the leader who teaches them how to fish instead of the one that places fish for them on the table.”
She also called upon the leaders not to bite more than they could chew.
“As a leader, you should guide us to accept what our problem is and give us specific solutions. Secondly, narrow the problems to about three or four and then focus on solving them.”
Esther cites the case of Agriculture as the backbone of economic growth.
“There’s no way you can ignore agriculture and expect to have a solution to unemployment. Agriculture must be done in a new way without relying on weather-based Agriculture and focus on irrigation and at the same time link the farmer to the market.”
On the perennial corruption bedevilling our Nation, Esther called on the incoming administration to tackle it from a different dimension.
She said, “The fight against corruption is a moral question and we have to raise a generation that doesn’t believe in corruption. She also called upon the public to put leaders into account in order to uphold the tenets of integrity.”
Esther gives credit where it’s due. She, for example, thanked the Government for its effort to improve infrastructure as an enabler of economic development.
She reiterated the need for all leaders in both tiers of Government both National and County to be guided by a common economic blueprint and then work in synergy to achieve development.
“The reason why Singapore is miles ahead of us is because of their economic blueprint of 150 years. Every leader who is elected must abide by the blueprint so that the country moves to the right direction and eventually achieve its development goals.”
She also called upon the government to shield small businesses from the high taxes that are bringing them down.
“As we speak, most of these small enterprises have shut down due to overtaxation. What the government should do is to come up with incentives to cushion the businesses and save them from collapse. The companies are also closing shop due to the tough economic times occasioned by rising cost of fuel which has a ripple effect to all spheres of the economy.”
She also reminded the incoming administration to prioritize women empowerment and expand their space in leadership and governance. “Its imperative to empower women so that they can overcome their economic disadvantage. This can be achieved through education and giving them jobs and also empowering others with skills to start and run own Enterprises.
Her parting shot is:
“My prayer is that, yet again, we do not miss the change agents we desperately need at this point. With all the problems our nation is going through, for us to experience the major and real transformation we all are crying for, we need a disruption and a shake up for us to solve our major problems. In my opinion, we have three major things that are on their knees: Our economy, Our moral compass and Our youth agenda. Focus on these three and there will be a shift in our economy, corruption included.”