Kenya
Robert Green

LETTERS: Kneejerk policy enforcement fuels corruption

Kenyans are a resilient lot going by the number of shocks and disasters they have to endure on a daily basis. Wanjiku has to be patient, bend with seasons, economic tides, capricious climatic conditions and mediocre policy frameworks.

Officials inspect a truck that was impounded for transporting banned plastic bags. FILE PHOTO | NMG

According to Robert Green in his book ‘‘The 33 Strategies of War,’’ what separates a mediocre general from a superior one isn’t their strategies or manoeuvres but their vision. Endurance characterises Kenyans’ way of life following a series of policy implementation which least take Wanjiku’s interest in mind. Good public policy and administration practices demand for a grand strategy framework that is well thought out and adequately executed in the best interest of all. Unfortunately, those in authority have resulted to simple garden variety strategies, popular in nature with serious ramifications to the less fortunate in our society.Kenyans are a resilient lot going by the number of shocks and disasters they have to endure on a daily basis. Wanjiku has to be patient, bend with seasons, economic tides, capricious climatic conditions and mediocre policy frameworks.

When she isn’t fighting drought effects, its floods. Occasionally salvaging a burning livelihood due to mediocre policy directives, while other times fighting their way out of a livelihood ban.To weed out plastic bags use, a ban on production and usage was imposed. This led to jobs and opportunities losses. So entrenched was plastic use to Wanjiku’s way of life that it was unimaginable of life without them. Environmentally friendly bags were introduced. Unknown to consumers, cost of packaging was transferred to them. Unfortunately, not all commodities resonate with the new packaging. As Kenyans effortlessly comply with these regulations, outlets and producers have given them a wide berth. Why then selectively enforce this regulations? To the majority, plastic use isn’t the problem rather their disposal, a prerogative squarely within the premise of county authorities.The cost of timber, wood fuel and charcoal has skyrocketed following a ban on logging and charcoal burning. In effect, livelihood loss, stalled buildings and more so added costs as households source for alternative fuel for domestic use. Even the most basic of all energy source, electricity, has become unaffordable to majority of the rural poor. Drivers of modified private cars risk arrest according to a directive issued on 13th March, 2018. Many are unaware of this. READ: Amount of bribe paid for services in Kenya shoots upAlthough policy proposals are geared towards curing ills in governance, hardly do they offer alternatives or mitigate their effects on livelihoods. Wanjiku has to manoeuvre her way out of predicaments not of her own making. This extortionist culture and ban/burn anything and everything approach is offensive and an intrusion on rights and coping mechanisms of the less fortunate. Continuity and certainty in policy administration is fundamental. Hence the need for public participation as enshrined in our constitution to guard against the big man syndrome.Good public policy and administration practices should acknowledge the law of cause and effect. Any policy curing short-term challenges only creates room for agents of corruption to thrive. Fluidity in policy development and implementation in public affairs is a hindrance to achieving the big four agenda policies. Let’s shun these culture of rushing policy decisions to cure temporary emotions.

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