Western Counties should hold own conferences to chart economic recovery path

Chwele market
Chwele market in Bungoma

On 28th September 2020 President Uhuru Kenyatta presided over the National COVID-19 conference at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Nairobi where he addressed salient issues relating to the country’s economy and announced specified measures to lift and/or vary restrictions that had hitherto been imposed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

West Media states each County in the former Western Province being the counties of Kakamega, Bungoma, Busia, Vihiga and Trans Nzoia must convene their own County COVID-19 conferences to take stock of their economies and the ramifications, ravages, occasioned to them by the COVID-19 pandemic and map out strategies, programmes to address the adverse effects the pandemic has had on their residents livelihoods and economic wellbeing. It is abdication of the unique obligations of the elected leaders of each County from Senators MPs, Governors, MCAs to bury their head in the sand and and live the lie that just because there has been a National COVID-19 conference at Nairobi that conference addressed the specific challenges facing their respective Counties.

Our elected leaders must be problem solvers for their electorates’ local problems and not to traverse their electoral units pleading with the national government to solve the electorates problems or blame the County Governments for this or that shortcoming. The electorate is only interested in provision of solutions to the bad roads they have to endure, the lack of adequate medical care, the lack of good prices and markets for their agricultural produce, or an enabling business environment for them to earn a livelihood.

The elected leaders must be candid and frank as to what resources are available and what is practical rather than for them making empty unrealistic promises when they know or ought to know what taxes they collect and receive from the national government and therefore what is possible and what is not. There is no use building castles on development through rhetoric yet the reality is different.

The COVID-19 pandemic has wrecked havoc on the economies of all Counties in and it thus behoves our elected leaders to bravely face the electorate and make realistic promises of what is possible and what is not and what sacrifices everybody in the devolved units must make for the restart revamp, gearing up of economic production and livelihoods be it in agriculture, commerce, the service sector.

For us to imagine that the National COVID-19 conference held on 28th September 2020 will tackle our local economic challenges at the grassroots is to be foolhardy and irresponsible. What each of our Counties must do now that COVID-19 is receding to address the challenges facing their residents is the elephant in the room and the elected leaders must lead in that endeavor. The elected leaders must not be permitted to throw at us the rabbit, the bait of BBI and 2022 elections instead of addressing the economic challenges of today. They are eating the fat of our taxes as they distract us from the problems and wax themselves hoarse on the future.