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Negativity robs Kenya of glitter

One of Kenya’s strong points  is its sturdy economic growth fuelled by agriculture. FILE PHOTO | NMG

As time barrels forward towards Kenya’s General Election next month, both traditional and social media alike seem ablaze with negative stories about our nation.

As each day passes, it appears that more and more negative national events, news, and conditions permeate our minds and conversations.

Social scientists Andrew Howell and Michael Conway research positive versus negative moods. Unfortunately, negative opinions, moods, and perceptions stick in the brain far longer than positive ones.

When in a negative frame of mind, even positive events that can prove contradictory to one’s negative state get dismissed by our psychology as we continue to focus on the negative.

Individually and collectively, our national discourse spirals downward often overlooking positives. So as pre-election negativity and feelings of despair mount, let us remind ourselves of what makes us great.

As a foreign power in 1963 hobbled our historic and proud nations together to form one forced country with unnatural borders, we learned to get along and lay a foundation for generations of growth.

Sure, some Kenyan industries appear to hire stereotypically from certain communities. However, Kenya enjoys massive levels of integration across tribes and gender.

The World Bank encouragingly estimates that 46 per cent of Kenya’s labour force is indeed women. Other nations face far greater segregation such as linguistic persecution in Cameroon, ethnic unemployability in Central Africa, racial marginalisation in the United States, religious bias in Europe, and skin complexion hiring preference in South Korea.

Economically, compared to regional nations with similar colonial and independence history as ours, the Kenya shilling dominates in the region with continued strength and less perilous fluctuations than our peers.

Kenya’s economic growth proves one of the marvels of the world in the top 20 growth nations with GDP annual increases consistently over 5 per cent.

Economists predict that Kenya’s GDP will exceed even 6 per cent annualised growth for each of the next five years, thus exceeding even China’s famed growth achievements.

On one hand, the Heritage Foundation’s Economic Freedom Index does hold that multiple government indicators have deteriorated in recent years.

However on the other hand, the Foundation also assesses that Kenya’s business, labour, monetary, and trade freedoms have improved markedly.

Transparency International rates Kenya at a fairly constant score year after year after year. However, citizen initiatives and media houses often fight corruption and increasing rates.

Free press

Kenya retains an often free press that can report on abuses of power and corruption. We should celebrate that our government largely tolerates freedom of expression.

Our leaders do not belittle the press in such a shameful way as the current American President and his casual relationship with the truth and fake news.

Reporters Without Borders ranks Kenya better than most of Africa, Asia, Middle East, and South America.

Now ingrained presidential, deputy president, and gubernatorial debates champion our democracy whereby our leaders speak to the nation and are interrogated by the press.

Kenya scores a strong 88 out of 159 rated countries on the CATO Institute’s Human Freedom Index and we enjoy a fairly independent judiciary.

Politically, primary election battles this year showed some of the most unbiased forms of democracy on the continent. Some counties saw large percentages of incumbents ejected.

Our Kenyan freedom to reject incumbent re-election at primary levels fairs far better than the United States with its abysmal 96 per cent incumbent re-election rate at parliament-equivalent national levels.

In conclusion, from the grass plains of the south to the arid vistas in the north and from the Indian Ocean in our east, to the prized lake in the west, Kenya remains a land of contrasts, vibrant cultures, economic growth, fusion of ancient traditions with modern progress, bastion of entrepreneurship, high literacy, great humour, astounding university attendance rates, and relative safety.

: businessdailyafrica


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