How Raila Handshake With Uhuru, Kibaki Saved Kenya's Economy

Campaigns by Wiper team in Machakos on Tuesday, January 26, 2021.
Campaigns by Wiper team in Machakos on Tuesday, January 26, 2021.

Political stability has been at the center of Kenya’s economic growth and as data now shows Kenyans economy has performed better under the right political atmosphere.

Looking at the last 10 years of Kenya’s economy, numbers show that the years of 2010 and 2018 were the country’s best years economically.

 In 2010, the economy grew by 8.1, the highest it has been for the last 11 years under the Grand Coalition Government after post election chaos which had seen the country lose billions of shillings in missed investment.

Kenyan electoral ballots
Ballot boxes that were used during the Msambweni by-elections on December 14, 2020.

The same was replicated after the 2017 general election that saw the country go to a rerun election, an electioneering period that led to the economy losing Ksh1 billion every hour, with the total investment lost summing up to more than Ksh1 trillion.

In 2018 however, following a political truce (handshake) in March, the economy was on an upward trajectory growing from 3.8 per cent in 2017 to stand at 5.6 per cent, the highest seen under the current administration.

The data further shows a concerning trend where every year preceding an election year the economy shrinks. In 2012, the economy grew by a mere 4.6 per cent down from 5.1 in 2011, in anticipation for the 2013 election a year that saw a 3.8 per cent growth.

In 2016, a similar downward trend was witnessed where the economy shrunk to 4.2 per cent down from 5.0 per cent the previous.

The economy then recording a marginal growth in 2017 election year, growing only by 3.8 percent that year similar to what was the case in 2013.

According to Francis Kamau, an economic analyst and tax expert, election years send jitters to investors some of whom are forced to shut down in fear of destruction to their property in the event of political instabilities.

“In Eldoret and Nakuru currently, a majority of local investors are pooling out especially from the central region, because of the destruction of property and any particular post elections that occur on those towns. We also have the towns of Kisumu Webuye and Bungoma for fear of post election disruption local investors actually pull out. As we speak now they are pulling out, so those areas' contribution to the GDP is going to be marginal," he noted in phone interview.

Kamau further says that a number of local investors also fund politicians during campaign periods thus starving the economy the much needed capital for investment.

“There is a mix of politics and business in Kenya…most people who have money in the country including media owners instead of investing they actually invest with politicians, so investing in politician’s campaigns usually withholds money that could have actually been put to a venture.”

Further, government budget that goes towards the electioneering process is said to worsen the situation instead of the money being directed towards revenue generation.

From left: Party leaders Moses Wetangula (Ford-Kenya), Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper) and Raila Odinga (ODM) at rallies in 2021
Kalonzo Musyoka/Raila Odinga