Extreme inequality is out of control in Kenya. Despite an impressive economic growth since 2005, poverty still affects millions of people’s lives across the country. Less than 0.1% of the population (8,300 Kenyan citizens) own more wealth than the bottom 99.9% (more than 44 million Kenyan citizens) who most are languishing in extreme poverty. It appears that a minority of wealthy individuals and investors are creaming off the yields of the country’s economic performance. While this minority of super-rich Kenyans are accumulating wealth and income, the fruits of economic growth are failing to trickle down to the poorest. The richest 10% of people in Kenya earned on average 23 times more than the poorest 10%. Corruption is the biggest monster that’s draining our country into the ditch of failed socioeconomic policies that should address the plight of mwananchi. The Pandora paper expose is just a tip in the ice berg as we all know that most rich Kenyans are corrupt and they have continuously stolen from us over the years due to the weak judiciary and police systems who fail to give the people justice. The rich are capturing the lion’s share of the benefits, while millions of Kenyans are at the bottom being left behind for survival. If inequality remained at the same level for the next five years, 2.9 million or more people could be living in extreme poverty.
Time for reform
Extreme inequality is not inevitable, it is a matter of political choice that we have seen repeating itself over the last few decades since we got independence. Electing incompetent leaders who don't work extra hard in fighting corruption is one of the reasons why Kenya is still lagging behind in terms of socioeconomic growth and poverty eradication. To reduce this to sustainable levels, the Kenyan government should implement socioeconomic policies and legislation to reform the fiscal system, raise sufficient financing for free, quality public education and healthcare, and close the economic inequality gap for all its citizens. By doing so, it could help lift millions out of poverty and ensure a more equal and prosperous future for all Kenyans.
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