WRITTEN BY EUGYNE OCHIENG AND MICHAEL AREGA.
"Bottom up economic model" is the sweetest political strategy since the invention of "Yes We Can". It resonates with the a majority of suffering Kenyans now grouped in the euphemistic "Hustler Nation". It guarantees a landslide victory because it changes the political arithmetics of our tribal politics.
But the two, yes we can and Hustler Nation, are conjoined twin political phrases selling glossy symbolic gestures and not offering actual action plan solving specific challenges. On one hand, Yes we can reminds people of their ability in making possibilities without being specific on the role or explicit actions of Barack Obama, for example, in realization of that dream. Hustler narrative on the other hand presents a pie in the sky economic development that is tempting to a broad section of Wanjiku languishing in poverty only that it's preacher(Ruto) has also been involved in making her(Wanjiku) poorer in the first place.
However, that is not to wish away the economical miracle that can be witnessed if a bottom up economic model approach is adopted. The Australian theorist Elton Mayo, regarded as the father of a bottom up economic model, felt that by uplifting the impoverished and destitutes occupying the lowest class in an economic set up, a profound economic progress can be experienced.
In deed, the Deputy President is right that should Kenya, like any other country in the world, adopt this economic ideology, we could reclaim our ravaged economy and build back better post Covid 19. This will take bridging the gap between the rich and the poor by bringing the Mama wa Mboga, cobblers, barbers and the rest of meagre stakeholders in informal sector to the bargaining table and allowing them a bite of the national cake.
Such a bottom up economic model approach focuses on Small Enterprises (SMEs), removing barriers brought about by the elite class willing to keep the status quo in place using taxations and regulations. That in order for an entrepreneur to start a business, they need to part with lofty registration fees and comply with plethora regulations including but not limited to licenses.
Apart from opening and mainstreaming the informal sector, the model also offers incentives for start up businesses, ensuring a conducive environment for them to flourish. Furthermore, giving them tax free to ensure such SMEs do not get chocked with taxes before finding their feet.
Therefore, Ruto is right to borrow from Elton Mayo or Flacavento in embracing this workable economic theory. However, it should not be misused as a political strategy as forwarded by the resident of Hustler's mansion. It should not become relevant only when it is to be used to get to power. This is because it makes us question the intentions of its purveyor.
The Deputy President together with his boss vied on a trickle down effect economic approach (the complete opposite of bottom up economic model). The two promised jobs from what was an infrastructure agenda - building prestigious structures hoping that it creates jobs and open the country for trade, agriculture and investment. Kenyans were poor then as they are today but Jubilee government thought it wise to launch these projects worth billions for optics instead of rethinking the impacts of such actions especially borrowing of loans that now got us in this mud.
If someone is to get us out of it, at least it should not be those who got us into it. This kind of econotrick is meantamboozle the Hoi Polloi - lest you forget the proletariat (working class) can not be led by a bourgeois (high class), so goes the phrase.
Ruto is a billionaire who people question his skyrocketing acquisition of profound wealth. Him and acolytes has been adversely mentioned in land grabbing and grafts cases. Perhaps, the area we will take his knowledge of experience seriously is if he offered a lecture on "bottom up looting model