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Adopt pro-poor policies to end discrimination

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There are rules for the powerful and other rules for the rest.

Photo credit: File

Study the ethics of common persons in occupations that they dominate. Take for instance a cobbler. All he does in life is to wake up early in the morning.

By 5am he will be on the street sometimes walking for about 8km to his place of work in the central business districts of most towns. He will work to about 7pm in the evening; and he will go home to his family.

And this is a daily routine. He will not bribe or do any deal, except in instances when he is harassed by county enforcement where he has to find his way out.

Compare that simple straightforward lifestyle with that of some big honchos. There are always deals. There are people meeting behind the scenes to plot something. And those deals are done in secrecy, often at night. If their true contents were to be unveiled, lots of scandals would erupt.

It is what one person said “if night was to turn to daylight , a lot of people would run away".

One of the main problem of this world is the fact that rules and ethics are never applied uniformly. There are rules for the powerful and other rules for the rest — whereas practically the rules posit universal applicability.

Take, for instance, in economics. In a capitalistic world, the efficient prosper and the inefficient should not. Right ? Wrong.

There are several instances where inefficient companies would be propped up using taxpayer’s money on the basis "they are too big to fail."

Take the 2008 economic crisis in America as an example. The banks that had loaned irresponsibly got federal cash when they were about to be declared insolvent. But a poor person’s business will be declared bankrupt immediately it has cash flow problems.

Poor people continue to be condemn to civil jail for non-payment of decretal sums. Powerful persons with corporations hide behind the corporate veil to run away from personal responsibility whenever they face insolvency.

It is a case of socialism for the powerful and capitalism for the poor. The same principle of equality probably should be applied in Kenya.

State bodies that become inefficient should not receive government money. It is far much better to redirect those resources to micro enterprises and those culpable for ruining those state institutions punished.

Tax policies should also be recast in favour of the poor who are the majority. Tax on personal income should be de- emphasised as opposed to tax on consumption.

Consumption tax is based on how people consume rather how much they add into the economy. Consumption tax promotes savings and investment. Income tax rewards spenders and penalises savers.

Therefore, let the cobbler keep his income as much as possible. But catch him when he is spending. Tax alcohol more to dissuade him from drinking and encourage him to save, for example.

People’s main concerns are mainly healthcare and education for their children. Let education costs be borne by the entire society as opposed to individual poor people. It serves both the rich and poor interests to have an educated populace.

Healthcare costs for poor people should also be defrayed by the state otherwise we shall create a medical apartheid where only the wealthy people can access quality healthcare.

Kenya remains a highly unequal society. That does not bode well for its stability. A concerted effort to uplift those at the bottom of the pyramid should be employed.

- Dr Kangata is the Governor of Muranga County. Email: [email protected].