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Lets Talk Kenya

Updated on January 17, 2019
ted bryant profile image

Ted is a Finance student and a columnist in a student newspaper.

Part of Nairobi city
Part of Nairobi city

What is Kenya like?

This is the most intriguing question among the people of the world residing outside Africa. I can attribute the question to a reflex mentality and ideologies that people have about Africa. The whole thought comes from an angle of ‘inferiority’ about Africa and her people. There is a dense white compliment that Africa is a jungle and so people here are far much behind the present world. That is not the TRUTH. Let me be honest in trying to paint a picture of the real Kenya, you be the judge
Kenya is one of the most visible countries in Africa in terms of economic growth, political games and international trade. Although it is not a leading developing country like Egypt and South Africa, we are far much ahead of other countries on the continent.

The people of Kenya have a long history of the great migration theories that saw them settle in their present locations. A population of over 40 million divided into 3 major ethnic groups, the Bantu, Nilotes and the Cushite’s. These people have different cultures and way of living that may have influenced their present-day settlement. For instance, the Abagusii who are Bantu settled in the highlands of Nyanza because their main economic activity was farming. The Masa, (who have a rich culture) settled in the plains and grasslands because they were herders. Modernization and westernization have brought much impact on our cultures. People are now leaving traditional cultures that are not up to basic human standards.


Our foods are the best. Diet and how we prepare our foods depends on culture and ethnic groups. Maize and vegetables are a delicacy for all Kenyans in the present day, but ethnically, for instance, the Nilotes are known for meat and milk. The Bantu are known for vegetable and bananas, and so on. People are now changing their diet from indigenous foods to the modern food culture. The nutrition association of Kenya released a report showing almost half of Kenyans depend on fast foods and more sensible, food that cooks for a short time. The consequence is over 1/3 of Kenyan women are either obese or overweight. There is also an increase in diseases that are food related.

Economy ,politics and Security

Since early 2000 our country enjoyed an upright graph in economic growth. This was attributed to a change in the manner of governance which meant peace and better international relations. Boosting our economy was the tourism sector that saw thousands of tourists from America and Europe visit Kenya. Kenya has the best developed coastal beach in the east of Africa and numerous wild parks including the Maasai Mara with a great feature of the great immigration of wildebeest. For this factor, Kenya has received twice as many tourists than other countries in the east.

The Kenyan government has heavily invested in successful developmental projects. The latest being the standard gauge railway that connects the town of Mombasa, with Nairobi. Plans are underway to ensure it reaches the luxurious city of Kisumu and then connects to Uganda. Our roads are tarmacked, especially those connecting the major towns. These are built by the government. Other smaller roads are under the county governments and 70% of them are tarmacked. The most outstanding road is the Thika superhighway. It facilitates Nairobi commuters who are over 400,000 of them a day. It also offers a magnificent track for road racers.

The Kenyan port of Mombasa has been a key component of economic growth in the country. It serves landlocked countries like Uganda and far much preferred by Rwanda and Burundi businessmen. For years it has also been a cash cow for certain people in the government. Just like other parts of the world, it experiences problems of smuggling and duty evasion-the most common.

Our aviation industry is still in a little bit slump, but our aircraft and services are rated among the best in Africa. Large commercials planes are narrowed to the Boeings and the latest being the Dreamliner. Kenya stopped sourcing Airbus A310 crash in January of 2000.almost all of our major towns have an airport and domestic flights are the fastest and the best. In 2018 we met the civil aviation organization standards set by the US fed and now we are among the few countries that offer direct flights to the United States.

In Kenya, unemployment is a big issue since the early 1990s. The rate of unemployment currently stands at 43% that is about 20 million jobless Kenyans who are neither self-employed. I can attribute it to a large number of millennials who preferred being employed rather than creating jobs and employment opportunities. I think the government is doing something to solve this issue. I have seen the advancement of loans to youths and SME’s although almost all of the money gets lost between the chain. Technology has also contributed to employment as many are now working online. The jua kali and mutate industry are the leading providers of employment to Kenyan youths. There is only one solution to unemployment in Kenya; embracing local manufacturing industries.

Nairobi bus terminal
Nairobi bus terminal

Kenyan politics are ever outstanding in the country and also has attracted international attention over years. Our politics is all about ‘what can I get from power’ than ‘what can I do with power’. The registrar of political parties has over 35 listed and certified political groups, with the NASA and Jubilee coalition housing most of the political parties.

Kenyans voted in a new constitution on August of 2010 and later, promogulated in the same year. Constitution reforms have been an epic journey since independence and many a time brought chaos and disagreements. Even after the new constitution, some Kenyans are still pushing for reforms, particularly on the election and leadership subjects.

Election periods are the most chaotic element in Kenyan politics. The worst being 2007 that landed Kenya into economic downfall that led to poor living standards. Recent elections were a bit peaceful despite there being a rematch ordered by the judiciary. I hope coming elections will be peaceful and up to standard.

The judiciary forms part of a larger portion in Kenyan politics. For years now Kenyans still cannot put their trust in it because of a likelihood of lack of independence. There are thousands of cases that lie in the high courts for years which brings in the thought of reliability and efficiency. A major problem the courts face is corruption. Any casual observer will tell you that criminals get set free by our courts.

Our security both from the internal and external is wanting though I can verbalize that Kenyans are safe. The Kenya police, (the most corrupt sector) ensured that Kenyans and visitors are safe in their daily lives. Something that seems erratically is their relations to the public which is ideally assumed to be poor. The external security suffers a major global threat that is terrorisms. Being close neighbors to Somalia means we are vulnerable and that instead of lashing out that Kenya is insecure, the world should come together and help us fight it. The safety on Kenyan roads is in a performing stage, the government has reintroduced the strict rules.


Kenya is a country with a great potential of achieving a 2nd world-class status if only some issues in the political structure could be ironed out and have a positive impact on the other sectors. People from other nationalities especially outside Africa will think of us from a different angle that is far much from reality. Kenya is like a load of fireworks that is yet to be triggered so that it can release flashy pyrotechnics.


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