Why Ruto could be walking on the curse of one-term president


Why Ruto could be walking on the curse of one-term president

The Kenya Kwanza administration has experienced a decline in popularity and approval ratings. 

Additionally, a concerning signal for the UDA administration is that a majority of Kenyans perceive the country’s economic situation as the worst, pointing to poor performance in economic growth, business investment, and job creation. 

This suggests a potential shift in support away from the UDA, prompting questions about the rapid erosion of public goodwill and the swift decline in public trust towards the government.


UDA’s agenda, marked by a bottom-up economic transformation promise, has become convoluted and plagued with unfulfilled commitments. 

Despite being elected with the intention of economically empowering lower-income Kenyans, the Kenya Kwanza administration has fallen short in providing concrete economic solutions.

 Instead of instilling hope, the administration has adopted a tone of despair, often resorting to blaming its predecessor rather than presenting viable remedies. Consequently, it has gained a reputation as a “blame shifter regime.”

Furthermore, there has been a notable increase in taxation on citizens’ incomes, with the government setting records for its bold and burdensome taxation measures. 

This has resulted in a loss of joy for many Kenyans, as the administration relentlessly dips into their paychecks, leaving them disheartened.

Housing tax

The government is imposing the controversial affordable housing tax at an unconventional rate of 1.5 percent of gross salary, rather than the internationally recognized best practice of using net salary. 

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Additionally, it has steadfastly imposed a 16 percent VAT on fuel, doubling it from the previous 8 percent, leading to a domino effect on the prices of essential commodities. Digital money transactions via Mpesa, as well as NSSF and NHIF contributions, have also experienced increased costs.

Interestingly, the government has announced plans to sell “affordable houses” in Nakuru at exorbitant prices, further confounding many Kenyans, especially those in informal employment or with low incomes.

 The economic hardships faced by citizens, evident in the numerous property auctions due to loan defaults, should prompt the government to reconsider its focus on building houses and instead prioritize the economic empowerment of Kenyans.

Drawing comparisons with countries like Australia, where the emphasis is on competitive salaries, economic growth, and supporting first-time homebuyers with government grants, it is clear that the UDA administration needs to shift its economic policy. 

History shows that leaders who neglect the concerns of citizens, such as high taxes, poor governance, and economic challenges, often face electoral consequences. 

The UDA’s promise of a bottom-up economic plan, symbolized by the wheelbarrow, has yet to materialize in job creation, business support, and modernized farming, leaving many disillusioned as the economy faces challenges like a weakening currency, soaring fuel prices, and rising interest rates.

Carter’s waterloo

The case studies of Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Donald Trump, Jonathan Goodluck, John Dramani Mahama, Edgar Lungu, and Jacob Zuma provide valuable insights into the potential consequences of certain political decisions and governance approaches.

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Jimmy Carter’s presidency faced challenges with high unemployment rates and soaring fuel prices. The public’s loss of trust and dissatisfaction led to his defeat in the 1980 election by Ronald Reagan. Similarly, George H.W. Bush’s popularity plummeted after breaking his pledge not to raise taxes, resulting in his loss to Bill Clinton.

Donald Trump’s confrontational politics, polarizing style, and unconventional communication contributed to his defeat in the 2020 election. In African contexts, leaders like Jonathan Goodluck and John Dramani Mahama faced rejection due to corruption allegations, economic challenges, and dissatisfaction with their leadership styles.

Edgar Lungu’s presidency in Zambia was marked by broken promises, a rising public debt, and increased repression. Despite seeking a second term, he was defeated by opposition leader Hichilema. Jacob Zuma’s tenure in South Africa ended prematurely due to corruption allegations, specifically related to the misuse of public funds for private residence upgrades, leading to his resignation.

These cases underscore the importance of addressing economic challenges, keeping campaign promises, avoiding broken pledges, and maintaining public trust. Leaders who fail to read the public mood or engage in deceitful practices may face rejection at the ballot and a premature end to their political careers.

Be worried

The concerns raised about the Kenya Kwanza administration’s handling of economic challenges, controversial taxation policies, attacks on independent offices, and perceived disregard for campaign pledges are valid. The potential consequences of these actions, as highlighted, can indeed lead to a loss of public support and contribute to the phenomenon known as the “curse of one-term presidents.”

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High fuel prices and a subsequent increase in the cost of living can significantly impact the populace, especially vulnerable groups like small-scale traders (mama mboga) and motorcycle taxi operators (boda boda). The erosion of public confidence in independent institutions, as alleged, further compounds the challenges faced by the administration.

The reference to the importance of truthfulness, drawing from Proverbs 12:22, underscores the significance of maintaining trust and integrity in leadership. Failure to uphold campaign promises and implement policies that adversely affect the electorate’s economic well-being may indeed result in dissatisfaction among voters.

The warning about potential difficulties in gaining political support and the risk of becoming a candidate of the “curse of one-term presidents” emphasizes the need for leaders to be responsive to the concerns of the people and to address economic hardships effectively. The electorate’s trust is a precious commodity that, once lost, can have lasting repercussions on a leader’s political future.

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Why Ruto could be walking on the curse of one-term president



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