By Irene Mwende
South Africa and Kenya hosted a high level reflection roundtable on their 30 years struggle for Democracy.
The particular discussion involving Operation Linda Ugatuzi in collaboration with KENYA Bora TUITAKAYO majored on lessons for constitution making process with reference to the two respective countries and also added their voices to the conversation taking place in Kenya, especially on the issue of the financial bill.
Speaking during the forum, The South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) Professor Moeletsi Mbeki noted their guaranteed role in advancing a well governed, peaceful and economically sustainable and globally engaged Africa.
He pointed out that some of the challenges that the struggle for Democracy caused to South Africa include poor electricity, collapse of railway, 42% unemployment, 27% of children stunted because of malnutrition, 70 murders a day among other challenges.
Dr. Mbeki added that African middle class level has grown and due to this, over the past few years, South Africa has always been ruled by the consumption driven class, which is the middle class.
“Due to the middle class ruling, a lot has changed in South Africa comprising of abolished rule of the white, introduction of universal coverage, political power being herited by a new elite, “ added Dr. Mbeki.
He also noted that in order for South Africa to have stable elections, they need to modernize their economy, create a new entrepreneurial class that is conversant with the digital technology and also draw up urbanization plans.
Also speaking at the event, Operation Linda Ugatuzi leader Professor Fred Ogola on the issue of the financial bill noted that it is the most discussed bill ever in Kenya.
“This bill has seen submissions from so many people and also so many memoranda have been done, for Operation Linda Ugatuzi, Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) and Association of Manufactures have all submitted their memoranda on the same,” said Ogola.
He further noted that if the bill is passed, it will only increase the cost of living, as everything will go up.
“Overtaxing Kenyans at a time when unemployment is very low and inflation is very high simply means that Kenyans who are poor are going to be made poorer, the middle class will shrink and the only people who will enjoy are those in the government who have those salaries and are enjoying the benefits of being in the government,” added Ogolla.