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By Gitahi Ngunyi

What would Kenya look like economically if the Communist Party of Kenya (CPK) won State power? That

is a question that Party members, activists and revolutionaries encounter every day in the course of

their work. That question is particularly relevant in the current stage of development of the country

where it is clear the neo-colonial capitalist economic policies employed by the current Kenya’s ruling

elite have failed to end people’s misery and economic backwardness and underdevelopment.

This question cannot be answered without first clarifying what is wrong with the current reactionary

economic policies. To unpack the CPK economic alternative, we will therefore look at the problems of

the neo-colonial economic policies and provide the solutions.

Means of production in the hands of a few

The first act of attack on the Kenyan people by capitalism was the grabbing of their land by the British

Colonialists. All the land in Kenya was placed under the ownership of the British Monarch and placed

under the management of the Imperial British East Africa Company Ltd. The Kenyan communities that

previously owned the land communally or through their feudal lords as was the case in nation-states in

the coastal areas of Kenya lost the most important means of production. All the productive land was

placed in the hands of a few white colonialists and Kenyans were forced to work as wage earners in

white owned farms and companies under deplorable conditions.

58 years after independence, this economic injustice against the Kenyan people has never been

rectified. Today, foreign multinationals and Kenyan political elites control the bulk of the productive


Currently, 28 percent of Kenyans or 12.6 million people are landless. 98 percent of Kenyans land owners

are crammed up in small and uneconomical pieces of land with an average size of 1.2 hectares (ha)

occupying 46 percent of the Kenyan land mass. 1.9 percent of the land owners own medium size pieces

ranging between 10 and 60 ha. However, 0.1 percent of the land owners control 39 percent of Kenya’s

total land area.

This inequitable access to land by Kenyans is the biggest cause of extreme poverty, unemployment and

under-employment in Kenya.

It therefore follows that there can be no sustainable solution to the problem of poverty in Kenya if the

land question is not addressed with finality.

If CPK wins State power, land reforms will be the highest priority because of the potential it has to

ending extreme poverty, creating massive employment and increasing production. The reform package

would include appropriation/repossession of all idle and underdeveloped land owned by the foreign

multinationals and the Kenyan bourgeoise which hoards without compensation.

Land appropriated by CPK government would be redistributed to farming groups, cooperatives, workers

owned companies, or State corporations for the purpose of putting the land into immediate utilization

in agricultural, mining, housing or manufacturing production.

This single action will pull millions of Kenyans from extreme poverty, spur rural development and

increase employment to millions of Kenyans currently languishing in urban squalor and rural poverty.

Export driven


Kenya’s economy was designed by the colonial to be a supplier of raw materials and markets to British

multinationals. From the colonial times, Kenya has depended on export of agricultural products such as

tea, coffee, cotton, hides and skins, livestock, to Europe and US.

While the thinking behind this imperialist approach to colonial economies was basically to sustain

European economies at the expense of the colonies, neocolonial regimes have continued with the same

approach based on the false argument that Kenya badly needs of foreign exchange to finance imports of

commodities that it does not produce.

Because of this kind of neo-colonial approach to economic policies, the bulk of Kenya’s productive land

is under crops that serve European and American food needs. Land under food for domestic needs

occupy the least part of the Kenyan land mass.

There are very clear consequences from this policy choice. First, in spite of the abundance of productive

land, Kenya is listed as a food insecure country. This is a very embarrassing state and a paradox as well.

In other words, the same country producing coffee and tea that are consumed by hundreds of millions

of people in the world cannot produce enough food for its domestic needs. Every time when there is a

drought, thousands of Kenyans in both rural and urban areas starve to death because they have no


The second consequence is that the country has lost opportunities to industrialise based on the

domestic food production and consumption needs. Instead, Kenya with its raw exports continues to

support the growth of European and American imperialism while its people continue to wallow in

poverty and squalor. It is also because of these suicidal policy choices that we have a pattern of

migration where Kenyans are leaving their country to look for jobs in Europe and US because the Kenyan

economy is unable to provide employment to the majority of its people.

A CPK government would reverse this policy so that the bulk of Kenya land resources would be used to

produce for local domestic needs. This would entail progressive reduction of land allocated to cash crops

for food and cotton production to meet local food and textile demands. Such an approach will ensure

that the country has enough food to meet the needs of its people.

In order to realise the full benefits of increased production, the CPK government would invest surplus

into development of government owned light and heavy industries. The light industries would use the

agricultural products to produce consumer goods to meet the local demands such as food products with

longer shelf life, textile products and leather products. The heavy industries will produce equipment and

machinery needed in agricultural production, light industry production and housing. Heavy investment

in the development of government owned light and heavy industries will also mean that mining

products such as iron ore, petroleum and titanium are used to create local jobs and increase national

production instead of the current case where such mining resources support the growth of

industrialization of foreign nations.

Through this policy approach, the CPK government will not only solve the chronic problem of textile and

food shortages in the country, it will also increase employment through industrialization and spurred

rural development.


One of the outstanding characteristics of Kenyan economy is wastefulness. Wastage of human life or

labour, wastage of production, and wastage of public funds.


Kenyan unemployed workers waste away in Kenyan slums and rural areas because the neo-colonial

capitalist system must maintain high unemployment in order to maintain workers wages low and cart

away heavy profits. These workers cannot afford privatized medical services and privatized education

for their children. They die of diseases such as Malaria and Cholera because their only value to the

capitalist system is being used as an industrial reserve army to scare the employed workers against

demanding better pay for their work.

A CPK government will end this cycle of human life wastage by expanding the productive forces in

agriculture and manufacturing. To do this, the government will redistribute land resources so that

people who are trapped in joblessness in urban and rural areas have a way of engaging in national

production through agriculture. Further, those who are left out of employment in agriculture will be

absorbed in the value chain developed through investments in light and heavy industries.

Wastage of production, particularly agricultural production, is as old as the post-colonial Kenya. In the

current neo-colonial economic policy environment, production is driven by the profit motive or the

market forces of demand and supply instead of the domestic needs. Therefore, when the prices of

commodities fall because of unplanned supply or dumping of foreign products at cheaper prices,

producers are left with commodities that they have no use for. Farmers are demotivated to continue

with production, companies close down, workers are retrenched thus falling back to poverty and

national production falls drastically.

A CPK government will end this wastage through central economic planning. This will mean that every

production aspect will be aimed at meeting the particular consumption needs of the new Kenyan

society. In essence, the amount of wheat produced in the country as well as other agricultural produce

will be guided by the carefully analysed and understood consumption needs of the Kenyan society.

In the neo-colonial government, the State wastes public funds to maintain a heavily paid bureaucracy

that only serves to suppress the interests of the poor, peasants and working class and promoting the

Kenyan bourgeoisie and imperialism economic and political interests. From the Executive, the Judiciary,

the Legislature/s, what is visible is the orgy of huge salaries and privileges for people occupying the big

positions in these offices. These huge salaries and privileges make the positions coveted in the country

not because of the services they render to the Kenyan masses but because of the opportunities they

provide to amass personal wealth. These high salaries and privileges contribute to the situation where

people who put more time in production earn less and those that put less time in production earn more

income. This wastage is a major contributory factor the high levels of inequalities in the country.

To deal with this kind of wastage, a CPK government would abolish the salary differentiation between

workers engaged in productive activities and workers in government bureaucracy. To do this, the CPK

government would cut the salaries of State officers to the level of average workers wages and abolish

the various privileges that go with such State offices such as car grants, mortgages and the hefty sitting

allowances for government officials. By doing this, the CPK government will have transformed the

positions of State officers from positions of privilege to positions of service to humanity. By removing

the privileges and the hefty perks, the government will make the positions less lucrative and therefore

accessible to the working-class members who want to serve the workers interests in such positions.

National debt

Kenya was founded on the debt and grants from the British Government to the Imperial British East

Africa Company (IBEAC). The debt allowed IBEAC and later colonial administration to set up an

infrastructure and bureaucracy that would serve the extractive, exploitative and oppressive purposes.

The debt from the British government allowed IBEAC to acquire weapons which were used to grab land


from Kenyan communities, build the railway line, lease the land to white settlers, force African natives

into white owned farms as wage labourers, and set up prisons for dissidents across the country.

In other words, the illegitimate debt by the British government to the colonial administration were

aimed at promoting British Imperialist interests in Kenya. That initial debt by the British government

served to impoverish the native Africans while promoting the interests of British multinationals and

white settlers.

The repayment of the loans during the colonial days was financed by the labour of native Africans who

had been conscripted to work in white owned farms under deplorable conditions.

58 years after independence, Kenya is still mired in the debt trap. Economic planners in the current neo-

colonial Kenyan regime have been keen followers of the neoliberal policies and have been jumping from

one international lender to another with the false belief that a poor, backward and underdeveloped

country like Kenya will become developed through debt.

According to the most current publicly available public records, Kenyans national debt had ballooned to

Sh7 trillion by July 2020. Annual debt repayment according to Public Debt Management Report

presented to parliament in September 2020 is currently at Sh651.4 billion. In other words, out of the

Sh1.6 trillion collected in revenues by Kenya Revenue Authority last year, 40 percent went to pay off

loans. The repayment for 2020 is more than double the amount allocated to the 47 counties in equitable

share of national revenue. Last year, the total amount of funds allocated to county government as the

share of equitable national revenue was Sh310 billion.

One does not have to be a prophet to see that the neo-colonial government has put the country into a

dark hole where it is impossible to fathom any financing strategy for any meaningful or sustainable

poverty eradication program. In fact, the treasury has given the first indication that the government will

need to acquire more debt in order to finance its budget for 2021/2022.

A CPK government would get Kenya out of this debt trap. First, the CPK government would reject

illegitimate debt imposed on Kenyans through corruption and greed. A lot of the debt in the national

debt was incurred to facilitate fraud and corruption. People responsible for incurring such illegitimate

debt would be put in jail and their property auctioned to repay it. Further, the government will declare a

15-year unilateral default on the debt tied to imperialism. At the same time, a CPK government would

negotiate for debt moratorium with socialist States such as China and also seek further solidarity

support in the country’s endeavour to transform people’s lives. This would save the country close to

Sh400 billion a year and allow the government to use its national revenues to increase production in

agriculture, finance light and heavy industries as well as build and equip the social welfare



Since independence, the successive neo-colonial capitalist regimes in Kenya have been on a drive to

concentrate the country’s natural resources and public services in the hands of a few people, mainly

foreign multinationals and ruling elite.

To the ruling elite and their advisors from Western imperialist nation nations, public assets and

corporation are judged not for the services and the goods they provide to the general public but on the

basis of how much profit they make.


Public land including forest land, land set aside for research facilities, aviation land and industrial land

has been sub-divided among the political and economic elite robbing the public of the benefits that

would accrue from proper utilization of those assets for the purpose they were set aside for.

In the 1990’s, with the backing of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, the ruling elite set

off on the biggest attack on public assets and services through privatization. State corporations that

were providing essential services to the public such transportation (Kenya Airways, Kenya Railways,

Kenya Bus Service), oil refining, electric power generation and distribution (Kengen, KPLC), banking

(Kenya Commercial Bank, National Bank) and telecommunication (Safaricom) were placed in the hands

of joint interests of multinationals and the local political and economic elite.

Because of the obsession with the profit motive, workers in the State corporations were retrenched to

make the organisations attractive to private interests.

Further, an attack on public education and healthcare was orchestrated through the twin tactic of

underfunding of public service institutions and increase in commercial funding for private schools and

healthcare facilities.

Currently, the onslaught on public service institutions has been taken a notch higher through funding of

the operations of private universities from the exchequer and operations of the private hospitals from

the national hospital insurance fund.

The total effect of the privatization drive is that it has pushed majority of Kenyans from accessing critical

services such as transportation, health care and education. It has led to a situation where former State

corporations are stripped off valuable assets to generate profits for the new owners before they are

abandoned as empty shells.

A CPK government would put an end to this privatization and would also work to nationalize crucial

public assets that have been put into private hands. To do this, the CPK government will increase

funding to public service institution and monitor them effectively to ensure they offer the best service to

the public. Further, the CPK government would annul the privatization act and disband the privatization

commission. It would also annul the public private partnership act. To guide the process of getting back

State assets from private hands, the CPK government would enact a nationalization act.

By carrying out these economic measures, the CPK government will be safeguarding workers jobs and

ensuring public services are provided in the most efficient way and by the best human resources

available. It will also be reducing the cost of living for the poor and thereby improving the quality of life

for every Kenyan.


The alternative economic policies outlined above are revolutionary in nature and seek to put the

management and benefits of the economic outputs in the hands of the majority. They are geared

towards supporting the eradication of extreme poverty, expansion of the productive forces and

improvement of the quality of life for the poor people, farmers and the working class.

They are based on the Party’s understanding that neo-colonial capitalist policies have failed to end

poverty in Kenya for the last 58 years. With the clarity on the main reasons of failures of capitalism, the

policy choices by the party are aimed at transforming Kenya from a neo-colonial capitalist country to a

socialist State.

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