These are "different times" in the Kenyan political scene. This is because the executive is keen to implement its ambitious pledges without blinking, unlike before. One of this hotly debated pledge is equipping five-year-olds with laptops.
Some people are surprised; others have actively opposed the idea. However, questions have arisen regarding the wisdom behind bringing some pledges to fruition.
Given the limited resources at the government's disposal and other "pressing" matters, why not reprioritize resources to ending poverty or other projects that are deemed to produce greater impact? The need to feed the hungry or hire more teachers or build better schools is often cited to justify scrapping the program.
Another concern is: Has the governement done due diligence to ensure the program doesn't turn into a scandal? Has the governement fallen for the technology fallacy --believing that technology is the panacea of all our problems?
Does it make economic sense?
When these questions, among others, are considered, it becomes plausible to kill the program. Kenyans are eager to let the president off from fulfilling this promise. He should seize the opportunity. It is said that a wise man changes his mind; a fool, never. The president would be wise to reallocate resources to projects that will yield greater benefits for the country. How about injecting the money into the economy to stimulate job creation? Or even speeding up the expansion of urban roads to eliminate traffic jams that result in billions being lost? Or channeling the funds to fighting crime and making the country safe?
I am among the skeptics of the Laptops project. It is largely going to be a waste of money and a nuisance. As one commentator put it, handling a billion pieces of electronic waste, when the agencies are being overwhelmed by household waste, will ba a nightmare. Not only am I concerned that the devices will become waste quickly but, given the illiteracy and poverty in most families, the gadgets will likely just lie unused or sold to help buy food or clothes. Besides, I don't think 6-year-olds know how to take care of an electronic device that is susceptible to damage from water, dust, breaking after falling e.t.c