Dear President William Ruto, Consider Establishing a Ministry for Industrial Quality Leadership

By Alexander Opicho  (Nairobi, Kenya)
President William Ruto (Kenyan President)
President William Ruto (Kenyan President)

Dear, Mr. President, Dr. William Ruto, you are doing a very good job. In fact you are a public testimony of effective governance.Dont be disturbed by those yapping, carping and maundering around. Ignore them, they are men and women without consequence. They were not meant for great things, this is evident in their traditional thought system tuned on becoming great by betraying others. I hope they will learn from you- You have derived your political excellency from you social habit of making others great, not betraying friends and comrades. But they cannot learn, they are like foolish Galatians, no one can help to tell who bewitched them, and their dream for selfish power has an example in the image of a snake that wants to be great by swallowing its own tail. That is that.

Mr. President, organization of your government is admirable, choice of your Ministers is redolent of conscience. But I only want to bring to your attention one competitive technicality that often escapes attention of most African governments. Mr. President this technicality is about lack of political commitment to Industrial Quality. For example Mr. President, your leadership is focussed on managing Kenya as a ‘hustler nation’ which is euphemism for customer-centric-nation or ‘market-consciousness nation’. This means that our economic livelihood is derived from production and sell of services as well as commodities. Not only on our local Kenyan market but at a global market. Unfortunately, no economy can compete on a global market without collective political commitment to industrial quality across all the sectors.

Mr President, the word quality in this juncture means ‘capacity, ability and effectiveness’ in satisfying a customer or the user of your goods and services. Thus, in this context industrial quality means capacity, ability and effectiveness of Kenya’s industrial products and services to satisfy and even delight the users on the local as well as global market. Mr President, as of today the only products in Kenya that have good service quality level are MPESA, Athletes and Maasai traditional Dancers. The rest of the economy is in a state of mediocrity when it comes to industrial quality as expected by the standards on the world market. This is a challenge in the sense that no economy can survive dynamics of world competition by relying on a domestic industrial environment that is basically mediocrous.

Mr. President, Asian economies are doing well because of their national industrial cultures that are quality-focussed. Toyota towers above all other automobile manufacturers on the world market because of nothing but high level of quality of the Toyota products. It is the same case with Samsung, China road engineers and Russian wine makers. The respective quality excellence observed in Toyota products and Russian wine is an overtone of national-wide commitment to quality, courtesy of political commitment to industrial quality culture. This is the kind of commitment only to be achieved by having a special ministry for Industrial total quality leadership.

Mr. President, don’t be tempted by the status quo to think that Kenya Bureau of Standard (KEBS), ISO 9000 CERTIFICATION and Ministry of Trade &Industry can give us the Industrial quality level capable to put Kenya in a competitive position on the world market. They cannot. They have been here for years as Kenya’s manufacturing and service economies continue to suffer from continued shake-out from the world market. Mr. President, you are already aware that most of the companies in Kenya that have gone under receivership within the past twenty years had ISO 9000 CERTIFICATION.

Mr. President, the shameful history of the ever shrinking manufacturing sector in Kenya within the past three decades is clear evidence that ISO CERTIFICATION is not a strategy when it comes to industrial competition at global market. Mr. President, I am not in any way malicious by pointing out to you that Kenya Bureau of Standard (KEBS) is a mere case of Industrial Palimpsest. Mr. President, the word ‘palimpsest’ means a document that has lost its content, a euphemism for an out-dated institution. And hence, I don’t see any reason why such an institution should benefit from tax-payers money, whether in Kenya or any other place in the world, especially the Global South.

Mr President, I want to persist that Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) lost its war on defective product quality and defective service quality. It is endemic technical incompetence let it to be swamped in the mistaken focus on hunting for defective products that are already circulating on the market. Unfortunately, effective quality is never achieved by removing defective products from circulation on the market, but instead effective quality can only be achieved through pre-emptive industrial culture and habit of Excellency that effectively forestalls possibility of defective production at the initial stage of planning for production but not inspection of commodities after production. In the technical language of industrial quality leadership, this strategy is known as Quality Function Deployment (QFD), it must be part of Kenya’s and Africa’s industrial culture within all the productive and value additive economic sectors ranging from Agriculture, Factories, Hotels, conference services, higher education, hospitals, tourism, mining, Transport, consultancy, textile, tailoring, furniture, coffin making, curio-shops, blue-industries and any other economic sectors that serve local customers as well as global markets.

Mr. President, I know you are an avid reader, and hence, I want to attract your attention to the book known as Anatomy of Failure-Why America Losses War it Starts by Professor Harlan Ullman. Mr. President, I certainly believe that this book will give you the clear logic of why it can be collective foolishness for any nation to compete on the global market when it has no a special weapon known as ‘strong domestic industrial quality culture’.

Mr. President it is under the light of the above that we the people of Kenya are asking you to take a revolutionary step and establish a ministry of Industrial Quality Leadership obliged with one obligation - to ensure that services and goods from Kenya strongly compete with Japanese and Chinese products for customers on the world market.

Mr. President, you understand Kenya is a pace-setting economy in Africa when it comes to war on poverty and bad governance. Thus, this letter is deliberately open, for all the players in planning for Africa’s and Global Southern industrial development to learn one or two things from its contents. The letter is open out of the Pan-African spirit that Kenya is only used as a micro-representation of all the economies in Africa and the rest of the poor world. The economies in the poor world are in imperative need for strong industrial quality culture in order to survive the market system of economic development, to survive wiles of capitalism.

Alexander Opicho writes from Nairobi [email protected]