As the country approaches the highly anticipated elections, Kenyans would want to know which of the manifestos of the parties and coalitions has more creative and pragmatic policies for fixing what is ailing the country. Secondly, the question of who is more believable in turning promises into action will be fundamental on August 9th. A manifesto is a written declaration or a commitment to people that a party shall fulfill what they promise. Each party has its pillars and policies about what they want to fulfill.
This year, the manifestos that political parties have presented are appealing and thought through, they are coherent on issues that are at the heart of Kenyans such as healthcare, education, sanitation, food, manufacturing and job creation. If these promises were to be faithfully fulfilled, even gradually, Kenya would eventually be transformed in a way her citizens desire.
The issue of the economy has taken centerstage due to the current high cost of living that has left many Kenyans choking at the skyrocketing cost of food products. As Kenyans interrogate these documents, it will be important for them to pick out what is realistic and what is not based on our current fiscal status. For instance, to create employment, the Azimio coalition, recognizes the need to do more infrastructural projects and encourage manufacturing with the aim of attracting investments into the country. The Azimio manifesto has also set strategies on how to grow and sustain the juakali sector which accounts for over 60% of jobs and encourage bigger projects to employ the large number of unemployed youth.
Worth noting is the focus on the fight against corruption which has been a barrier to effective government operations, as many government employees are in business with the same government they serve, creating a conflict of interest that encourages corruption.
On gender equality and women empowerment, Azimio has promised enforcement of the ‘not more than two-thirds gender rule’ in elective or appointive bodies as provided for in the Constitution with the view to achieving gender parity.
On matters to do with welfare of the economically vulnerable and special interest groups, Azimio has promised to give a monthly stipend of Sh6000 for poor families in a social protection programme. Their manifesto also seeks to address the plight of widows and single mothers through financial literacy programs, reduction in the cost of healthcare and education and offering support services to help cushion them from the hardships of their losses. They will also improve access to government guaranteed funds and affordable credit to women.
The Azimio coalition is also championing for the Youth Economic Inclusivity by harnessing the current skills and knowledge base of the youth. The aim of this is to enhance their innovative abilities to enable them to become globally competitive.
The Kenya Kwanza brigade has committed to the envisioned bottom-up economics script dubbed ‘the plan’ which they intend to use as the breakthrough to the ailing economy of the country.
In the spirit of welfarism, the Kenya Kwanza team proposes to channel development funds to small-scale projects that use resources that are accessible to the urban and rural poor, they also promise to support small-scale farmers by injecting funds to buy inputs such as animal feeds, seeds and fertilizers. Additionally, they promise to create a Hustler Fund that is in line with the bottom-up economics model that aims to improve the lives of the poor people in the country. Similarly in the manufacturing sector, the coalition proposes to focus on medium small and micro projects instead of large projects that require heavy capital outlays.
Health and education which are enablers of progress get a good mention just like in the Azimio manifesto. Many Kenyans are pushed into extreme poverty each year because of out-of-pocket spending on health and education and so a proposal to lessen that burden is great relief.
They also seek to make mandatory the national insurance Fund (NHIF) and establishment of new level 6 hospitals in six new sites and hiring an initial 20,000 health care workers.
The Roots Party on the other hand, seeks to settle the country's Sh8.4 trillion debt by exporting bhang, mainly cultivated in the Mt Kenya region. To safeguard Kenya's earnings, the Wajakoyah-led party also proposes to publicly hang those convicted of corruption. This, however, has been a matter of contention as it brings about issues of gross violation of human rights. His ambitious plans also include passing over Nairobi's capital city status to Isiolo.
Finally, the Agano Party has pledged a general waiver of 50% PAYE, as well as a conducive environment for the private sector, individuals, and others to set up businesses in a bid to boost entrepreneurship.
The Agano party has also promised to implement the two-thirds gender rule in all appointive positions and enhance access to government procurement opportunities reservation to youth, women and people living with disability quota to 40%.
While these are the agendas outlined by the four presidential candidates, other parties with clearly outline manifestos have also fielded candidates who will have a duty to actualize these agendas. We, voters, now have the task to make a decision that is well informed through interrogation of the manifestos and candidates vis a vis our lived reality and expectations of the Constitution.
To the next government, the Kenyan citizen is better informed and more empowered and will, therefore, hold you to account should you fail to deliver as promised.
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