Last night as Americans voted, I was engaged in a Twitter debate with another Tweep on the policies of the two Presidential candidates. Though limited by the 140 characters, the debate was interesting and made me question what policies from Kenya’s 2013 Presidential hopefuls were worth debating on.
It is rather unfortunate that we, Kenyans, have failed to interrogate the issues that some of the hopefuls have raised in their manifestos or policy-statements. Instead, and with the help of a competitive media (I included), have often engaged in sideshows that is often manifested by a war of words among the politicians. We, in the media, have also failed to highlight these policies and instead dwell on sideshows and the pomp and colour that we see at the launches.
Some of the hopefuls are yet to clearly tell us of the vision they have for the country even as we approach the nomination dates and the actual elections. We are more concerned with who forms an alliance with who, even when we are not sure whether their policies and ideologies are even similar.
I have closely followed the Kenya Presidential hopefuls’ launches now and again. Below is an analysis of what they have told as they stand for and would wish to use as the platform on which they will be seeking votes ahead of the 2013 election. Some are still expected to launch their manifestos but have often made statements that can be perceived to be their policy-statements.
Before, I look at the hopefuls and in my opinion, the implementation of the Constitution is not an option and therefore should not be used as a campaign tool. Kenyans passed the Constitution and expect it to be fully implemented.
Raila Odinga – ODM
When Raila launched his new campaign website, he set out his agenda for Kenya, if elected President. Raila’s priority is to support the full implementation and operationalisation of the Constitution. He also says that he will form an inclusive government that promotes the rule of law while protecting and respecting the rights of every citizen as enshrined in the Bill of Rights. Raila will also consciously strive for equitable resource allocation across regions, as well as wealth creation and employment opportunities across the Republic. As President, Raila will promote Social Protection, to cushion the urban and rural poor and other marginalized and vulnerable populations in our society. He also says that he will promote nationalism and Kenyaphilia; the love for our country among our people under the banner of One Kenya, One People, One Nation, even as we enjoy our national diversity.
Uhuru Kenyatta – TNA
While launching his party, TNA, Uhuru also outlined his agenda which he sold as the new outfit’s policy-statement for Kenya.. Key among Uhuru’s priorities are empowering farmers to ensure that the get more out of their activities and this he says will be done through subsidies and elimination of middlemen. Uhuru’s agenda also places emphasis on enhancing entrepreneurship as a way of dealing with unemployment among the youth. Uhuru also says that his government will focus on environmental sustainability as well as ensuring pensioners get better schemes to help them enjoy their sunset days through a revolving fund and robust medical scheme. Uhuru also promises policies to enhance talent development as a way of capitalising on Kenya’s various capabilities especially in sports. Uhuru also says that his government will engage with other world leaders to foster bi-lateral relations and negotiate for economic opportunities that benefit Kenya without compromising its sovereignty. He also promises to boost Constitutionalism, cohesion and tolerance and fight tribalism.
Musalia Mudavadi -UDF
When Musalia officially crossed over to UDF from ODM, he said that his government would focus on restructuring agriculture where eggs produced in Kenya should not be more expensive than imported eggs from Israel. Musalia adds that this will create a minimum of1.5 million jobs for our young people within his term in office. In education, he says he will not complain about the high dropout rate at secondary level but will tell how to stop the hemorrhage of young talents, ensuring that all pupils acquire secondary education and technical skills through equipping 1,000 youth polytechnics. He adds that his government will also focus on how to assist small and medium enterprises, the jua kali, to create millions of jobs. Under Musalia’s presidency, UDF is to implement the spirit and letter of the Constitution as desired and mandated by Kenyans while ensuring accountable and transparent systems and institutions in Kenya. He also says that his policies to be revealed when he officially launch his bid will cover the economy, infrastructure development, health, security, ICT, energy, regional and international engagements, among others.
Martha Karua – Narc-Kenya
Karua announced her bid for the presidency over three years ago but it was only early this year that she outlined her agenda. Fighting corruption, infrastructural development, creation of jobs and food security will be the key priorities of a Karua-led government if she is elected president. Karua also has universal healthcare, a comprehensive education system and a robust foreign policy as her other key priorities if she forms the next government. Her government will work towards eroding erode the power of impunity through a new spirit of Constitutionalism. She adds that she is in the race to State House defend the Constitution as a framework of that hope which guarantees all Kenyans a life of dignity and equality. She also says that she will fight corruption from the front-line and inspire a new faith in our public service. Karua’s government will expand, improve and maintain transport, water, ICT and energy infrastructure as a key to development. he also wants to prioritise clean, renewable and affordable energy for industry and homes. She adds that Kenya must avoid all ill-advised technological obsessions like Nuclear mis-adventurisms and instead provide bold support for homegrown innovators to build and secure Kenya’s position as a continental ICT hub. According to Karua, Kenya’s must aim for an economy that benefits all citizens especially the weak and vulnerable by sealing loopholes in the financial sector and reinforces fiscal discipline across government. Karua also want to reduce income tax burden by broadening tax bracket and eradicating official corruption that raises tax on energy, food and essential commodities. Karua’s government will also be committed to a national plan to reduce internal and external debt and also protect workers, reduce capital flight, and reward domestic job creators, industries and innovators through targeted incentives. Karua also says that investing in farmers while solving the distribution problems is key to ensuring sustainable national food security and her government will commit 10 per cent of the annual budget to agriculture as required by continental policy standards. Her government will operate on the understanding of the need for strengthening a comprehensive health system with focus on public education, preventive medicine and institutional recovery. It will also invest in Middle-level colleges, revamp and broaden scope of Youth Polytechnics, and revamp research support to public institutions. Ms Karua also says that her government will prioritise and invest in national security and also secure Kenya’s regional advantage and diaspora engagement through a robust foreign policy. She adds that she will ensure that her government defends Kenya’s territorial integrity and prioritize the safety and security of border communities.
Peter Kenneth – KNC
Last Sunday, Peter Kenneth or PK unveiled a four point economic growth plan that he will give priority if Kenyans elect him as Kenya’s fourth president. PK will focus on two major issues that are central to his campaign – Employment and Food Security. PK intends to tackle the above two problems by addressing 6 key pillars that must be properly in place in order to remedy the problems of employment and food security: Infrastructure, Security, Environment, Education, Healthcare and Water. PK’s presidency, he says, will use 4 key drivers to ensure the 6 pillars are flourishing: Tourism saying that 1.6 million tourists a year was below the country’s potential, Agriculture, Manufacturing and Technology. PK also promised to accelerate reforms in the Judiciary and ensure law-breakers are punished. He also said that his government will instill discipline in the management of the country and ensure Constitution is implemented.
For Ngilu, her policy statement she says is about a basic needs revolution! A revolution that will put food and water on every Kenyan table. A revolution that will ensure that every child in Kenya will get proper quality education. A revolution that will create wealth. A revolution that will ensure that every Kenyan gets affordable quality healthcare. A revolution that will ensure that will empower the Kenyan women to take their rightful place in developing this country. She says that the issues of food and water, healthcare, education, women empowerment and wealth creation will no longer be any other business (AOB) items on her government’s agenda. In her five years as president, Ngilu commits to make food and water accessible and affordable to all Kenyans. She also commits to ensure that all Kenyans get quality and affordable healthcare. She has also promised that Kenyan children and youth will get affordable, quality and relevant education that would make them competitive players in the world economy. Her government will also ensure that women are empowered to play their rightful role in the development of this nation. She adds that she will also ensure that every Kenyan is engaged in meaningful work and can afford a decent life.
I am still review other Presidential candidates and their promises, policies and commitments as most of those who are yet to launch their bids just make their promises at rallies and other public gatherings.
The key question is whether these are the aspirations of Kenyans and will we be voting because of rhetoric and ethnic grounding or belief that they can really deliver and give Kenya and Kenyans a better life.