Sunday, March 10, 2013

Kenyans keen to see how long Kenyatta government will take to deliver

Jubilee's William Ruto (second right) and President elect Uhuru Kenyatta (second left) with their spouses sing the national anthem at the Catholic University on March 9, 2013. Photo/DIANA NGILA

Jubilee's William Ruto (second right) and President elect Uhuru Kenyatta (second left) with their spouses sing the national anthem at the Catholic University on March 9, 2013. Photo/DIANA NGILA   NATION MEDIA GROUP

By SAMUEL SIRINGI ssiringi@ke.nationmedia.com

Land reform, the fight against corruption and issuing laptops to primary school pupils will be the major issues that will confront the Jubilee Coalition upon forming government following Saturday’s General Election victory.

Its detailed manifesto, Transforming Kenya: Securing Kenya’s Prosperity 2013-2017, contains a large number of mouthwatering but ambitious promises that President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President-in-waiting William Ruto must work hard to implement.

The manifesto also outlines major promises in agriculture, health and employment.

Land, a sensitive matter, was a major political campaign issue – one that the coalition’s opponents in the Coalition for Reform and Democracy led by Prime Minister Raila Odinga heavily anchored their campaigns on.

Specifically, Mr Odinga consistently asked Mr Kenyatta to surrender to the landless “tracts of land that his family owns”.

But Mr Kenyatta describes the land question as the “running sore that has poisoned relations between communities”.

“Land was the basis on which the war of Independence was waged; it is too serious a matter to become a political football; too much blood has been shed in this country for that,” he said when he launched the manifesto in the run-up to the March 4 General Election.

According to the manifesto, the coalition will repossess illegally occupied public land without compensation and prosecute land grabbers, especially government officials. The new government also pledged to make it possible for people living on land owned by the community — referred to in the Constitution as trust land — to get title deeds.

“Giving these people the right to own the land they live on will increase food production, create more investment, and improve housing and health,” Mr Kenyatta said.

Security for loans

By so doing, he said, the owners would take charge of their lives as they can use the land as security for loans or develop it as they wish. This would also reduce common disputes over ownership, he said.

“Kibera’s is some of the most valuable land in Nairobi. Rough estimates of its value put the worth of land there at over Sh60 billion,” he said.

The Jubilee manifesto also promises a massive expansion of land user ownership rights so that Kenyans who want to own their own homes are able to do so.

The manifesto says the coalition would focus on making primary healthcare free within the first 100 days of its administration.

This would be achieved through the release of funds for the purchase and supply of drugs and equipment for health centres, the abolition of fees in health centres and dispensaries, and the scrapping of maternity fees.

As part of its medical provision plan, the manifesto promises to reform the National Hospital Insurance Fund to end corruption and bureaucracy, and to ensure accountability and efficiency.

The agency, which is currently being investigated for possible corruption involving funds meant for the civil servants health scheme, will be transformed into an independent outfit run by contributors with a board.

A Jubilee government, the manifesto says, would push laws through Parliament to ensure children are in school until they reach 18 years.

Solar-powered laptops

Mr Kenyatta’s government also promised that all children enrolling in Standard One would be given solar-powered laptops equipped with relevant content.

The coalition promises to provide free milk for every primary school-going child while an ambitious education plan will see public secondary schools forced to admit half of all Form One students from public primary schools.

To help more women join Parliament, the coalition promises to amend the Constitution to ensure 48 slots are reserved for women in Parliament.

The coalition promises to put in place a policy of waivers and graduated stamp duty fees for first time home owners, with special consideration for youth, women and persons living with disability. It will also pursue a policy of lowering mortgage rates following similar successful models in other emerging economies.

The coalition promises to give the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission powers to prosecute corruption cases. It will also set up local anti-corruption boards at the county level.

The coalition government pledges to ban anyone convicted on corruption charges from working for government or any public sector job.

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