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Season of promises as Jubilee, Nasa set to unveil manifestos

Friday June 16 2017

President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses residents of Sotik, Bomet County

President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses residents of Sotik, Bomet County, on June 16, 2017. Jubilee Party has been at pains highlighting its development agenda. PHOTO | TONNY OMONDI | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

By IBRAHIM ORUKO

The battle of ideas between two main coalitions is expected to go a notch higher next week when both President Uhuru Kenyatta and his main challenger, Mr Raila Odinga, launch their manifestos and outline to Kenyans the promises they intend to fulfill should they be elected on August 8.

Mr Odinga, the joint Opposition presidential candidate, will be the first to unveil Nasa's blueprint on Monday in an event that will be televised live by all major stations.

President Kenyatta is expected to launch the Jubilee Party manifesto on Wednesday.

FUNDS FOR COUNTIES

However, some sources in the party had earlier said that the date for the event had not been set and that the matter was being handled with utmost secrecy.

Previews of what a Raila administration will offer Kenyans have been filtering through in the campaign rallies.

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“Nasa will revive agriculture and make sure prices of basic commodities go down,” Mr Odinga said in Tharaka Nithi.

His chief campaigner, Mr Musalia Mudavadi, also said that a Nasa government will give counties 45 per cent of the national Budget if the coalition wins.

INCLUSIVE GOVERNANCE
A Nasa strategist told the Saturday Nation that the coalition will anchor its manifesto on delivering the promise of the Constitution, which he said will be aiming to unite Kenyans.

“It shall be big on devolution, inclusive governance and people-centred bottom up development. It will be an ideological, aspirational document, not a bucket list of promises,” he said.

Free secondary education is one of the key elements of the manifesto, with the party promising that this will become a reality when schools re-open for the third term in September.

RAILWAY
On the other hand, Jubilee Party has been at pains highlighting its development agenda.

Expanding infrastructure is likely to be one of its key pledges in its manifesto.

Already, the party has indicated that it will be extending the Standard Gauge Railway to Naivasha.

It also expected to continue with its electrification programme with the government having shown interest in generating more electricity.

CRUCIAL SECTORS

Jubilee has also been borrowing to finance the building of roads, a key plank in its 2013 manifesto.

Besides infrastructure, both President Kenyatta and his deputy, Mr William Ruto, have also promised to offer free secondary education when the new school year begins in January.

In the 2013, both the Cord and Jubilee coalitions had more or less similar set of proposals.

Cord had a 10-point blueprint that focused on job creation, food security, improvement of security, social equality, health care and poverty reduction.

JOB CREATION
Jubilee Coalition on the other hand had a 9-point manifesto anchored on pursuing honest and transparent government, with public services that are open and accountable to the people and a commitment to ending corruption.

The other promises were full implementation of the Constitution, devolution and the protection of citizens’ rights and freedoms, job creation, streamlining government and extending basic services such as water and electricity to all Kenyans.

Both coalitions promised job creations with Jubilee committing itself to creating one million jobs every year whereas Cord didn’t not commit itself to any specific figure.

INFORMAL SECTOR
In its latest numbers, Jubilee said it was creating over 800,000 jobs annually.

According to the Economy Survey, most of these new jobs were in the informal sector.

Jubilee had also promised to reduce wastage in government and ensure that public resources are spent wisely.

It has also pledged to equip and modernise the security forces.

DISPLACED PEOPLE
The security forces were to adopt a “buy Kenyan procurement and maintenance sub-contracting policy” to support domestic businesses; a shakeup of the National Intelligence Service and to enhance and invest in a specialist Anti-Terrorism Unit with the professional expertise to tackle groups such as Al-Shabaab.

The coalition had also promised to promote affirmative action, resettle all IDPs - whether Mau Forest Evictees, Post-election Violence IDPs and squatters in the Coast.

CORRUPTION
A source in Jubilee said this time round, the party’s manifesto will have seven key planks.

However, the source declined to reveal them, saying they were still a closely-guarded secret.

It has had a mixed score card on these pledges.

Though it has generally done well on infrastructure, it has fared poorly in tackling corruption and as recently as this week, the President was issuing cheques to IDPs in Kisii.

FOOD PRICES
President Kenyatta’s critics have also accused him of selectively dolling out title deeds for political reasons.

Nasa has been critical of the President’s performance, blaming the ruling party for the high cost of living driven largely by the rising cost of basic and staple food commodities such as flour.

“Nasa has the solution to the unbearable cost of living that has reduced the hardworking Kenyans to beggars,” Mr Odinga said during a campaign rally in Tharaka Nithi today.

“Our promises are true, unlike those of Jubilee that will never be fulfilled.”

ETHNIC HATRED
However, while campaigning in Bomet, President Kenyatta accused Mr Odinga of stoking ethnic animosity.

“This is not a road we want to tread on. We are peace lovers,” he said.

The President and his deputy singled out Mr Odinga’s recent remarks on land ownership in Laikipia, Kajiado and at the Coast.

He said such statements were bound to create fresh animosities between communities, which had co-existed peacefully.

POST-ELECTION VIOLENCE
The President accused Nasa leaders of ‘walking on the same path they followed when ethnic violence occurred after the 2007 elections’, pointing out that this is the main reason they were interfering with the electoral commission’s work ahead of elections.

“You all remember what such utterances led to in 2007. Blood was shed, people lost lives and their property.

"After getting what he wanted (Prime Minister’s position), he (Mr Odinga) then blamed us for perpetrating the violence,” the President told hundreds of supporters at Bomet Green Stadium.

BOMET GOVERNORSHIP
Governor Isaac Ruto, during the campaigns that took the Jubilee leaders to Chemaner, Sigor, Sotik and Mogogosiek, was also not spared, with both President Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto accusing him of dining with individuals who wanted them jailed at The Hague.

President Kenyatta told Bomet residents not to be cheated by Governor Ruto to support Nasa because “it was headed for an embarrassing defeat on August 8”.

“You should reject him because he has chosen to work with the people who don’t care about your interests. Will you follow that man into the wilderness?" the President said, while urging them to vote in Deputy Speaker Joyce Laboso as governor.

BUILDING COLLEGE
Similar sentiments were also raised by the DP, who accused Governor Ruto of being a stumbling block to development projects.

Speaking in Kalenjin language, the DP cited the construction of Moi University’s constituent college in Bomet as one of the projects the governor had opposed.

“He was rooting for a dumpsite to be constructed at the site where we had earmarked to put up the university,” the DP said.

PLEDGES

In earlier campaigns this week, Mr Kenyatta urged voters to review Jubilee’s development record and give him and his team a second term to continue with the work they had started.

This means the Jubilee manifesto will be big on continuity.

A source also said that social protections will form a key plank of the party’s election pledge as President Kenyatta seeks a second and final term.

Additional reporting Ibrahim Oruko, Collins Omulo, Dave Opiyo and Geoffrey Rono