Inside Raila manifesto ahead of launch today
The Opposition coalition will today unveil its manifesto as it seeks to take over leadership of the country on August 8. Manifesto highlights seen by The Standard indicate a NASA government would build a unified nation where politics of exclusion, exploitation of the many by a few and graft would be history. The coalition pledges to foster nationhood by ensuring creation of more vibrant industries and putting in place financial austerity measures to avoid abuse of public funds. The manifesto focuses on key sectors such as education, health, security and social safety nets, business, social care and infrastructure. The alliance comprises presidential candidate Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka’s Wiper Democratic Movement, Bungoma senator Moses Wetangula’s Ford Kenya, Musalia Mudavadi’s Amani National Congress (ANC) and Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto’s Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM).
On devolution, NASA promises to transfer all the devolved functions to the county governments as mandated by the Constitution, as well as provide resources commensurate with the functions. “We will delegate the responsibility for primary and secondary school infrastructure to the county governments. We will create a framework for security collaboration between the national and county governments,” reads the manifesto in part. On corruption, the Opposition pledges to be transparent in everything it does. “We will raise the bar on ethics and integrity higher than ever before; higher than the threshold set by the law. This is our promise to Kenyans. There will be no sacred cows. The culture of impunity will end on day one,” it adds. The Opposition says it envisages a country where no child is called a “school drop out” and where every young person joins the world of work with a skill or a profession. On Agriculture, NASA promises to increase maize yields from 8.5 to 12.5 bags per acre over the next five years and eliminate dependence on rain-fed agriculture through water harvesting and small scale irrigation. The coalition further pledges to mount a public-private partnership to scale up affordable housing development with a target of delivering 500,000 units of affordable housing units, over the next five years.
The Opposition has also focused on debt, accusing the Jubilee administration of doubling public debt and outlining its remedy to the problem. “Moreover, the Jubilee administration has eschewed the long-term soft loans from development finance institutions we have relied on in the past, in favour of expensive short-term commercial bank loans, resulting in the cost of servicing the debt rising faster than the debt itself,” it says of Jubilee’s borrowing spree. It continues: “While foreign debt has increased two-fold from Sh880 billion in 2013 to Sh1,890 billion this year, a growth of 115 per cent, the cost of servicing it has increased by 220 per cent from Sh34 billion to Sh108 billion. We are now living in permanent debt refinancing mode. The Jubilee government has put the country on a debt treadmill.” The document explains that the main objective of the sovereign bond taken by Jubilee was to reduce domestic borrowing to bring down domestic interest rates and to stop crowding out the private sector from domestic market. But far from reducing the appetite, the administration, NASA says, doubled both foreign and domestic debt. This has made the capping of interest rates counter-productive by making lending to Government even more attractive than lending to the private sector. “This is the road to economic ruin. We must ensure that we get off this road right now or we perish economically as a nation,” reads the document.