Ruto five pledges to Kenyans if he wins election
Deputy President William Ruto on Thursday, June 30 presented his manifesto detailing what he intends to do if elected the country’s fifth President.
He made the Five-Agenda promise in a colourful event held at the Moi International Stadium in Kasarani, Nairobi that was streamed live on television stations last evening.
The DP unpacked his agenda through a document billed as a Hustlers’ Manifesto that aims at improving the lives of millions of Kenyans by creating jobs, reducing the cost of living, increasing the number of affordable homes and spurring industrialisation as he crafted his message to resonate with his support base.
Manifestos are normally for candidates to show how serious they are with their elective bids although past opinion surveys have shown that they do not have much impact on how people eventually vote. However, they can also be used to hold the leaders accountable if they win elections.
However, during the event that was headlined by its alliance’s newest slogan ‘Freedom is Coming’, Ruto, took it upon himself to show he had the interest and the brains to lead the nation as he unveiled his agenda for the country within 38 days to the August 9 General Election.
The DP, who has modelled his presidential bid around the Bottom-Up Economic model, also took time to explain why he thought the model was best for the country, which he said has become used to trickle-down development.
Ruto’s manifesto is anchored on five pillars he believes will drive the nation to prosperity within the first term in office if they are properly financed and implemented.
The pillars were consolidated after the Kenya Kwanza Bottom-Up Economic Forums that were held across the country and which were aimed at fine-tuning the document so that it reflects the aspirations of supporters.
In the forums, the DP said they came face to face with the sufferings of Kenyans as a result of the high cost of food, the high level of unemployment among the youth and the high cost of health services.
From the conversations, Kenya Kwanza moulded its manifesto to focus on Agriculture and Food Security, Medium, Small, and Medium Enterprises and Financing, Housing, Health Access as well as Information Communication Technology and Creative Economy.
With Kenyans struggling under a high cost of living that has forced the outgoing administration to institute measures to reduce the cost of maize flour, the DP said his government will put agriculture at the centre of his administration, saying this will raise the living standards of the majority of Kenyans.
He said good investment in the sector will improve the production of adequate food for the whole country.
He took a swipe at President Kenyatta who he recently blamed the cost of living on the Russian war in Ukraine.
“This story about Ukraine and everything else is a lost cause,” he said. “If we had not withdrawn the fertilizer subsidies under the Big Four agenda, we would not have the crisis we are today.”
He said agriculture will help the country deal with the high levels of unemployment by also driving industrialisation.
“Investing in agriculture is investing in jobs,” he said, arguing that about half of all industries in Kenya are agriculture-based.
Ruto said Kenya Kwanza will ensure farmers can raise productivity to at least eight to 15 bags of maize per acre and 2.5-7.5 litres of milk per cow per day. His administration, he said, would invest Sh250 billion in the agriculture sector.
On Housing, the Kenya Kwanza Alliance plans to build at least 250,000 a year. The plan is to achieve this through structuring affordable long-term housing finance schemes that will guarantee the purchase of houses from developers.
Ruto said he will come up with programmes that will ensure that even workers earning as low as Sh10,000 can own a house in about 15 years.
With the squatter challenge that has remained a campaign agenda for ages, Ruto plans to establish a Settlement Fund to be used to acquire pieces of land to settle millions of the landless people around the country, specifically on the Coast.
“To avoid excessive subdivision of land, the land bought under these schemes will be subject to land use planning where beneficiaries will own transferable residential plots in a planned settlement, and a right to lease non-transferable agricultural land,” he said, promising to allocate Sh50 billion to the sector every year.
On MSMEs, the DP said Kenya Kwanza will put most of its energies towards ensuring the reliability and profitability of MSMEs to benefit the millions of youthful citizens relying on the sub-sector.
He said an estimated 10 million informal workers were in the MSME sector but most of them were earning Sh5,000 and below every month.
To support the sector, a Hustlers’ Fund with an injection of Sh50 billion every year to support the sub-sector.
“These 10 million people, who represent half of Kenya’s workforce, are the country’s biggest opportunity but remain the most underutilised resource. Our estimates show that if these workers were as productive as those in established SMEs, they would be generating Sh6 trillion a year, which is 60 per cent of GDP,” he said.
On health, Ruto plans to establish an Afya Bora Mashinani programme that will be a primary healthcare-based approach that will give priority to preventive and promotive services at the grassroots.
Kenya Kwanza also aims to build six more Level Six hospitals in Kakamega, Embu, Mombasa, Bomet, Garissa and Machakos.
“We will establish multi-disciplinary teams to take primary health care services to the grassroots as envisioned in our bottom-up healthcare model,” he said.
If elected, Ruto’s administration will also roll out 100,000km of fibre optic cables to increase the availability and improve the reliability of internet connection countrywide. This, he said, will involve connecting all schools, markets and hospitals with the internet to lower the cost of communication. He said the money to do this, about Sh15 billion is already available and had been proposed to build a hotel. However, he said, if he wins, the priority will be changed to create a good environment for more digitally-based businesses to grow and create more job opportunities.
On Education, he promised to employ more than 100,000 teachers in the next two years to seal the shortage that has affected teaching standards. His government, if elected, will also improve the capacity of day secondary schools “to guarantee access to quality education and reduce the cost of education”.
The alliance plans to establish a National Skill and Funding Council that will amalgamate the HELB, TVET and University Funding Board.
They also plan to fully equip technical training and vocational education training institutions in the remaining 52 constituencies within the first two years in office.
On education, he said the sector is in crisis, especially universities, which he is underfunded.
On basic education, he said: “We will double the amount of money allocated to the school feeding programme to immediately raise the number of beneficiaries from two million to four million and to provide conditional grants to county governments to raise the numbers to eight million”.