Coalition manifestos will be game changer in polls
The 2022 election is probably going to be the most consequential election. Already Raila Odinga and William Ruto; the two major protagonists portend a fairly clear departure from what we have seen in the past.
In Raila, we have a taller than life reformist who has since embraced a legacy and people centric approach, while Ruto comes out as a shrewd grassroot mobiliser and go getter of sort.
Whoever wins, Kenya is poised to realise a fairly radical change in our politics. And then throw in Prof George Wajackoyah. Besides the top contenders, the consequent nature of these elections is in our democracy.
The Azimio la Umoja manifesto is already eliciting very profound conversations. In fact, the way it is written is departs for the big economic jargons and aspiration of progress to a document that is productive in approach and speaks in a language that resonates with majority of the people.
You see, we’ve had manifestos that are big on the economy, the infrastructure and the Constitution but Azimio is moving away from that to people driven kind of economic revolution agenda. A look of the Azimio agenda speaks of a revolution of our economy through the distribution of the manufacturing industry.
Building at least one new productive industry in the 47 counties has a fairly wider economic ripple effect.
The mitumba industry, for instance, can help situate the transformative economic effect. Today, slightly more two million Kenyans are beneficiary of the mitumba industry, and this is basically the traders and probably a few cartels. On the flipside this industry has more jobs exported to the countries where these mitumba originate from. What a productive and agile manufacturing sector will do is create all those jobs and a wider value chain that goes beyond the traders.
From the farmers in the agricultural sector to the factory workers and the different professionals with different expertise and then the traders minus cartels. The entire value chain addresses unemployment.
The mitumba conversation elicited by the Azimio manifesto has opened up the eyes of many Kenyans to the reality of our own textile industry and the attendant manufacturing sector has a consequent effect and a wider value chain anchored on direct jobs associated with industrial growth.
In Kenya today, the service industry is the biggest employer and when we blindly focus on the two million folks in the mitumba industry, we miss a big chunk of the service industry jobs we are exporting to other countries. With a gradual growth of the textile industry most of these direct and service-related jobs will come to the country.
Disposable income builds economies and the work of governments in building economies should not just focus on consumption, but on building a productive industrial base.
Consequently, the economic forces of production, demand and supply will create a market system that is self sustaining. The government’s headache then will be providing an enabling framework for fair competition that will guarantee access to quality products from anywhere in the world while at the same time protecting local production industries because of their value in the economy.
When an economy is anchored on production and a vibrant manufacturing sector, it is a win win for both the citizens and the government.
Back to the consequential election and it is interesting to note that the battle of winning the four million undecided voters rests with the manifestos.
Azimio has given us their manifesto and the encouraging levels of engagements with their promises seems to suggest that Kenya Kwanza has to outdo itself and as we will be discoursing what they will unveil, we will be celebrating the beginning of this culture of engagement with the political class.
—The writer is a PhD student in Political Communication and Media Studies