By STEPHEN MAKABILA
The question of whether attractive manifestos by leading political parties or likely alliances could sway presidential poll results in the coming elections remains debatable.
There are those who argue, for example, in 2007, most major parties’ mission statements focus on social protection programmes aimed at cushioning Kenyans from biting poverty.
And as the coming election draws nearer, political parties have embarked on formulation of their election blueprints. The public, too, must revisit manifestos of political parties and decide who, among top presidential contenders, offer the best hope for the country.
“The public has also the role of ensuring leaders do not make pledges they cannot fulfil or mislead the people of Kenya through empty promises and rhetoric,” noted lawyer Justin Muturi, the Chairman of the Centre for Multi-Party Democracy.
Teachers make demands
Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta has already indicated his new The National Alliance party was a political vehicle for the youth and would be ideologically driven, Prime Minister Raila Odinga has indicated his ODM party will launch its manifesto soon while Ford-Kenya under the chairmanship of Trade Minister Moses Wetangula had its team of experts retreat to Mombasa to develop its blue-print.
Ford-Kenya Executive Director Stephen Namusyule said the party’s retreat in Mombasa last weekend had made progress on development of its manifesto.
“We have identified five pillars which will be tabled before the National Executive Committee next week for approval,” added Namusyule.
The Kenya National Union of Teachers, for example, has vowed to ensure it supports a presidential candidate whose political party has a friendly manifesto for teachers and education sector as a whole.
“We are only going to elect a leader who has the interests of the country’s education sector at heart,” said Knut national chairman Wilson Sossion.
In 2002, Sossion said, teachers supported the Kibaki presidency because the then Narc coalition offered to clear salary increment phases that had earlier been negotiated by the Kanu regime in the late 1990s.
Central Organisation of Trade Unions Secretary-General Francis Atwoli has also indicated workers would either support a candidate with a friendly manifesto or field a candidate of its own.
In 2007, the then PNU coalition had a 10-point manifesto that was launched by Kibaki, with key areas being free basic education, tuition-free technical training in youth polytechnics, free treatment in public health facilities for enrolled children under age five, free antenatal or post-natal care and financing of social welfare and job creation for youth.