From the comfort of their posh homes and upmarket offices, there are many political leaders promising to address the country’s endemic problems yet they least understand them.
Many, especially those seeking high office, are far removed from the truth. Diagnosing a problem requires first-hand experience and appreciation of it. You don’t imagine solutions when you least appreciate a challenge.
When the Kenya Kwanza Alliance and its leader William Ruto began the talk about prioritising issues of the common man, which simply meant addressing problems of more than 85 per cent of Kenyans, the naysayers quickly branded it an attempt to incite class wars. Today, our nation is at crossroads in the election. We can either chose to elect a camp that largely represents interests of the privileged 15 per cent or one focused on uplifting the 85 per cent. As a seasoned politician, I believe in an empowered nation, one that carries along everyone within the united vision of growing the economy, improving social welfare and setting out a clear path for progress, social justice and equal opportunities.
The Azimio la Umoja team represents status quo. Azimio flagbearer Raila Odinga has had a long political career with little to show for it apart from disenfranchising institutions such as the electoral commission that he routinely blames for his poll losses. Will he respect institutions this time around? His running mate Martha Karua cannot play the gender card now when all along, she has offered lip service to social equity.
Believe it or not, boda boda riders, mama mbogas and their ilk drive the Kenyan economy. They might be at the end of the pyramid but relegating them further to the periphery is a time bomb waiting to explode. Kenya Kwanza hopes to right these wrongs. Hitherto marginalised regions such as North Eastern are on the throes of an economic revolution under the bottom up model. Supporting the poor can’t be a matter of mere tokenism. It must be a product of bold policy and legislative decisions as the Ruto team espouses in its manifesto. For the first time, we see the real possibility of historical injustices being addressed.
Kenya Kwanza believes in protection of every individuals rights and freedoms, including freedom of worship. In the past we’ve seen the Muslim community being harangued over baseless links to criminal activities. We have a chance to rid the nation of State capture that defines our republic. The country should not be treated as private property. By hoping to provide financial and capacity-building support for women through the hustler fund for women-led co-operative societies, chamas, merry-go-rounds and table banking initiatives, Kenya Kwanza will be a game-changer towards improving fortunes of the poor.
The Annual State of the Nation Forum envisioned in the Kenya Kwanza manifesto as an extension of the country-wide consultative economic forums to bolster growth. It will come with a people-driven engagement platform along the model of the defunct Economic and Social Council.
On devolution, Kenya Kwanza stresses public participation. Sharable revenue will be transferred to counties without sideshows as has been the case since 2013 when the national government seemed hell-bent on usurping functions of the county governments.
Kenya Kwanza will promote knowledge-based villages by rolling out fibre to villages, schools and businesses. With widespread poverty evidenced by slums, Kenya Kwanza will build 250,000 new affordable houses through a public-private partnership besides enrolling every citizen to UHC. A country’s biggest wealth is the health of its people. Kenya Kwanza represents real hope.
Duale is the current Garissa Township MP