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Kenya Kwanza Manifesto Launch: DP Ruto pledges free internet, criticises recent state projects

Deputy President William Ruto at the launch of Kenya Kwanza manifesto. [Elvis Ogina]

Deputy President William Ruto has pledged to ensure every part of the country has Internet access, as he criticised some of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s projects.

Ruto who is running for the presidency on a United Democratic Alliance ticket in the Kenya Kwanza Alliance has launched his manifesto, with barely forty days left before his boss and former party leader officially exits office.

While giving his pledges to Kenyans on Thursday night, the DP promised to achieve a full digital revolution in the period between 2023 and 2027.

“Every Kenyan will have internet connectivity in the next five years, so as to support this young person struggling with bundles. Every school, hospital, dispensary and even market will be connected to the internet,” he said.

“We have 24, 000 markets connected to electricity countrywide, they will all be connected to the internet. This will be the biggest revolution ever,”

The DP criticized the current government for investing money in the wrong places and setting the wrong priorities.

“For Your Information, there is money to do it. There is Sh15 billion in the universal fund. This project will cost 40 billion but we can deliver the rest,” Ruto said.

“There is a proposal by the Communication Authority to build a hotel with the 15 million. Deploying the internet is the core function of Communication Authority,” he says prompting sarcastic reactions among his audience in Kasarani.

The DP has also proposed to put in place an Integrated Health System three months after taking over.

His manifesto is anchored on six key pillars: Agriculture and Food Security, SME Financing, Housing, Health access, ICT and Creative Economy as well as Environment and Climate Change.

“During our bottom-up economic dialogue in the 47 counties, that brought to the fore the sufferings of Kenyans as a result of the high cost of food, high level of unemployment, especially among the youthful population, and the high cost of health services, we were able to anchor our interventions around six pillars,” he added.

While convincing the nation to vote for him as the country’s fifth Head of State, DP Ruto took a swipe at the performance of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s track record.

He also found fault with Parliament’s latest move to increase the public debt ceiling to Sh10 trillion.

The move was to allow the next government to borrow Sh846 billion to plug the budget deficit in the fiscal year starting July 1, 2022.

“When you find yourself in a hole you should stop digging, it is a principle. We as Kenya Kwanza have engaged about 95, 000 Kenyans and over 200 experts to develop the plan (manifesto). That is why I am committed to pulling out the country from the debt storm,” he said.

“We launched a gun factory in Ruiru recently. The project was built at Sh4 billion and only created 100 jobs. This means that it cost 40 million to create a single job. The County Government of Kitui created a garment manufacturing industry worth Sh168 million to create 600 jobs. This means that it cost Sh280, 000 to create one job. Where do we invest?” he posed a question.

Deputy President William Ruto is running for the presidency with Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua as his running mate.

His campaigns are pegged on economic reforms dubbed the ‘Bottom-Up’ economic model.