Deputy President William Ruto is today expected to roll out his five-pillar and value addition manifesto to solidify the bottom-up economic model, he has promoted for the last two years.
Ruto, who is making his first stab at the presidency will unveil his manifesto after holding economic forums across the 47 counties and signing of 10 charters with youth, people with disability, education, women, and business community among other interest groups.
The DP who also yesterday held a Kiambu Hustler Fund at Kiambu town, has prioritised agriculture and food security, funding of small and medium enterprises, housing, access to affordable health, investment in ICT, overhauling of education and creation of the creative economy in his manifesto.
Through the housing project that was in the Big four agenda that captured President Uhuru Kenyatta's aspiration, Ruto plans to create four million and build 500,000 affordable houses across the country. Scientists postulate that the construction of one house creates jobs for at least eight professionals.
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In agriculture, the DP is facing off with three other contestants including Azimio La Umoja presidential candidate Raila Odinga, Roots Party's Prof George Wajackoyah and Waihiga Mwaure of the Agano Party, who have also promised to revamp the sector.
The Kenya Kwanza manifesto also plans to introduce universal health care where every Kenyan will have a National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) cover with those earning more expected to pay higher contributions, to fend for the poor. In the manifesto, to be unveiled today, Ruto has put a lot of emphasis on funding small and medium enterprises (SMEs) owned by women and youth through the Hustler's fund.
Other areas are infrastructure and manufacturing, revamping the public service, investment in ICT, and revision of the foreign policy and security sector. On ICT, Ruto will invest in cheaper internet to create jobs for youth and make Kenya a regional hub for connectivity.
A statement to the newsrooms yesterday noted that the Kenya Kwanza leadership travelled to every county for people’s consultative economic forums. Through the countrywide economic forums, Ruto and the Kenya Kwanza leaders listened to the needs and aspirations, priorities and solutions as expressed and proposed by a cross-section of Kenyans in agriculture, business and other interest groups.
"The event will be the culmination of the most extensive public engagement exercise for a policy document in post-independence Kenya, outside the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission process," read the statement.
Ruto noted that during these engagements, Kenyans expressed their views, shared their ideas and spoke of their hopes and expectations.
"In line with the Bottom-Up economic approach, it is these priorities by ordinary citizens and input from Kenya Kwanza Coalition’s economic turnaround team, that have been adopted as part of the manifesto," the DP added.
He noted that the August 9 election is about the economy, and only Kenya Kwanza has a plan on how to liberalise and revive it.
In the last three months, Ruto has signed various charters setting out terms he wishes to engage Kenyans in various sectors if he is elected as the next president. In the charter, he signed with women, Ruto has promised access to government procurement opportunities by guaranteeing that women-owned enterprises will automatically qualify for financing through a proposed Hustler Fund.
Ruto is steadfast in dealing with Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and has undertaken to ensure inclusion of women in leadership positions in high echelons of government.
“My government commits to having women getting 50 per cent of the hustler fund Sh50 billion so that they can engage in economic activities aimed at empowering and building their capacities,” said Ruto.
In the education charter, he has promised to overhaul the sector, from early childhood development and education (ECDE) to primary and secondary schools, tertiary institutions, and universities to ensure parity across the country.
Ruto recommends creation of a national education fund to marshal and manage all education grants, bursaries, and scholarships from private and public sponsors to pay for non-tuition costs. Although the Free Primary Education and the Free Day Secondary Education are operational, parents meet the cost of uniforms, boarding fees, meals and transport.
“We promise to legislate tax incentives to ensure young Kenyans gain skills from foreign companies operating in the country in a youth charter framed by the Kenya Kwanza Alliance,” said Ruto.