Political manifestos are often misunderstood objects – pieced together by newfound ideas on how to turn the country around, how to keep it improving. They’re a declaration of intentions, motives, or views of that party, and within their pages they contain the hopes of a nation.
Even though manifestos have now become ubiquitous with election campaigns, many people still view their validity with a degree of cynicism – seeing the ideas they contain as more “pipe dream”, than realistic. But for others, manifestos are one of the best ways to understand the intentions of a running-candidate, or party. They offer a unique insight into why and how that candidate intends to improve the country.
To give you a greater insight into what each party intends to do if they are elected in, CGTN Africa take five important concepts and policies from both Jubilee and Nasa’s manifestos:
Fronted by Uhuru Kenyata, the current President of Kenya, and Deputy President William Ruto, the Jubilee Party is made up of the principal members of the Jubilee Alliance, as well as 10 other political parties. They launched their manifesto on June 26, listing a number of ways they would hope to change Kenya.
Establish a “broad based, inclusive and modern economy”
One of the manifesto’s overall messages is to create a “secure and prosperous nation”, built on solid foundations of sustainable employment and opportunity. It notes that a growing economy must work all Kenyan citizens, and says that the party will continue to build a middle-income society, and work towards high, rapid and inclusive economic growth to reduce inequalities.
Generate Ksh1 trillion in savings over five years
Through reducing and eliminating wastage in the utilization of public resources, Jubilee say that they will be able to generate Ksh1 trillion in savings over the next five years. This, the manifesto says, will be applied to enhance the country’s productive capacity and pay down the national debt.
Reduce cost of living
The literature highlights that Jubilee will reduce the cost of living for Mwananchi by stabilising the cost of food, energy and transport. It also says that it will ensure that no Kenyan will die from famine and effects of the recent drought will be mitigated by working with the private sector to import and distribute additional grain.
Construct Mombasa-Nairobi six lane highway
Jubilee also pledges to construct the Mombasa-Nairobi six lane highway toll road which, together with the SGR, will transform the 450-kilometre between the two cities into one “large and vibrant economic zone”. It also says that it will construct the second phase of the SGR from Nairobi to Naivasha, ensuring that at least 40% of the contract value is allocated to Kenyan companies.
Install street lights in all urban centres, connect all Kenyans to electricity
Another aim of the Jubilee party is to install street lights in all urban centres to facilitate a new 24-hour economy. They also look to ensure that by 2020 all Kenyans will be connected to electricity either from the national grid or an off-grid source.
The National Super Alliance (Nasa) is the main opposition party, made up of ODM, Wiper, ANC and many more. They’re fronted by political veteran Raila Odinga, and he is supported by Kalonzo Musyoka who is running for Deputy President. Nasa launched their manifesto on June 27, highlighting the policies they hope will connect with the public and get them into government.
Nasa aim to eradicate poverty by implementing “transformational economic policies and programmes that will uplift all Kenyas”. They have outlined in their text that they will invest in education and training, health, and encourage people to move to areas richer in resources.
Control public debt
The manifesto states that Nasa will use all constitutional means to control public debt and grow the economy by 7%. They pledge to return the country to “the path of sustainable borrowing, that is, a budget deficit not exceeding 3% of GDP.
Nasa are looking to culture to touch Kenyan hearts, and they pledge to work closely with county governments and stakeholders to establish a “conducive atmosphere and legal infrastructure to support cultural, creative and performing arts including exploring opportunities to establish talent development centres in all 47 counties”.
The manifesto also states that if Nasa win the elections, there will be “great improvement” in the police service, including offering “adequate and proper housing to the officers”.
Nasa highlight that they will prioritise offering teacher’s adequate training, with the likes of ICT skills, as well as improving school infrastructure and equipping all primary and secondary schools with computer laboratories.
With a huge interest growing in who will win these elections, Kenyans and political analysts alike will likely scrutinise the major concepts on both manifestos. With many promises outlined, the question will be firmly on whether the next elected government can deliver on its promises.