By Protus Onyango and Moses Nyamori
The Opposition coalition has promised a radical shakeup of the governance structure and to run a transparent government that will not tolerate cartels if it is elected to power.
To win over voters 41 days to the General Election, the National Super Alliance (NASA) promised to introduce a plethora of changes in its first 100 days in office.
It promised to, among others, seek constitutional changes on the presidency, scale up allocations to counties, hire more teachers and overhaul the electronic payment system for Government contracts to prevent fraud.
If Raila Odinga is elected the fifth president of Kenya, NASA has pledged to sponsor constitutional amendments to provide for a hybrid executive system based on the Bomas of Kenya draft to replace the current system where the President is elected through a popular vote.
NASA has also promised to dismantle “crony capitalism” that it says is fueled by runaway corruption. “The convergence of corruption and trickle-down ideology gives rise to an economic model known as crony capitalism… NASA is not afraid of cartels,” the coalition states.
NASA pledges to do away with the multi-billion-shilling Jubilee laptop project and channel the funds to building computer laboratories and libraries in schools.
The NASA government will also employ 20,000 teachers annually to bridge the widening gap should they form the next Government. They promise to hire 90,000 teachers in five years.
In addition, NASA promises to increase money allocated to county governments by up to 45 per cent. Specific details of the manifesto reveal that the amendments to the constitution will be based on the Bomas draft as a mechanism for enhancing cohesion and to allow individuals from smaller communities to rise to the highest office in the land, and encourage a participatory system of government.
While launching their manifesto at Ngong Racecourse in Nairobi, NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga, his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka and other principals Musalia Mudavadi, Moses Wetang’ula and Isaac Ruto promised Kenyans that they would deliver on their promises.
NASA promises to devolve primary and secondary school infrastructure development as a function to the county governments in 100 days to enable the national government to concentrate on quality.
It promises to immediately implement free secondary school education and collaborate with county governments to expand secondary school infrastructure to accommodate the anticipated higher number of secondary school students.
It will also launch a national book donation initiative to promote a reading culture in Kenya. Still on education, NASA will, in 100 days, waive the requirement for compliance certificates for unemployed graduates and review the Higher Education Loans Board (Helb) repayment commencement period to 18 months after graduation.
NASA promises to waive interest payments on Helb loans for graduates who join the civil service, provide tax reliefs for employers who take in interns from Kenyan tertiary education institutions, and set a pay caveat for internships and eliminate PAYE for allowances/stipends paid to interns.
On security, NASA will begin to pull out the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) from Somalia in phases beginning the first 90 days and secure the Kenya-Somalia border. They will also assign one officer to every police station who is trained and equipped to handle police-youth relations in order to transform the relationship between the force and Kenyan youths, and also rid the force of “discriminatory practices targeting youths”.
It promises to collaborate with county governments and community leaders to develop mechanisms for inter-community dialogue aimed at peaceful resolution of conflicts among communities.
NASA will also institute a pay raise for police officers serving between the ranks of constable and chief inspector, and improve pay and conditions of service for KDF service personnel.
Also in 100 days, NASA will restructure and realign the National Treasury to enable it to effectively and harmoniously serve the interests of both levels of government and collaborate with the Council of Governors (CoG) to review the transition process and identify all the challenges on full transition and transfer of specific functions.
As the chairperson of the National and County Governments Co-ordinating Summit, the President will revamp the Summit by convening regular meetings to address emerging issues of co-operative government and inter-governmental relations.
NASA will work with CoG to clarify the constitutional distribution of functions and initiate legislation to clarify the functions of each level of government, provide a framework for assignment of additional functions to county governments and provide for a framework for the transfer of functions and powers from one level of government to another.
It promises to immediately transfer to county governments all those functions and resources that have not yet been transferred and eliminate delays in the transfer of funds to county governments.
The Opposition also promises to formulate a coherent devolution policy on health to govern the relationship between national and county governments in 100 days and provide for regulation and standardisation of doctors. NASA will also collaborate with CoG to provide a road-map for honest tripartite engagement aimed at resolving industrial disputes.
On gender, NASA will undertake integration in all Government processes and programmes, particularly in the allocation of resources, and establish County Gender Development funds under woman representatives in every county.
NASA will enact laws to implement the two-thirds gender rule in governance as required by the Constitution in order to address gender imbalance in all spheres of governance. They will also institute programmes such as grassroots science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) girls’ clubs to sensitise girls and young women about their rights and opportunities in science and technology.
On corruption, all NASA members, appointed and elected, shall sign anti-corruption performance contracts requiring that they introduce and monitor anti-corruption initiatives in their sectors. Appointed and elected members will be prohibited from doing business with the Government and take moral and political responsibility for any misconduct in their dockets arising from non-performance.
The appointees and elected members shall avoid any conflict of interest between public and private affairs, and be expected to disclose their financial interests on appointment to ensure that there is no potential for personal benefit.
NASA will also declare corruption a threat to national security and establish a specialised department in the National Intelligence Service dedicated to corruption surveillance, and overhaul the entire IFMIS payment system and replace it with an incorruptible system that uses a Three-Way Match that will interrogate payments by matching the local purchase order, the delivery notes and the invoice.
In 100 days, NASA will officially reaffirm the status, nationality and citizenship of all minority ethnic groups in Kenya and their equal status with other Kenyans. They will establish a National Heroes Trust to immortalise freedom fighters and heroes of our current struggles, including our men and women in uniform, and support those in need.
NASA will also immediately pay compensation awards ordered by courts to victims of State injustice and allocate adequate resources to enhance the status of Kiswahili as the national and official language, and a continental language. It will also work with internet companies to develop content for Kiswahili speakers, particularly a comprehensive online Kiswahili dictionary.
In the same 100 days, NASA promises to establish the Kenya National Languages Council to promote all other Kenyan indigenous languages and Kenyan sign language, and also the “Office of Victims of Extra Judicial Killings, Torture, Renditions and Enforced Disappearances” to investigate all such cases and recommend appropriate measures.
They promise to enact legislation requiring all Government departments to establish day-care facilities in the work-place and to amend the Sexual Offences Act to establish a special investigative and monitoring unit under the Children’s Department focusing specifically on children in primary and secondary schools for purposes of protecting them, and implement all international obligations on gender issues.
They promise to collaborate with county governments to establish a Ward Development Fund and convene a national conference to set out the tenets of co-operation between national and county governments in the next five years.
NASA promises to restructure and realign the State Department of Devolution and Planning to focus more on inter-governmental relations and co-ordination of inter-ministerial functions relevant to devolution rather than supervision of county governments.
To improve housing and urban development, NASA promises to convene a national conference to bring national and county governments together to identify their potential and to develop a master plan for branding their counties.
It will also host a national consultative forum to seek ways of providing avenues and incentives for private sector involvement in the provision of affordable quality housing.
In 100 days, NASA will rationalise the operations of the Rent Restriction Tribunals to take into consideration the devolved governments by increasing the number of tribunals from 10 to at least 47.
It promises to establish more than one tribunal in the major towns/cities based on population clusters of 100,000, and amend the Rent Restriction Act to increase the jurisdiction of the tribunal from the current Sh2,500 to Sh10,000. They will also empower the Rent Tribunals to exercise their powers of regulating rent in their areas of jurisdiction.