By Eliud Owalo
On the 28th, January 2013, the Coalition of Reforms and Democracy (CORD), released to the public its Manifesto for the 2013 General Elections in Kenya. The 2013 CORD Manifesto outlines in detail 10-point pledges which CORD has comitted to deliver to the citizens upon winning the forthcoming Elections and consequently forming the CORD Government.
Itâ€™s indeed, the said 10-point CORD program of action which the Coalitionâ€™s Presidential candidate Raila Odinga and his running-mate Kalonzo Musyoka actually stand for, and have publically promised to implement to the letter guided by the CORD vision of being committed to the realization of a Kenyan Society founded on proper democracy and Social Justice, where all citizens enjoy equal political, economic and socio-cultural rights and live in harmony and unity.
The 10-point pledges as enunciated in CORDâ€™S 2013 Manifesto include: jobs; food security, national security; people-led/participatory governance; reduction in poverty and cost of living index; social equality; infrastructure and land reforms; quality education; healthcare; and national unity/one indivisible nation.
First, in its efforts to create jobs, the CORD government will:- lay the foundation for Kenya to move within two decades from being a poor and dependent Nation to being a productive and self-sustaining economy by establishing at least one industry in each county; establishing a 24- hour economy in major urban areas; empowering the youth through training and funding of youth projects; facilitating entrepreneurial and technological skills training in each constituency; enhancing the use of ICT in productive sectors; promoting local and foreign investments; investing in research and development; fast-tracking special economic zones in major urban centres;facilitating easy access to credit and tax incentives to business enterprises.
Second, in order to ensure food security, the CORD government will:- subsidize farm inputs for increased yields; invest in rural infrastructure; re-introduce free Agricultural extension services; strengthen cooperatives; introduce crops and livestock insurance schemes; promote value-addition in agriculture; devolve decision-making to county governments; promote agricultural research and development; promote inland fishing areas around lake Victoria, Turkana and Naivasha; invest in innovative irrigated agriculture; encourage investment in post-harvest processing, preservation and storage technologies; maximize return to rural producers and re-introduce mini-weather stations in schools.
Third, for purposes of ensuring National security, the CORD Government will: – improve and extend the National security infrastructure for all; develop a strategy responsive to terrorism and militia groups and provide cyber security; expand use of CCTV; fast-track and institutionalize police reforms; ensure adequate training and provision of equipment; establish police oversight mechanisms and strengthen community policing; improve border policing and create and independent directorate of CID delinked from the National Police Command.
Fourth, in order to establish a people-led government/partipatory leadership characterized by good governance and gender equality for peaceful co-existence and sustainable development, the CORD government will:- defend and fully-implement the Constitution; ensure participatory budgeting, enactment of laws and formulation of policies; reform the public service; promote gender equity and equitable economic development; ensure good governance and accountability in county governments; adopt zero tolerance to corruption; and fast-track reform of the criminal justice system.
Fifth, concerning poverty and high cost of living, the CORD government will:- activate the â€œKomesha umaskini initiativeâ€ to create investment for greater productivity and more job opportunities; enhance the marginal propensity to save and invest by rejuvenating the cooperative movement and expanding access to credit; formulate and implement an effective national productivity policy; reduce annual inflation rate to below 5%; and periodically review the minimum wages.
Sixth, in order to effect social equality in Kenya, the CORD government will:- develop policies to reduce poverty levels; introduce a pension scheme for those aged 65 and above; extend to all major urban centres cash transfers for the urban poor, orphans and vulnerable children; design relief schemes for rural households; design tax policies for redistribution of income and wealth; provide insurance schemes for workers and dependants; ensure counties provide basic services to the people; and establish a National health insurance scheme.
Seventh, in respect of infrastructure and land, the CORD government will:- ensure world-class infrastructure and related services; invest 10% of GDP in infrastructure development; expand the National road network; empower county governments to improve, develop and upgrade local roads; introduce a modern integrated rail infrastructure; construct new roads along LAPSSET and the Northern corridor; develop light railway transport network for Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, and Kisumu; increase access to countrywide electricity supply; revitalize inland water ways and port infrastructure; address historical injustices on land,including squatter and IDPs problems; and establish and enforce sustainable land use standards and benchmarks.
Eighth, in order to provide universally accessible quality education for National development, the CORD government will:- transform public education facilities at all levels; review employment terms of teachers and lecturers; recruit more teachers; review school curriculum; link education with requirements of industry; encourage internship with major global IT firms; establish computer laboratories and internet services in public schools; address gender issues and the special needs of pupils; and reduce regional variations in female-male literacy ratios.
Ninth, to effectively address inequalities in access to health care, the CORD government will:- establish a National health insurance scheme for all; extend health education especially preventive health; renovate health facilities; train more doctors, nurses and other health personnel, and improve their terms and conditions of service; work with county governments and the private sector to facilitate universal healthcare to the people; invest in specialized health services and provide quality maternal and child health care services.
Tenth, in support of our National diversity(cultural, ethnic, religious, racial and geo-ecological), the CORD government will:- promote National unity as echoed in the National Anthem by ending artificial and factional divisions of the Nation; streamlining and harmonizing institutions charged with ensuring National cohesion and unity; and ensuring equal opportunity to all citizens.
Based on the afforestated;it is imperative, above all; that to guarantee successful implementation of the new constitutional dispensation and facilitate real change in this country,Kenyans should vote in the CORD leadership on 4th March 2013. This is my case for Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka. This is my humble prayer.
The writer is the head of CORD Presidential Campaign secretariat.