Presidential Debate takes center stage

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Presidential candidates on Monday night engaged in a live debate aimed at convincing the 14 million voters that they are best suited to succeed President Kibaki in the March 4 General Election.

In the first pre-election debate for presidential candidates in Kenya, the eight contestants tackled a wide range of issues, including foreign policy and party politics. They also promised to fight corruption and tribalism.

The thorny issue of the four Kenyans facing trials at the International Criminal Court took centre stage, with Jubilee presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta defending himself that he would still be able to run the country if he won the State House seat.

The issues discussed were at the core of the party manifestos, which have been launched by the major political parties and coalitions ahead of the elections.

On foreign policy, the candidates agreed that the dispute over Migingo Island had threatened to spoil relations with neighbouring Uganda. They said the issue needs to be handled with care.

The debates did not generate much fireworks as expected although there were instances of mild attacks against one another.

All the candidates appeared to agree that implementation of the Constitution would be key to addressing tribalism and bad governance.

The Coalition for Reform and Democracy (Cord), Jubilee and Amani are among those that have launched their blueprints, all of which seem to outline common promises to the public if elected.

In its manifesto, Cord promises to put in place measures to ensure food security, including transforming the agriculture, livestock and fisheries sectors.

Although the alliance does not state specific targets regarding the duration within which it would implement its pledges, or the extent to which it plans to achieve the promises, it mentions that it will “subsidise farm inputs to ensure increased yields”.

The coalition promises to reintroduce free extension services and strengthen co-operatives.

The Jubilee coalition promises “something of a revolution” that would put food and clean water on many tables. This will be achieved through the introduction of affordable State loans to subsidise fertiliser and farm equipment.

The alliance pledges to establish a national livestock insurance scheme and introduce a livestock evaluation system that would make it easier for pastoralists to access credit.

In addition, the coalition promises to put a million acres under modern irrigation.

On security, a Jubilee government will shake up the National Intelligence Service and invest in the specialist anti-terrorism unit with the professional expertise to tackle groups such as al-Shabaab. It also promises to improve pay for police officers.

On its part, Cord will be “tough on crime and terrorism and even tougher on their causes”.

The coalition also promises to “develop a strategy to strengthen response to terrorism and militia groups”.

It pledges to improve border policing by deploying defence personnel, besides creating a directorate of Criminal Investigation as a semi-autonomous agency delinked from the national police command.

The Raila-led coalition promises to tackle poverty by increasing savings and investment rates. It plans to rejuvenate the cooperative movement and expand access to credit through a strong micro-finance sector.

It will periodically review the minimum wage to ensure those who earn low pay are cushioned against inflation.

The coalition says it will develop policies to reduce poverty levels from the current 46 per cent to less than nine per cent in 2030.

But the Jubilee government moves this pledge further by promising to eradicate poverty.

According to Jubilee, Cord and Amani, their governments will roll out social protection programmes to cushion the poor, as well as those with disabilities and others unable to work or living in marginalised areas.

The coalitions promise to introduce cash transfers and pension schemes for the elderly. They also appear united in providing cash to more poor and vulnerable people than is the case currently.

Another point of convergence for the coalitions and politicians in the race is their promise to establish a national health insurance scheme to cover all Kenyans.

The Jubilee coalition promises to grow GDP by between seven per cent and 10 per cent while Cord caps its growth at a minimum of 10 per cent.

Both promise to continue with the infrastructural developments that have been achieved under the Kibaki administration, including expansion of roads.

On Sunday, Amani presidential candidate Musalia Mudavadi launched his manifesto, promising to grow the economy and create jobs while ensuring the country remains peaceful and secure.

The coalition also promised to fight corruption and address “historical land injustices”.

Source:  Nation Newspaper.

 

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CORD unveils 10-point Manifesto

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Nairobi – Monday –  28 JANUARY 2013

Coalition of Reforms and Democracy (CORD) presidential candidate Raila Odinga on Monday launched the alliance’s manifesto pegged on a 10-point programme.

CORD Manifesto Download: CORD-Manifesto-2013

Odinga said he intends to enhance land reforms, food security, universal healthcare and fight poverty if he is chosen to succeed President Mwai Kibaki in the March 4 election.

“We want to build an economy that works for everyone. This is what is contained in this manifesto. Jobs remain top on our priority. Today, we launch a 10 point agenda for our people,” he said.

He said his administration will restructure the agricultural sector with key points being ensuring food security as well as encouraging investments in other urban centres such as Kakamega and Garissa.

“We will start production of fertilizers in the country and we will not be deterred in protecting our water towers,” Odinga said.

He said that the CORD government will restructure youth and women funds to make them more accessible.

Odinga said that his government will restructure the police force saying that those who messed with it cannot be relied upon to reform it.

Odinga also pledged to transform the public service within his first 100 days in power.

He said the CORD government will spend the first days clearing the bureaucratic red tape in the public sector to facilitate the implementation of government policies.

“Radical transformation of our public service is the only way to ensure that the government works for the people. This will therefore be one of my priorities in the first 100- days in State House,” The CORD flag-bearer said.

The coalition’s running mate Kalonzo Musyoka said the manifesto represents Kenya’s ideals which will deliver Kenya to greater heights of development.

“The alliance represents Kenya’s ideals. Forces of division who want to balkanise Kenya will be defeated,” Musyoka said.

“CORD will address the historical injustices where a few individuals own huge tracts of land while others are squatters. CORD will also implement the constitutional provisions in addressing land matters as we appreciate the sanctity of title deeds,” said the VP.

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From left: Hassan Joho, Anyang Nyong’o, Ida Odinga and Wavinya Ndeti at KICC on Monday. [Photo by: Eugene Mokua/Standard

He described the CORD alliance as the true face of Kenya and said its presidency will unite the nation and eradicate negative ethnicity which has continued to hold the country back.

Musyoka added that under CORD leadership, land based economic activities including agriculture, mining, forestry and ranching would be revamped to contribute boost national economy.

CORD-Manifesto-2013

On the education sector, the vice president indicated that the CORD government will recruit more teachers to correct the teacher-pupil ratio, review school curriculum, link education to job market and industry give attention to gender issues and special needs as well as review employment terms of teachers and lectures among other reforms.

Ford Kenya party leader Moses Wetangula said the election provided Kenya with the opportunity to choose a leadership that will realise the dreams of our independence fathers.

“We are going to shape a new future of Kenya. It is the defining moment,” he said.

To read the entire Manifesto: CORD-Manifesto-2013 

For a more detailed article,  please click here

The CORD Alliance is now official

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The official launch of CORD has coincided with two momentous events that will shape Kenya’s politics for decades to come. The first is that a historic 14.3 million Kenyans registered to vote, many of them travelling very long distances to do so. We know that the thirst for democracy in our country is unquenchable. At the same time, we are conscious that there are a few million others who were unable to register. That will never happen again.

The other event is the approval by Parliament of the first-ever Inspector General of Police, David Kimaiyo, who had been nominated by the President and the Prime Minister. These two events have eased many anxieties that Kenyans felt ahead of the election.

As all of us know, the upcoming election is the most definitive one of this generation. This is borne out by a level of politicking that is unprecedented in its intensity in our history. The stakes are very high but the choices are also equally clear. There are two political currents that are in contention, with diametrically opposed visions for the future of our country. One is CORD’s, which stands for fundamental change emphasizing national unity, justice for all, and equitable distribution of our nation’s resources. The other side represents the status quo so deeply that it is mired in internal strife, unable to agree on anything except their distaste for those committed to reform.

Indeed, many leaders who were previously with the other side have already left after discovering there was no room for their diverse views, and that in fact there was little public support for the group’s ideology even among the people they claim to represent.

It is clear now from the figures just released by the IEBC that CORD will romp to the largest presidential victory of our multi-party era. We expect, given the level of support for our various parties, to win the presidential election with more than eight million votes, at least 160 parliamentary seats, and 29 seats each for governorships and the Senate. CORD will also win more than 30 women seats and gain the majority in more than 31 county assemblies.

But we urge our supporters to come out in large numbers since even this margin of victory will not ensure that we can push the legislative changes that Kenyans are demanding for a better life. Ours is a completely open tent which has the capacity and desire to accommodate all Kenyans committed to justice, inclusion, growth and equity. We CORD partners ask you to join us tomorrow to celebrate the beginning of a national unity and prosperity anchored for full equality for all Kenyans and their counties.

Anyang’ Nyong’o, Mutula Kilonzo, David Eseli 

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