Majority of Nyeri residents have welcomed the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition recently launched manifesto terming it a game changer in the current harsh economic times.
Speaking to KNA yesterday, residents have similarly backed the coalition’s presidential candidate Raila Odinga’s promise to tackle graft head-on calling it a welcome relief following years of mismanagement of national resources through corruption.
Raila launched his 10-point economic and social blueprint on Monday in which he promised to wage an all-out war on run -away corruption, creation of wealth, address unemployment levels and improve the lives of millions of Kenyans currently wallowing in abject poverty.
He also promised to make education affordable to all by offering free learning to all beginning from Primary schools all the way to university level, a feat analysts say will likely gobble billions of taxpayers’ money, if implemented.
Now, the residents said Raila’s manifesto, especially the one touching on lowering the cost of living and providing free education, will give parents some space to save something for a better future for their children.
For instance, Tyrus Chege a PSV matatu operator lauded the free education program saying it will free substantial money parents would have used in school fees and enable them allocate it to other needs.
He added that the Kazi Mtaani initiative which the manifesto has promised to retain will create scores of menial jobs for thousands of unemployed youths.
“I am a parent with two children who are both in secondary school. Currently I earn a daily wage of around Sh250 and Sh500 on a lucky day. However, paying school fees for my children has been one of my biggest challenges as most of my meagre earnings are spent on footing school arrears. Therefore, in the event the government will provide free education, it will be possible for me to cater for my other household needs and, in the process, ensure I give my children a better life,” he noted.
Harun Njagi, a taxi driver while welcoming the manifesto launch said the biggest challenge for the incoming government will be to actualize the promises.
“The Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition have promised to implement a great manifesto which among other things promises to reduce the cost of living and manage the Kenya debt burden. We are therefore looking forward to the fulfilment of these promises which we do believe will help in the revival of our ailing economy,” he said.
A parent who requested to remain anonymous also welcomed Raila’s pledge to cater for families with physically challenged children after having been sidelined by successful regimes for years.
“Being a parent to a child with physical challenges is not easy since essential health care and learning costs are quite expensive for someone like me whose main source of income is vending fruits. Consequently, Raila’s pledge to provide free education to all children up to the university level will give my child the same opportunity just like other kids,’’ explained the woman.
However, Pastor Timothy Muthama has advised Kenyans not to brief the manifesto whole heartedly terming its contents too costly to effect.
Pastor Muthama claimed that most of what is contained in the document are mere promises that might never be fulfilled should the Azimio coalition form the next government due to lack of money.
He also faulted plans by Raila to offer Sh6,000 monthly stipends to vulnerable families and said what Kenyans need are opportunities to earn an honest living and not dishing out of handouts.
“Raila should work on empowering key sectors of the economy that provide job opportunities to the people instead of promising the citizens money the government cannot afford. Though most of his pledges are excellent, the elephant in the room is how on earth is he going to actualize this manifesto with an economy as thin as ours?” he posed.
For trader Frank Oyaro, Raila’s promise to lower the cost of food prices is unrealistic and far-fetched and which a sober Kenyan should not rely on. He added that the economy has been getting worse with food prices going up by every minute and him being in power is not an assurance for lower prices in the coming days.
“Raila has an impressive manifesto but the promise to lower food prices after 100 days is something that is akin to a mirage. If he cannot push for lower food prices now, what makes him so certain he would do so once he clinches power,” Oyaro wonders.
The Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition Mwamko Mpya policy, loosely translated as a new awakening or the new dawn, is Raila’s campaign rallying call meant to woo millions of undecided voters to his side as the country inches closer to the August 9 poll.
It could also be the best opportunity for the former Premier to make a stab at the highest office in the land after having failed for four times in a row since the advent of multiparty democracy in the country.
Raila ,77, is running head-to-head with his erstwhile political friend turned nemesis Deputy President Dr William Ruto who hopes to ride to State House on the Kenya Kwanza coalition ticket.
Ruto who is running a spirited campaign to succeed his boss President Uhuru Kenyatta (who he has since fallen out with) will launch his election manifesto on July 30, slightly over a week to the polling day.