With the Kenyan general elections less than a month away and campaigns in full gear, the eight presidential candidates have prepared manifestos outlining their agendas for the next five years. The candidates are hoping to convince the people to stand by them and assure them a victory in the August 8th elections. Two of these eight candidates are the ones the nation has their eye on and these are Jubilee’s Uhuru Kenyatta and National Super Alliance (NASA)’s Raila Odinga. The Jubilee party and NASA launched their manifestos within a day of each other and many promises are cited within the said documents.
However, how many of these promises embeded in the manifestos are directed to the young children of the country? Kenya’s child population (0-14 year olds) is 43% of the total population; this is one of the largest demographics in the country. A large population of children (0-14) signifies high child dependency and the need to invest in child and maternal health as well as education opportunities. With this in mind it is therefore imperative to find out what the candidates have planned for the nation’s children.
Jubilee’s vision is: A united Kenya in which wealth is created and prosperity is shared amongst all citizens; A fast-growing economy that leaves no one behind; A Kenya for all Kenyans by Kenyans; An accountable, professional and efficient government; and An influential regional power at peace with itself and its neighbours.
“Kenya has immense potential for growth, modernisation and prosperity. Growth that leaves no one behind; modernisation that secures our future for generations to come; and a prosperity that we can all share and enjoy” President Uhuru Kenyata’s address at the Manifesto launch
The manifesto noted ten points the party will work on. Out of these the promises concerning Early Childhood Development are point four and six which state:
- Expand the free primary school programme to now include free day public secondary schools in Kenya.
- Expand free maternity care to include government funded NHIF cover for every expectant mother for one year.
In the small print the manifesto further notes that it would:
Extend the “Linda Mama” programmes to a total of one year to cover both ante-natal and post-natal care and reduce maternal and child mortality rates.
Work towards achieving a 100% transition from primary to secondary school by providing free education in all public primary and public day secondary schools.
Maintain momentum in upgrading slums by providing clean water and sanitation, access roads, street lights, schools and health centres as well as income generating activities. This will help improve the lives of 4 million people living and working in slums.
Find the full manifesto here jpmanifesto2017
NASA fronted a seven pillar vision and policy platform which the manifesto then translates into a programme of action. The vision and policy platform address:
- National reconciliation and healing
- Resolving all historical injustices
- Refining the constitution to strengthen devolution
- Transforming government from master to servant of the people
- Realizing the equality principles and goals entrenched in Article 27 of the Constitution
- Realizing social and economic rights as enshrined in Article 43 of the Constitution
- Eradicating poverty and unemployment
“…the manifesto is decidedly ideological and bold, at once pragmatic, alive to challenges of implementing social transformation, but uncompromising on principles and values. It is a manifesto for fundamental change”
Concerning early childhood development the manifesto includes:
Mainstreaming constitutional education in the school curriculum.
Progressively expanding income transfer programmes (presently limited to the elderly and households with orphans and vulnerable children (OVC)) to the critically food poor.
Establishing a National Universal Health Service Fund to be funded by the public budget for curative heath services and a minimal basic health insuarance contribution by citizens.
Delegating school infrastructure to the Counties- giving conditional grants.
Arresting high school dropout rate; expanding secondary school infrastructure; and expanding teacher training capacity hence making the primary school examinations (KPCE) redundant since every child will be assured a place.
Find the full manifesto here Nasa-Coalition-Manifesto
All in all
Although a discussion could be held on who represents the children’s issues best, these two powerhouses did not ignore the 43 per cent but included them in their manifestos and made commitments to the children of Kenya. Whichever of these parties does take the election, we will be watching and lobbying for these implementations.