THE ENVIRONMENT AGENDA IN THE PRESIDENT’S BIG-FOUR, JUBILEE PARTY AND THIRDWAY ALLIANCE


President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big-Four agenda is more or less a summary and redaction of Jubilee Party’s manifesto. The agenda, simply termed as the Big-Four’ include: 

  1. Enhance manufacturing (priority sub-sectors: the blue economy, leather, textiles and agro-processing)
  2. Access to affordable and decent shelter
  3. Provide universal healthcare
  4. Enhance food and nutrition security

Much as the Big-Four, once implemented, will put Kenya on the path towards a world class country, the president overlooked the importance of clean environment and clean, renewable energy in realization of the agenda. 

For example, manufacturing and industrial processing require guaranteed uninterrupted energy supply. The agenda mentions cutting the cost of peak power without specifying how energy/electricity/power demand will be met in an expanded manufacturing sector. Coal, once of the sources explored by the Jubilee administration does not fall under sustainable, clean energy category. 

On the provision of universal healthcare, the old adage, ‘prevention is better than cure captures’ succinctly the fact that we need to take steps to prevent preventable illnesses before all else. By ensuring clean, well conserved environment free of pollutants, we’ll be preventing diseases like cholera, lead poisoning, respiratory diseases, bilharzia, amoebic dysentery and so on. Mark you; diarrhea is a leading cause of death among children under the age of five. 

The 4th agenda, enhancing food security and nutrition, does not acknowledge the impact of climate change on the agriculture sector and therefore fails to propose climate change adaptation and mitigation measures. 

As it is therefore, the agenda falls short of addressing key environmental issues and adhering to the spirit of sustainable development. 


COMPARISON OF ENVIRONMENTAL COMPONENTS IN THE THIRDWAY ALLIANCE AND JUBILEE MANIFESTOS

THIRDWAY MANIFESTO

JUBILEE MANIFESTO

WATER 

Working closely, consult and cooperate (as per Art.6) with county governments to ensure clean and reliable water supply to all citizens. 


Setting aside KES 200 billion per year for five years to ensure that every household is connected to a reliable clean water supply


Construction of dams, water pans and drill boreholes to ensure constant supply of water. 


Aggressive reforestation of all the water towers and recover all illegally allocated land in the water towers. 


Promoting rain water harvesting in Arid and Semi-Arid regions especially in Northern Kenya. 


Building properly functioning drainage and sewerage systems in all major towns in the country in collaboration with County Governments.

Highlighted as achievements: Enhanced Water Security through construction of water harvesting and storage infrastructure across the country. In 2013 our water storage capacity, excluding dams for hydropower generation, was 130 million cubic meters. This was increased by 25% to 161.8 million cubic meters in 2016 with the construction of over 700 small dams, water pans and an ongoing large-scale dam construction programme. This has enhanced water security, provided stable water supply for human and livestock consumption all year round and reduced flooding.


Plans: Complete the 57-large-scale dam construction programme, support small-holder agricultural irrigation and work with the private sector to enhance food and agricultural production on at least 1.2 million acres.


We will work together to harvest, conserve and protect available water resources for this and future generations. We will allocate water resources fairly and ensure that every Kenyan has access to clean and affordable water and sanitation facilities and that our farmers can increase output and enhance food security through irrigation. 


We will become a water secure nation and will provide water and sanitation for all by 2030. We will do this by protecting water towers, expanding water harvesting and storage capacity, and completing the exploration and assessment of the newly found underground water resources in Turkana which have the potential to yield 3,447 billion cubic meters of renewable groundwater resources per year. 


Our plan is to provide sustainable access to safe water, enhance sewerage systems, promote improved sanitation for the entire Kenyan population and expand the acreage under irrigation. This will prevent water related diseases such as diarrhea, the second leading cause of death in children under the age of five, and enable Kenyans to live in dignity. 


Mobilize communities, schools and leaders to protect and conserve this precious resource by scaling up and popularizing water harvesting and water catchment management strategies


Ensure the Water Sector Trust Fund supplies grants to counties to assist in the financing of water services, particularly to marginalized areas, rural areas considered not commercially viable and underserved urban areas.

AGRICULTURE AND FOOD SECURITY

Mandatorily enforce harnessing of water resources in all counties to reduce reliance on rainfall fed agriculture.


Food security through drip irrigation & simple technology 

Expand food and agricultural production, double the fertilizer subsidy initiative, reducing the cost to farmers to less than Ksh1,500. Expand the programme to include all crops with a resultant increase in production and support the expansion and capacity of local fertilizer manufacture.

MANUFACTURING

Provision of reliable water to all county industrial parks from boreholes, building dams & water pans


ENVIRONMENT

LAND, AGRICULTURE AND THE ENVIRONMENT

Rehabilitate all water towers and plant over 5 million indigenous trees in five years. 


Invest in clean and renewable power generation and decommission thermal generation of power.


Challenges recognized:

  1. Lack of a comprehensive and nationally acceptable environment policy.
  2. Failed enforcement of existing laws Encroachment into water towers 
  3. Land grabbing and human settlement in protected areas 


Outcome expected: Balanced ecology that will ensure constant flow of our rivers in future 

And we will continue to protect and nurture our environment for future generations. The natural beauty of our country is one of our most valuable resources.


Maintain the use of green energy where Kenya is a world leader in its green energy mix. 


Achieve 10% tree cover, improving on the current 7% cover, through growing safe trees and engaging public institutions to grow and value trees. 


Improve disaster risk reduction and response through strengthened early warning systems. 


Strictly enforce the protection of wetlands from any form of development and enforce ban on use of polythene bags.

CLEAN ENERGY

Thirdway Alliacne Kenya will promote investment in clean renewable energy, like wind, solar, and geothermal power. We shall decommission diesel powered generators in four years. 


Venture into nuclear energy

Highlighted as achievements: In the last four years, we have increased power generation and added 657 MW to the grid. We have given priority to clean energy, (geothermal, wind power, solar and hydro), which now accounts for over 75% of the installed capacity compared to the world average of only 24%. Not only are we providing a reliable form of energy, we are providing a responsible and environmentally friendly energy.


Plans: Complete the development of new power plants currently under construction including the 310 MW Lake Turkana Wind Power Plant (the largest wind power plant in Africa), and the two units in Olkaria that will add another 210 MW to the grid.


Ensure every citizen is connected to reliable and affordable electricity (on or off-grid) by 2020. 

WASTE MANAGEMENT 


Work with county governments to establish at least two proper waste management systems in each county. Attract investors to establish waste to energy infrastructure for Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru and Kisumu and other Counties.


On the environmental components, the Jubilee Party and Thirdway Alliance Kenya manifestos share a number of issues in common e.g. water harvesting, addressing challenges facing the water towers and catchment areas, improving forest cover, renewable energy and food security. 

The major difference, however, is that Jubilee has the advantage of being in power since 2013 and therefore had an opportunity to assess and initiate and implement projects, programmes and policies to address the environmental challenges facing the country. The Jubilee manifesto therefore captures purported achievements of the government – that require further investigation to ascertain. 

However, a careful look at the manifestos reveals the following differences: 

  1. Thirdway Alliance Kenya allocates a budget (KES 200 billion per year for five years) to ensure reliable clean water supply to households. 
  2. Thirdway Alliance Kenya specifies the number of indigenous trees that will be planted (5 million indigenous trees in five years) to rehabilitate water towers.
  3. The Alliance recognizes land grabbing as one of the major challenges facing the water towers and promises to recover all illegally allocated land in the water towers. 
  4. Thirdway Alliance Kenya promises to explore nuclear energy to meet the country’s energy demand. 
  5. Thirdway Alliance Kenya specifies how to provide water to the county industrial parks (from boreholes, building dams & water pans).
  6. Above others, Thirdway Alliance Kenya recognizes lack of a comprehensive and nationally acceptable environmental policy, failed enforcement of existing laws as some of the issues working against environmental conservation in Kenya.

The other observation is while Jubilee boasts that their construction of water harvesting and storage infrastructure across the country has enhanced water security, provided stable water supply for human and livestock consumption all year round and reduced flooding, a week into the 2018 long rains season, the media is already reporting deaths, destruction and loss of properties due to flooding. 

The Jubilee administration should therefore borrow, integrate and implement the measurable intentions from Thirdway Alliance Kenya’s manifesto, allocate resources, mobilize participation and prioritize action to ensure a sustainable, livable society.