STATE OF OUR NATION TODAY – THE URGENT NEED FOR A NATIONAL CONVERSATION
1. A DIVISIVE POLITICAL CLIMATE Thirdway Alliance Kenya (TAK) recognizes that Kenyans are dissatisfied with the current political climate deliberately generated by a clique of the political class, as well as false promises out of the 2017 election. Kenyans are disillusioned and somewhat unsure which way for the country. Consequently, there is absolute need to have a national conversation with the government of President Uhuru Kenyatta as a matter of urgency.
2. A SELFISH & CONNIVING POLITICAL CLASS TAK has analyzed the current political environment in our country and we are concerned that a few individuals with a false sense of entitlement are rallying unsuspecting ordinary citizens to a political instigated death trap. First, TAKE appeals to all Kenyans to shun such characters and engage in constructive political conversations that will result into better living standards for all.
Lest we forget, Kenyans may recall that 10 years ago, Kenyan leaders ignited electoral violence whose victims were 100% ordinary Kenyans. The negotiations that followed secured political positions for those who were “aggrieved” but did not end marginalization of the ordinary Kenya from benefiting from state resources. That dialogue, which was even chaired by foreigners, only benefited individual politicians; not even the communities or tribes they come from; that political class only use their communities for personal and family benefit.
3. REFUSAL TO ADDRESS HISTORICAL INJUSTICES It is painful to note that ordinary Kenyans were advised to move on, forgive and forget after they were maimed, raped, their properties looted, displaced, and killed by goons hired by politicians. The poor fisherman in Bondo, Kisumu, Turkana, Kilifi or the poor farmer in Murang’a, Kitui, Kirinyaga and Uasin Gishu or the nomadic pastoralist of Narok, Mandera, Tana River, Wajir and Marsabit continued to face the same daily challenges they faced before the power sharing agreement but with wounds to heal and new graves in their homesteads.
In fact, the talk about inclusion being peddled by some politicians would not be a subject of discussion if those who shared power then embarked on initiatives to end social and economic injustices in Kenya. Our Constitution provides for sharing of Kenya’s national cake equitably through counties. The national budget statement is a product of public participation and all leaders should be currently engaging the national government with proposals on how to best share our national cake. Sitting back and politicking over nothing will not help the people who look up to us as their leaders. We cannot have a nation where leaders specialize in lamentations instead of providing solutions that will improve the lives of their people.
4. DANGEROUS POLITICS. We are aware that our Country is slowly being torn apart by selfish individuals specializing in non-issue based politics as we all as tribal machinations, self-entitlement kind of politics.
However, these individuals must note that their kind of politics is dangerous for Kenya and threatens to destroy the only country we all have. Our party urges all Kenyans to focus on their day-to-day work that will ensure that they put food on the table. Let us fight poverty fellow Kenyans; a nation with millions of poor citizens cannot afford the luxury of political instability or war.
For the above reasons, our party is proposing a National Conversation that is predicated on the challenges Kenyans face daily, and which deny them a better life in Kenya; the intent of this conversation is to give priority to national problems, not “individual” problems. When national problems are addressed, even individual problems would have been addressed.
Here is our proposed agenda for National Dialogue:
1. ENDING THEFT OF PUBLIC MONEY We propose that President Uhuru’s administration should declare theft of public money a national disaster and embark on a multi-faceted plan to annihilate this heinous crime and ensure thieves of public money are punished and shamed without fear or favour. We propose that the national conversation on this particular national priority focuses on the following aspects:
1.1 How Courts and the office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) shall be legally required to expedite all theft of public money cases in a record 60 days at the very most. 1.2 That investigations on any case relating to theft of public money be completed
within 30 days 1.3 That the Auditor General reports be used as basis of initiating investigation, as well as being the first piece of evidence; and how each issue raised on the audit reports must be prosecuted without fail 1.4 That we devise a mechanism to punish investigators and DPP in the event any of
the issues raised in Auditor General reports is not prosecuted. 1.5 Devise a legal mechanism requiring judges to highlight reasons for dismissal of any corruption cases. In the event that shoddy investigation is cited as the reason for dismissal of cases by courts, the investigating officers should be prosecuted for incompetence, neglect of duty or collaboration/conspiracy with the accused. 1.6 Courts and DPP to publish monthly progress of all cases in their websites and in
widely circulated dailies 1.7 On conviction, all thieves of public money to return the loot and personal assets to be auctioned to recover not only the amount stolen but an additional 10% of the amount stolen. 1.8 Initiate bankruptcy proceeding against all convicts who fail to settle the amounts
required in 1.7 above.
1.9 Legislate to establish a department that will review and set half yearly maximum
public procurement prices for all goods and services
1.10 All parties involved in the theft of public money must be prosecuted jointly. The private sector is a major participant in theft of public funds. Directors of commercial enterprises must face the same consequences as public officers convicted for corruption.
2. HEALTH CARE Our health is our wealth and we must stop gambling with the lives of Kenyans. It is a fact that our health sector in very bad shape and most Kenyans are unable to settle medical bills. We are concerned that a large number of Kenyans travel overseas to seek medical care for ailments that would be easily managed locally if capacity in public hospitals in enhanced.
We propose the following conversation relating to this yet another national priority:
2.1 That NHIF medical cover be used to settle bills without any limit in all public health institutions. We can no longer continue buying coffins for the many Kenyans who die prematurely from treatable illnesses. It is only unreasonable that our NHIF pay, for example, to Indian hospitals over KES 10 billion annually to treat Kenyans there. This is money we must invest in our own medicare.
2.2 That National government increases the number of referral hospitals by, at least, one referral hospital in the former provinces in the next 4 years to end congestion at Kenyatta national and Moi Teaching and Referral hospitals.
2.3 Set aside KES 1 billion per year in the next 10 years for postgraduate programs for doctors that will support training of specialization programs for doctors. All doctors trained under this program to sign a 10-year post qualification service agreement with government upon receiving the study grant.
2.4 Provide various incentives including corporate tax waivers to attract local
investment in pharmaceutical manufacturing.
2.5 Optimally equip local referral and level 4 & 5 hospitals so that Kenyans can get
any form of treatment locally.
2.6 Pass a law to bind all public servants and all elected officials to compulsorily seek
medical care in public hospitals
3. EDUCATION Education equips individuals with all lifelong skills and is one of the most necessary catalysts for development in any economy. We submit that public education system must not be discriminative and propose that the national conversation on this priority focus on the following:
3.1 The need to abolish school fees in all public-learning institutions immediately. Every citizen deserves a decent education; we propose that the current free secondary education be extended to all public secondary schools, TIVETS, colleges and universities.
3.2 Pass a law requiring all public servants to only enroll their children in public
learning institutions and those in default to be forced to leave public service.
3.3 Standardize all public learning institutions and adequately equip public libraries
4. WATER There is an urgent need to provide clean and reliable water to all citizens. We therefore propose that the National conversation on this priority area focus on the following:
4.1 That both the national and county governments immediately embark on an initiative that will ensure that every Kenyan household is connected with clean, piped water within the next 3 years. To achieve this goal, we propose that the national government invests in dams and allocates a minimum of KES 1 billion shillings per county to support the “clean and reliable water for all” project.
4.2 That the national government must invest heavily in water harvesting and ensure every drop of rain does not go to waste. Our people needed water in 1963 and cannot wait any longer.
4.3 That county governments drills adequate boreholes in arid and semi-arid counties to ensure that there is adequate water for both livestock and people living there; and that source of water can be linked to agricultural projects.
5. FOOD SECURITY AND COST OF LIVING It is shameful that 55 years after independence, Kenyans are perennially exposed to starvation. No single Kenyan should die of hunger in this 21st Century. We propose that the government immediately embarks on measures that will boost food production. To ensure reliable food supply, we must stop over reliance on rain dependent agriculture. To achieve reliable food supply, we propose that the National Conversation focuses on the following:
5.1 Identification of food crops that can be grown in various regions with ease 5.2 Setting aside funds for farmer training and setting-up of demonstration farms 5.3 Mechanization of small scale farms 5.4 Taxation of idle and arable land 5.5 Investment in water harvesting to support both livestock and agriculture 5.6 Setting-up of a loan scheme that will provide funds to finance development of
greenhouses. 5.7 Supporting production and storage of fodder in all arid and semi-arid areas 5.8 Annihilation of the robbery with violence commonly called “cattle rustling”. This crime robs pastoralist of millions of shillings that could be invested in meat production.
6. EMPLOYMENT CREATION Majority of our youthful population are mostly unemployed and underemployed. The government must immediately come up with very clear plans of creating employment beyond the promises in its manifesto. Employment creation for our youth cannot be achieved through mere wishes that development of infrastructure will translate to creation of employment opportunities. We propose that government immediately embarks on deliberate plans to spur agro-processing, meat and leather processing in the counties. Our proposal is that the plans should include the following:
6.1.1 Revival of the cotton and leather industry and ensure that Kenya produces and satisfies over 90% of local textile industry needs within a 5-year period.
6.1.2 Cooperative-based agro-processing plants, dairy factories (to produce cheese,
ghee, fresh milk, chocolate, yoghurt from cow, goat and camel milk)
6.1.3 Cooperative-based greenhouse farming projects
6.1.4 Cooperative-based small-scale mining companies
6.1.5 Cooperative-based slaughter houses and leather processing plants in all cattle
6.1.6 Enhance capacity to fully blend and package all local tea and coffee
6.1.7 Cooperative-based coconut and cashewnut products processing plants in
Kilifi, Kwale, Tana River, and Lamu
6.1.8 Cooperative-based fish processing plants in the counties of Mombasa,
Turkana, Nakuru, Baringo, and the Nyanza counties.
6.1.9 The setting aside of, at least, KES 1.5 billion per year per county to be advanced to the cooperative groups as soft loans to help set-up the above initiatives.
7. ENDING TRIBALISM & NEGATIVE ETHNICITY Negative ethnicity is our country’s greatest enemy posing a bigger threat to the existence of a united Kenya more than Al Shabab. We propose that urgent measures to engage all stakeholders be taken to ensure that Kenya becomes a tribe-less country. We propose that national cohesion initiatives be part of our school curriculum, but it must also be driven by the political class. We must confront this issue without being politically-correct.
8. STRENGTHEN DEVOLUTION There is urgent need to increase the funds disbursed to counties. However, we must closely follow that money to the last penny. Agriculture is a devolved function and being the main driver of Kenyan economy, we must invest heavily to support both small scale and large-scale production in the counties. The counties must also formulate public private partnerships that will support investment in agro-processing. The funds will also support rapid supply of clean water and building of all-weather gravel feeder roads.
9. SECURITY REFORMS We propose that the national government collaborates with all county governments to ensure security for all. There are sufficient provisions in the constitution that justifies even the transfer of this function to the counties with closer collaboration and cooperation between the national and county governments. Refer to Articles 6, 187 & 189 of the Constitution. Security is an essential economic development component and the national government must guarantee security to ensure that economic activities are carried in safe environment. We propose recruitment of new police officers and retraining of existing personnel to ensure that they are equipped to handle emerging crimes. A county police force is an option
On electoral reforms, we demand that the government convenes a task force that will review the recent general elections and make recommendations that will improve our electoral system.
10. PUBLIC DEBT The public debt has hit the roof and we propose that the national government engages international lenders with any intention of restructuring the current debt portfolio to ensure that not more than 20% of our internally generated revenue goes to debt repayment. The government must also widen the tax base and make revenue collection more efficient.
11. LIBERATION OF POWER GENERATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF INTER
COUNTIES HIGHWAYS The cost of electricity has been identified as a major hindrance to industrialization. We therefore propose that power generation and distribution be liberalized immediately to ensure reliability. Parliament should urgently pass a law to enable county governments with potential for geothermal, solar, wind and other renewable sources of energy to enter into private public partnerships (PPP) in power generation and distribution.
Individual and corporate investors with capacity to invest in power generation and distribution must also be encouraged to invest in the sector. The Kenya power and lighting company monopoly has proven to be inefficient and unreliable resulting in the ever-high power tariffs. Cheap and reliable power will help power our ever-elusive industrial boom.
The national government must put in place a clear plan to link all counties with high standard highways to ease transportation of goods and services to support inter-counter trade. The roads must be completed in 5 years.
12. REFERENDUM TO REDUCE NUMBER OF MPs We note as a matter of fact that we are over-represented without any value coming out of that over-representation. We want a working parliament; not political parties in parliament. Our parliament has become an avenue to rob Kenyans of their taxes. How to rob Kenyans is the only thing uniting our parliamentarians; not the issues we have outlined in this document. We therefore propose the reduction of parliamentarians (both Senate and national Assembly to a maximum of 194). This will save Kenyans billions of shillings that would be invested in the projects proposed above. This is a conversation Kenyans must urgently have. Thirdway Alliance is already drafting a constitutional amendment proposal to reduce the size of our Parliament to 194. The current cost of running parliament is not sustainable.
13. APPOINTMENT OF CABINET SECRETARIES We urge the President Kenyatta to name the cabinet immediately to ensure that the government is fully functional and can deliver services to the citizens. This will also ensure that our political role as the opposition kicks-starts in earnest.
14. ROLE OF MEDIA IN DEVELOPING OR RETROGRESSING A SOCIETY We recognize without doubt that the role of the media is supposed to inform the public truthfully. The media must disseminate information that is well researched on and must not be seen to support baseless allegations, especially in politics. We specifically challenge the media to read article 3(2) of the constitution then publish and air the truthful interpretation of the article. The media fraternity must rise above mere reporting and must stop giving credence to information that will add no value to the progress of Kenya as a nation.
FOR: THIRDWAY ALLIANCE KENYA
EKURU AUKOT Party Leader