Kenya

William Ruto: I’ll build united, secure and prosperous Kenya

The Kenya Kwanza Alliance is a proud family of political parties united by the desire to bring together all our citizens in the noble struggle to build a Kenya for everyone: a more inclusive society, a more just government and a more prosperous economy where everyone matters, and no one is left behind.

Our multi-party era created a stupendous false dichotomy by which the country’s politics was defined in six elections. On each side, tribalists and tyrants congregated and proclaimed themselves to be nationalists and freedom fighters, thus attracting authentic patriots and selfless Kenyans to their ranks.

As a result, elections in Kenya never produced any meaningful change, and the ideological and programmatic distinctions between different sides were superficial and illusory. In the end, many Kenyans became disillusioned and unimpressed with politics, governance and leadership.

As defections between supposedly ideologically distinct political factions evolved into partnerships, which turned into mergers before growing to grand coalition governments, our eyes were being opened to the arbitrariness and fluidity of political identities among leading politicians. To them, political platforms were meaningless labels to be worn and discarded at whim.

Shameless opportunism

When the excuses for selfish and cynical manoeuvring ran out, shameless opportunism and heartless treachery showed its fangs and claws. The handshake, BBI and Azimio exposed the negotiability of ideologies, principles and convictions. Tribalists, dynastic oligarchs and tyrants formulated a scheme to force Kenyans to accept betrayal and agree that it was for their own good.

This outrageous political experiment triggered the paradigm shift that forced Kenyans to mobilise and take a stand to fight for their dignity, their freedom, their future, their constitution and their country.

 Azimio has openly brandished illegitimately deployed State resources, blatant tribalism and the threat of subversion of the constitution as their strategic advantages. The state has continued to suppress freedoms, sabotage enterprises, annex independent institutions and arms of government in aid of their presidential campaign.

The more Azimio’s impunity grew, the more repulsed Kenyans became and the more repressive and violent the state turned. The Azimio platform has catalysed the descent of the Kenyan state into unprecedented impunity, and Azimio is parasitic upon this perversion. It is a vicious cycle that Kenyans have resolved to flee from.

The people of Kenya finally saw the real choices before them. They made it clear that they wanted to be treated as equal citizens by a government that serves them, and gets out of the way of their hopes and dreams. The people of Kenya were categorical in their rejection of a culture of contempt, of being subordinated into second-class citizenship by leaders they elected and appointed, of being robbed of opportunities and impoverished by corruption.

Creates jobs

Kenyans want an accountable political system that is citizen-centred, not one rigged to benefit a few. They want an economic system that seeks prosperity, increases incomes, creates jobs and eliminates inequality. And they want an end to the culture of deceit, fraudulent political deal-making and opportunistic configurations in pursuit of selfish gain.

The political terrain has finally settled, and the choices are clear. Kenya Kwanza is the movement where citizens of Kenya have mobilised around democratisation of the economy, equal opportunity, the dignity of work and the pursuit of prosperity from the bottom-up economic model.

Kenya Kwanza is the alliance that built a campaign of engaging and listening to the people and giving priority to the concerns, desires, needs and hopes of ordinary wananchi in every part of the country. Kenya Kwanza is the alliance that congregated Kenyans to re-imagine our politics, economy and governance and to meet the needs of a growing population on a sustainable basis.

Kenya Kwanza is the platform that united Kenyans in pulling their politics out of the swamps of ethnicity and sectarianism into the domain of issues and ideas.

To do this, Kenya Kwanza patiently engaged Kenyans throughout the country in exhaustive, issue-based conversations and mobilised peacefully without discrimination. To develop the regional as well as sectoral charters, which then informed the development of  our manifesto, the alliance embarked on a national consultative exercise in two years, comparable in scope and thoroughness only to the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission hearings in the early 2000s.

Our focus on agriculture is aimed at decisively eradicating the shame of hunger for good, while enhancing agro-industrial competitiveness and creating millions of jobs. We have resolved to embark on a housing programme that will create millions of direct and indirect jobs and make decent homes available to Kenyans of all walks of life.

Through the Universal Health Care plan, we want to liberate Kenyan households from the precarious situation of being one illness away from poverty. With the plan, families can invest their savings instead of spending them on healthcare.

Our deliberate programme to expand manufacturing is informed by Kenya’s competitive imperative, the need to secure a stronger balance of trade position and create even more jobs. Moreover, a manufacturing capacity increases incomes along value chains, ensuring that farmers and producers of raw material grow their wealth.

Employ young people

The overarching intention underpinning our plan is to creatively ignite a stimulus that will turn around our economy, employ young people continuously, enhance incomes and eradicate gross inequality. This is how my Kenya Kwanza government will liberate the economy and ensure everyone in this country is able to lead a life of dignity.

The immense national appeal of the Kenya Kwanza platform canw be determined empirically. Kenya’s largest party on all parameters – membership as well as numerical and national spread of its candidates – is the United Democratic Alliance (UDA), which is only 18 months old. It mounted the biggest nomination exercise in the history of the country, second only to the IEBC-conducted national elections.

As a family, Kenya Kwanza Alliance sponsors candidates in every part of the country in all the six elective positions.

Kenya Kwanza has taken a stand that is well-known and embraced by the people of Kenya on each issue that matters. In so doing, it has embraced a novel format of public engagement, plugged into the people’s expectations of their leaders and government, and radically re-oriented the means and purposes of political activity in Kenya.

Kenya Kwanza has also articulated its unwavering commitment to national values and principles of governance, the independence and sustainability of our institutions, the integrity of the public service and the robustness of our democracy. Kenya Kwanza is committed to human rights and fundamental freedoms.

We have used every opportunity to showcase these crucial commitments throughout our countrywide campaigns. Our hopes for a united, secure, sovereign and prosperous Kenya are the building blocks of our unstoppable movement.

These are the reasons Kenyans will wake up early and vote for me as the fifth President on August 9.

The writer is the Deputy President of Kenya and UDA/Kenya Kwanza presidential candidate

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