5 February 2013

Kenya: Candidates Should Price Out Their Promises


IT is manifesto time. And we are being made lots of beautiful promises by our presidential candidates.

Some general commitments are fine. Prof ole Kiyiapi says he will make Kenya a more equitable society. That's good news because Kenya has the highest level of income inequality in Africa after Angola, South Africa and Nigeria.

Martha Karua says she will end corruption. We all hope that will happen.

Whether or not these general promises are achieved, they are a statement of intent. We cannot complain about them.

However, an issue arises where specific promises are made that may be unaffordable.

Uhuru Kenyatta has promised to give a computer to every kid joining Class 1 every year. How much will that cost?

Raila Odinga has promised to create a million jobs each year. How much will that cost?

Peter Kenneth has promised to build a national hospital in every county. How much will that cost?

The candidates themselves need to give the electorate a rough estimate of how much their specific promises will cost to execute, and how they will be paid for.

Otherwise these promises will end up just looking like hot air intended to insincerely seduce the electorate.

Quote of the day: "You won the elections, but I won the count." - Anastasio Somoza was elected President of Nicaragua on February 5, 1967

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