The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: We Cannot Ignore Donor Partners, Says Musalia

Amani presidential candidate Musalia Mudavadi has cautioned Kenyans to avoid the temptation of wishing away development partners.

Mudavadi warned that strained relations between Kenya and its close friends in the West could lead the country losing all the gains it has so far achieved since independence.

Launching his Amani Coalition manifesto, Mudavadi said the party was fully committed to regional and international cooperation while upholding the integrity and sovereignty of the Kenyan nation.

"We are not an island. We live in a village called the world. When the recession coughs in Europe, we suffer the pangs of prolonged economic stagnation," he said.

Mudavadi was accompanied at the launch ceremony held at the KICC by his running mate Jeremiah Kioni, Kanu chairman Gideon Moi, Kanu secretary general Nick Salat and New Ford Kenya secretary general Ben Muema.

"An economy that has collapsed does not create conditions for peace. We must avoid the temptation to wish away our development partners," he said.

He assured all Kenyans that he will form an inclusive government that includes some of his opponents in the March 4 election should he form the next government.

"I will stretch my arm to all of my rivals so that we work together for a better country. My rivals should not be scared of my win," he said.

Mudavadi described Amani's ten-point manifesto as "realistic and pragmatic with a sense of purpose" noting that it provided a balance of genuine expectations against the resources available for economic growth.

The manifesto is anchored on six national priorities which were based on the aspirations of Kenyans to have a dignified life.

The six priorities include restructuring the economy, competent management of the economy, full implementation of the constitution, economic empowerment for the youth, mainstreaming of gender, and accelerating regional and continental integration that reflect the national budgetary realities.

Amani also promises to provide an effective and efficient security system that assures Kenyans, local and international investors' safety and protection of life and property.

Mudavadi said an Amani government will expedite the completion of Vision 2030 flagship projects particularly physical infrastructure like the early completion of the LAPSSET Project.

"LAPSSET is real. It will open up a 600 million people market in East and Central Africa for Kenyan goods and services," he said.

Mudavadi said the project will exploit Kenya's natural resources and generate further investment opportunities for the people along its rail, road and pipeline corridors.

Mudavadi said an Amani government will fully implement the constitution, the rule of law, especially the devolution agenda; leadership and integrity and the Bill of Rights.

It further promises to diversify the economy from agriculture to include industrialisation, science, innovation and technology (SIT), effective transportation systems, improved infrastructure and decentralised processing and packaging of resources at production points.

Amani promises to initiate and sustain a pragmatic, empowering and skills-based education system that will be a catalyst to a revamped economy and an avenue for inclusivity for the marginalised, minorities, youth and women.

"For us in Amani, state funded free nursery, primary and secondary education is a must-do because it is the catalyst to a revamped economy and an avenue for inclusivity," he said.

Diversification and ushering in sensible management of the economy as a means to expand agricultural production is another key area Mudavadi said his government will give top priority.

Mudavadi also promised to create and sustain an effective youth empowerment strategy. "The strategy will guarantee and ensure central participation of the youth in wealth creation, decision-making and policy implementation."

"We shall provide accessible and affordable healthcare, clean potable water and a comprehensive social security scheme with medical insurance policy for all senior citizens and people with disability."

He also promised to mainstream gender to guarantee the constitutional provisions, distribute national resources under devolution policy equitably to ensure that those in disadvantaged regions effectively share in national resources.

Kioni said the choice for Kenyan voters on March 4 will be that of continuing with the status quo or that of improving the lives of the general populace.

Gideon Moi commended Mudavadi as a person of great humility and urged Kenyans to join and vote for the coalition because it is the only one that espouses the national agenda.

"Mudavadi has what it takes to give Kenyans back their country. He has the credentials to to rediscover the independence dream," said Gideon.

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