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One of the tasks which have eluded the previous governments is the eradication of poverty. ODM will be well placed if it can articulate clearly during the campaign period how it plans to do the job. The advantage of using eradication of poverty as the platform is its universal appeal. there are poor people in all the eight provinces of kenya and any suggestion about how poverty could be eradicated will catch the attention of even people who are PANU damu.
I believe that poverty will be significantly reduced if not completely eliminated if good roads are constructed and maintained. To that end I am suggesting that, ODM campaign with slogan that its priority will be to construct good road network. Good road network will ensure that the average citizen can access their jobs, business or health services from whatever part of the country. They will also be able to reach the government offices within acceptable time periods to get whatever services they require. Trade schools and training facilities will also be accessible. It will ensure that a Kikuyu from Njiris in Muranga could live at home and retain his/her job at Maji house in Nairobi hence saving the rent for other worthy needs. Similarly a Luo from the outermost parts of Nyanza, say Aora chuodho in Homa Bay district could have access to sell her sikuma wiki or oranges at Homa Bay, Migori or Kisii where the prizes are much better.
Initially,Geographic Information system (GIS) should be used to do an inventory of the existing road network. Based on the findings, funds could be allocated in such a way to correct the deficiencies of the previous governments at the same time pay attention to specific development area such as Coffee /Tea growing area and the major tourist attraction which brings in revenue to the government. GIS is versatile enough to provide an informed distribution devoid of individual bias. Use of the system will help managers and administrators to answer critics of their decisions.
To ensure that the goal of the initiative is achieved, the present ministries for Works and Transport will have to be restructured and synchronized to allow smooth administration of the design, construction and maintenance of roads and highways. There will be a need to collect accident data to analyze the patterns with an aim to finding solutions to why accidents are so prevalent along our roads. There will also be a need to ensure that all traffic control devices such as road signs, pavement markings and traffic control signal are in proper working conditions. All this will call for standards and a system to ensure hat the standards are adhered to. A good pull of consulting engineering firms and contractors will also be required to ensure that correct modifications are recommended and the modifications are constructed not only in time but according to specifications and estimates
To finance this new initiative I am suggestion that a pot (to use a layman’s language) or a Transportation Trust Fund be created separate from the general consolidated fund for financing transportation issues. It should be noted that the fund should not only for road but any other transportation related issues. This trust should be funded with special transportation related taxes such as fuel tax, sale tax from buy vehicles, vehicle registration fees, toll fees, driver’s license fees, vehicle titling taxes, bonds, corporate income taxes, fines for traffic offences, operating revenues such as bus/Train fares (government owned Bus/train services), fees from air/sea ports and Aid from the general consolidated fund.
Some of these facts should find their way in the campaign utterances to let the electorates know that change is on the way. Use of these fact will eliminate the need to vilify the opponents or use of negatives to fill the void.
I seriously believe that with good road network, citizens will generate wealth themselves without government handout such as women or youth funds. This is what has made The USA rich. The interstate roads connect all the states and the roads are in good conditions. Even during winter people in Minnesota still eat oranges as they can be transported effectively from Florida or California where they (oranges ) are grown. Most of the farmlands are in the midwest but the milk and beef from those parts are available fresh everywher in the continental USA. People who maybe have only high school level of education own trucks which transport these commodities. That is poverty eradicated right there, without even counting those employed as drivers, packers of the goods and those involved clearing and forwarding. How many of our high school leavers are langushing in the community without anything to do?
Poverty is a major setback in Kenya today. Since independence, the people of Kenya have had serious problems and this can be blamed on the previous regimes. The skewed allocation of resources has been the main undoing of the Kenyatta, Moi and Kibaki regime.
Through devolution, the ODM government will be at a better position to eradicate poverty in Kenya. There is need for the central government to encourage the private sector participation by developing infrastructure and lowering the cost of energy and communication. This way, the foreign and local investors will be able to set up industries in all regions of the country hence create employment and at the same time reduce the rural urban migration. Once this is achieved, Kenya will be able to compete well with other developed countries in the global market.
Our country is rich agriculturally but the farmers do not get good prices for their produce. I therefore propose that the ODM government should look for ways of ensuring that the farmers get value for their produce. By promoting local farmers, I believe many people will be able to provide their families with food, decent shelter and access health services. However, security is also a major factor in eradicating poverty.
What Kenya needs as a country is a proper development policy that is devoid of any partisan or tribal agenda. We should not allow our leaders to seek power in the name of “it’s time for our community to eat”, but they should be judged by the kind of policy they lay down before us.
The ODM manifesto is very impressive and the way poverty issue is tackled is the best for our country – only if the leaders are not carried away by the “sweetness of power” after we give them the mandate to lead us in December. We also have some of the best brains in ODM and I believe they will come up with the best development plan for Kenya.
It is my sincere hope and dream that the ODM will not let Kenyans down the way this government has done.
To the Pentagon and all ODM supporters, let me remind you that it is “not yet uhuru” and we have to keep going strong and vigilant.
Lack of jobs, diseases like HIV/AIDS resulting to suffering orphans who may be left with old grand parents or drop out of school to look for work to feed themselves. Orphan girls end up getting married or abused with no guardian to watch over them. Children turn into street children or hawkers for survival. Rape and child abusing resulting into girls dropping out of school to take care of their children. Widows suffering when the breadwinner dies living them with no income and the cycle of suffering rotates from generation to generations. This is common in developing countries in Africa due to poor leadership. Leaders who only think of how to fill their stomach and that of their ethnic tribes. They only remember others when we are near elections time that is why we look upon Hon Raila Odinga and his Pentagon counterparts for real change in Kenya. We want a government that will come up with ways that will elevate Kenyans from terrible poverty. I want a government that will look into the welfare of Children and not let any child suffer.
Despite the ODM’s lead in the opinion polls, they should strategically use the results to consolidate their lead in the successful regions and vigorously target Mt Kenya and Eastern regions. We should sell our party, team leadership and what we intend to do to the youth and the marginalised masses in the Mt Kenya and Eastern regions. These people should be targeted and made to understand what ODM has for them so that they do not believe the lies peddled by tribalist corrupt old generation leaders from their regions who simply fear and hate Raila for no particular good reasons. I believe the youths and the poor masses will listen and vote for the much needed real change that the majority of Kenyans are yearning for. I still believe that ODM can target these people who want change and garner at least 25% votes in all the eight provinces including Mt Kenya and Eastern regions. Let’s humble ourselves as ODM supports and voters to woo our friends who have been held hostage by tribalists. The future is all Orange and Raila will truely and trustfully lead all Kenyans in this journey to the stars. Viva ODM!!!
Kenya will continue as a country of a 10th-percentile stinkingly-rich individuals and 90th-percentile poor citizens. If one considers what the current and previous governments have done to reduce poverty amongst Kenyans, one shudders at what the future holds for the majority of Kenyans.
The majority of Kenyans have relied on small-scale farming and fishing to eke out a living and send their children to school. As the population grows and pieces of land get sub-divided within families, the small-scale farming industry is increasingly becoming an endangered species.
The continued pollution of rivers and lakes and the falling of water levels thanks to de-forestation and climate change only help paint a bleak future for Kenyans as the fish industry and irrigated farming become threatened.
One of the powerful tools in fighting poverty in Kenya is empowering Kenyans with skills and knowledge. If ODM takes power in Kenya, as is the hope of those many Kenyans who would like to see their country change course radically and take a more aggresive and results-achieving route, they have to make empowering of Kenyans their main policy.
One way of empowering Kenyans with knowledge and skills is through continuing education. I would like to see the Ministry of Education split into two. The Ministry of Education should only deal with kindergarten, primary, secondary school education, and vocational training.
I would like to see the ODM government create the Ministry of Higher and Continuing Education. The Ministry of Higher and Continuing Education will be responsible for overseeing university education, technical training (polytechnics and institutes of technology), and continuing education. Continuing education will be an evolution of the current and results-unachieving Adult Education, which is misplaced under the Ministry of Social Services.
The continuing education program will allow every Kenyan who so chooses to continue with their education and skills development even to a degree level. How many Kenyans out there are skilled in some trade but cannot apply their skills for lack of training and empowerment.
I have met many Kenyans who desire to start small-scale industries on a co-operative basis but cannot do so for lack of funds and support. There are places in Kenya where stone crushing can be a huge industry. There are very windy areas in Kenya where Wind Power can be developed with minor expert support.
The design and building of sanitary latrines in rural areas can be another major industry. Plots of land are becoming incresingly small. Families in many rural areas of Kenya are now digging pit latrines. The unfortunate thing, however, is that they dig pit latrines and next to the pit latrine, they also drill a water borehole. This is an area where local talent can be tapped and with support from local universities, a major industry employing thousands of Kenyans can grow out of this area of necessity.
As pieces of land become smaller, methods of food production have to change. Many farmers in Japan have small pieces of land but can produce lots of food using modern technology. Kenyan small-scale farmers have to learn to use modern technology.
For all these to be possible, there has to be devolution of power. The residents of North Eastern province can better manage their affairs and equip and empower local people because they know their needs and challenges best. Kenya will continue to lag behind as long as the management of Kenyan development is centralized and headquartered in Nairobi.
The people of Coast Province are better-equipped to manage their own affairs than people in Nairobi directing them and managing things for them. Kenya is a diverse country. It is diverse geographically, climate-wise, and culturally. This diversity must be rec ognized and tapped for the benefits of all Kenyans.
It is only by devolution that such diversity can be exploited to the full benefit of Kenyans. The selfish old men – Moi and Kibaki – are speaking against devolution out of selfishness and because their massive wealth have blinded them from seeing the huge potential of devolution in building a Kenya where all Kenyans wherever they live can lead a decent life.
I would also like to see the ODM government establish an independent authority to be called the National Policy Auditing Authority and appoint the Directors of both the Institute of Develeopment Studies and Policy Research at the University of Nairobi and other local universities to that authority. The authority will be evaluating and auditing separate from the Ministry of National Planning all governemt policies and how effective and useful they have been.
The ministry headquarters in Nairobi will be responsible for sourcing and allocating funds while the day-to-day and nitty-gritty management of education, health, and infra-structure should be left to the regions. Unless Kenya takes a radical step towards reform, it will remain a poor third-world country for ever.
On Issues of Disability
I am impressed by the Hon. Mudavadi coming out to meet the disability members of our society, even though the event was not covered by the media the attendance was remarkable.
Some issues tha I would bring to the attention of the Pentagone members and the ODM fraternity are as follows:-
1. The Disability Act needs policy backing.
2. There is need to modernize the special education system in Kenya
3. The current administration has conducted a survey to ascertain the numbers and form of disablity affecting kenya today. This data might just be archived but it is valuable for policy change.
As a friend to the people with disability esp Deaf kenyans, I am troubled by the following issues that need immediate top bottom reforms:-
1. MOEST, KIE, KISE, KNEC and TSC have been doing injustice to our Deaf Kenyans by teaching them using the outdated oralism and total communciations techniques. A case in point is when you visit most of the units of the Deaf or schools of the Deaf you will be shocked to find a teacher shouting and talking to the Deaf! Now this is dumb! It is like writing on a black board to blind students….it is unheard off and a violation of the dignity of these kenyans.
My recommendations to this problem would be
1. Recognition and elevation of Kenyan Sign Language to a national language and a mode of instruction in all schools with deaf individuals.
2. It goes without saying that all teachers working with Deaf students must know and use Kenyan Sign Language.
3. An overhoul of the entire KISE/KIE special educations unit – Hearing Impaired Department. This institutions should be headed by qualified, competent and modern technocrats that will revolutionize the special Deaf education sector and bring it to par with international standards.
4. Empower the Deaf Kenyans through the implementation of the People with Disabilities Act…review and amendments to the sections talking about Kenyan Sign language, its development, use and preservation. There needs to be an explicit law mentioning the availability of a training program for Teachers of the Deaf, Kenyan Sign Language trainers and Linguists, Interpreters and other users. Kenyan Television stations and movies or other etertainment inmultimedia entering Kenya must have captioning or interpreter assisted caption for access. Availability of qualified interpreters in courts, churches, hospitals, schools, Universities (it is sad to note that there are atleast 5 students attending University and the the lecturers rumble on with no considerations for the deaf students.
5. All the schools of the Deaf are private institutions charging very expensive fees. As fate would have it most of the causes of Deafness in Kenya are from preventable sources – Malaria, Mumps, Menengitis, Otis Media infections….mostly due lack of access to appropriate medical care for pregnant mothers…..Poverty is root cause. To reduce the instances of deafness we need to improve the healthcare and access to essential care for mothers….in the meantime what can ODM do to help? Subsidize school fees at a higher percentage from the current KES 2,000 per child to full free primary education – there are only 3 Secondary schools for the Deaf in Kenya while there is atleat over 20,000 children in Primary schools for the Deaf in Kenya every year. Train more teachers and Interpreters in Kenyan Sign Language to deal with the load!
6. Hearing Aids would help some not all Deaf people in Kenya. pre lingually deafened individuals (born Deaf) may not benefit from them, cochlear inplants could be a solution but are very costly and often done abroad and not all are successful.
7. Finally, Nairobi City Council Askaris harass and mistreat Deaf vendors in the streets – I would recommend a formal aggreement between the Kenyan National Association of the Deaf and NCBD and NCC to create Deaf friendly zones, social clubs within the city center for the handful of Deaf kenyans to sell their wares and socialize with their friends. You might be laughing at the point of socialization…..Deaf individuals have limited access to important everyday information, many do not have well paying jobs, like many kenyans they have developed a culture within this community whee by due to the social economic predicaments they gather around bus stages, street corners to have an informal debate about the daily occurence and happenings around them, the literate read the paper and translate the stories into Kenyan Sign Language for the illiterate or those poor unable to afford the paper. thus these gatherings form a very intergral part of Deaf socialization. So the next time you meet these people at KENCOM, Ambassaduer Hotel, GPO etc take a closer look…
Let me leave it here for now and get back to campaigning and lobbying for more votes for us to realize a liberation that is long overdue.
Please visit the following Websites for more information on the Deaf Kenyans….
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