As I have repeatedly said, I remain deeply committed to seeing our country evolve a government that is committed first and foremost to investing in the people.
I remain deeply committed to overseeing a country that measures its well-being not by the GDP but by the impact of policies on real lives of real people at the household level-a society truly committed to uplifting the poor in its midst.
That is why I disclosed last week that as we go around inviting Kenyans into our unity agenda under the Azimio la Umoja, our single focus is going to be how to ensure our people are fed, healthy, educated and safe before all other considerations, now, and well into the future.
We are determined to ensure that our people have adequate food and that no child will be born into poverty again and be confined to poverty as has become the norm in this country. Not again.
We believe the time has come for a government that spends on Kenyans not on itself.
We believe the time has come for a government that spends on its people and not on expensive trips, per diems, mandazis in offices, inflated tenders and imprests that are never surrendered.
The lax attitude towards public funds in this country has created a fertile environment for corruption and outright theft—stealing from the people.
It has also created a perverse incentive structure where people join public service and not the private sector to get rich; where people’s riches or poverty are easily traceable to the duration in or out of office. This will have to end.
As I declared a few days ago, I am looking forward to a government that shall embark on a direct cash transfer programme to the 2 million poorest households in the country going forward.
This programme will reach about 8 million poor Kenyans a year given that the average size of a household across the country is four individuals.
This initiative will integrate the current social protection programme on which we already spend Ksh.37 billion.
We would add about Ksh.100 billion to this and expand it to include the poorest of the poor among Kenyans.
And nobody should lie to Kenyans that taxes would have to rise for this to be realised, far from it.
This shall be done with resources redirected from a range of ministries that would initially take a 25 percent cut in their budgets. The budget cuts would be followed by an even wider rationalisation aimed at transferring government services to the poor and towards assisting the private sector – SMEs in particular – to grow and prosper.
Cash transfers will be aimed at providing immediate relief to millions of Kenyans. But they will not be ends unto themselves.
They will run hand in hand with investment in long term measure to create jobs, reduce cost of living and secure businesses, among other needs. We will be disclosing those measures in due course.
But going forward, we intend to make social welfare a critical and urgent policy agenda in the country with the aim of restructuring and strengthening those in place while coming up with new ones.
All these will be accompanied by an aggressive anti-corruption campaign that would not only save money but also yield additional resources to be directed at protecting the poor.
The figures may vary. But we are in agreement that the government is losing billions of shillings every year.
We have been told Kenya is losing a third of its budget – the equivalent of about $6 billion or Ksh600 billion- to corruption every year. We have also been told the country loses Ksh2 billion every day.
I don’t need to emphasise what these money can do. But I can emphasise that the losses can and will be stopped.
The end game with all these processes shall be to create a government that cares, accounts and caters, in word and deed, for every single citizen, rich or poor, young or old, man or woman.
We believe strongly that no single human being in our midst can or should be wasted or neglected if we are to create a great and prosperous nation. We believe Kenyans deserve a power structure and mindset that puts people first and politics last.
We will make it happen by taking these first small steps.
RT. HON. RAILA ODINGA; EGH
OCTOBER 13, 2021.