Agano Party presidential candidate David Mwaure Waihiga yesterday brought down the curtain of manifesto launches for the August 9 elections, promising a clean slate in leadership.
Fashioning himself as the David who will finally slay the Goliath of corruption in Kenya, the lawyer pledged to deliver the country from the clutches of a powerful and shameless cabal of thieves.
He vowed to “fix the nation” which is under siege, losing Sh1.5 trillion annually to corruption, as he makes his second stab at the presidency.
The Agano Party leader, together with his running mate Ruth Mucheru Mutua, is one of the four presidential candidates in this year’s general election.
He will be facing off with Azimio’s Raila Odinga, United Democratic Alliance candidate William Ruto and Roots Party leader George Wajackoyah.
Dubbed the trillion manifesto, Agano’s plan is anchored on 12 pledges to Kenyans that the party said would be banked on to “badilisha” (change) the country.
The 12 pillars are the Constitution, family, women, youth, persons with disability, county governments, workers, business owners, economy, religious institutions, environment, and the international community.
The party commits to guard and defend the Constitution against attempts to mutilate it through unprocedural amendments, while promising to increase revenue allocation to counties to 40 per cent from the current 15 per cent and designating 10 per cent of the allocation to go directly to village councils.
Further, a task force will be convened to study the possibilities of dissolving Nairobi County so that after 2027, the governor will be an appointee of the President and an automatic member of the Cabinet.
In his plan for Kenyan workers, Mr Waihiga has pledged a general waiver of Pay as You Earn tax by half as well as ensure a conducive environment for the private sector, individuals, and others to set up businesses in a bid to boost entrepreneurship.
On matters economy, the party commits to limit total loan repayments by the government to Sh1 trillion, which will release Sh350 billion to support government programmes and urgently call for a fresh repayment plan to ensure that Kenya does not fall into debt distress.
Further, the “big fish” of corruption will be subjected to the judicial process and Sh15 trillion stolen and stashed abroad will be returned to Kenya, the manifesto promises.
Mr Waihiga will also push for making public all contracts with foreign entities, starting with SGR, Nairobi Expressway, Mombasa, Lamu, Naivasha and Kisumu ports, move the Asset Recovery Agency to the Presidency, devolve budgeting to the village councils as opposed to the Treasury or State House Budget office, and create a legal framework that will ensure public sector audit general reports are prima facie evidence in abuse of office and misappropriation of funds cases.
His government will establish a Stolen Wealth Recovery and Repatriation Commission, which will work with reports from past anti-corruption task forces to zero in on its targets.
Further, he will give a six-month grace period for all looters of public resources to surrender their loot to the state, failure to which a special economic crimes court will prosecute and convict the culprits within three months.
“Every leader has a mission for his people. I, bwana Badilisha, will fix this nation. This is the real deal. What we have presented to you are not just pledges but a covenant to the people,” said Mr Waihiga.
The presidential candidate decried systemic corruption and impunity, how the country turns a blind eye on scandals, allows wastage, and accepts bureaucracy as a way of life.
This has seen Kenyans grappling with high cost of living resulting from high prices of essential foodstuff, high level of unemployment, and a huge external debt, because Kenya has lacked “shepherdhood” for the last 59 years, he said.
“Our presidency, 10 years down the line, we would want to be remembered as the presidency which slayed the dragon of corruption, wastage, mismanagement and the wolfing we have found in this nation for the last 59 years,” he said.
For her part, Ms Mutua asked Kenyans to vote for a leader who is not tainted with corruption, nepotism, or abuse of power, saying the August 9 election is shaping up to be an election of issues and values.
“We have come to bring in an option that Kenyans have cried for. Why should we recycle leaders? We are not only asking you for your votes but to fund our campaigns too to support our cause. Agano will go where the people take it because we are you and you are us,” she said.
To ensure justice, law and order in the country, the Agano leaders will not only actualise the judiciary fund but also ensure that it is adequate to fund the process of expeditious justice.
Further, the auditor-general and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission will be given prosecutorial powers.
On health, Agano will undertake a comprehensive audit of all running Ministry of Health contracts at the national and county levels, terminating all corrupt contracts and leasing agreements, conduct a lifestyle audit and vetting of all employees of the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF), subsidise NHIF contributions for every Kenyan adult and establish a national health commission to tame rising health costs in private and public institutions.
To the youth, women and people with disabilities, Agano pledges to implement the two-thirds gender rule in all appointive and elective positions; sponsor legislative provision to make it mandatory for holders of substantive offices to have deputies from the opposite gender; and enhance Access to Government Procurement Opportunities (Agpo) reservation to youth, women and people living with disability quota to 40 per cent.
Firms that employ youths and women will get significant tax breaks, and will be given priority when it comes to issuance of government tenders.
On education, Agano commits to guaranteeing free education at all levels, complemented by a curriculum with appropriate skill sets at all levels of education, significant tax breaks for firms that take fresh graduates for attachment and eventually employ them, all teacher retraining and improvement done virtually at the cost of the government, where teachers will be digitally facilitated to undertake the refresher courses.
Under the pledge to business owners, Agano commits to waive tax penalties, convene a tax reforms commission to simplify tax laws, do away with tax compliance certificates for government tender application while also enhancing Agpo reservation limit from the current 30 per cent to 50 per cent.
On industrialisation, Mr Waihiga said his government would streamline export procedures, make energy affordable and make sure that what is made in Kenya does not compete with imports through imposition of high tariffs.
On religion, Mr Waihiga promise to employ all clergy of registered churches as alternative dispute resolution officers, the same way as kadhis, and work towards a constitutional amendment to separate religion from state or cure the unequal treatment of religions by the 2010 Constitution.
Further, all church activities will be exempt from taxation, pastors, bishops, and church laity will be paid from a special fund for performance of specific tasks towards protection of the moral fabric of the nation.
To the international community, he commits to keep good regional and international relationships.
The Agano government also intends to ban the importation of basic food commodities such as rice, meat, eggs, edible oils, and any other food that is locally grown to guarantee maximum returns for farmers while establishing state fertiliser plants, with the aim of banning the importation of fertilizer.
State corporations such as the Kenya Tea Development Agency and others will be run by directly elected representatives of farmers, while the farmers will be involved in the marketing and value addition of produce, including tea and coffee.
Further, arid and semi-arid areas will receive piped water for irrigation, special agricultural zones tailored along local potential, while the National Youth Service will grow food for the nation on government land.
“The President will be the minister of Agriculture to clean the mess that is the Ministry of Agriculture. This will be effected through constitutional changes,” says the manifesto.