Here’s what to expect in case of Azimio or Kenya Kwanza victory

Presidential candidates Raila Odinga and William Ruto

Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga (left) and his Kenya Kwanza counterpart William Ruto.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

An analysis of the ambitious manifestos by Deputy President William Ruto and his main challenger Raila Odinga has revealed several areas of convergence and differences in their proposals to grow the economy.

In the documents, they have pledged radical changes in education, health, manufacturing and agriculture sectors in a major departure from the administration of President Uhuru Kenyatta. In certain instances, they seek to improve on some of the existing programmes. Some of the proposals, however, appear populist with no solid funding plan.


In his manifesto launched on Thursday, DP Ruto plans to bridge the teacher shortage by hiring at least 116,000 tutors within the first two financial years. He also announced plans to reverse delocalisation of teachers. He has pledged to double allocation to the school feeding programme to increase the number of beneficiaries from two million to four million learners. Further, should Kenya Kwanza form the next government, it would provide conditional grants to the counties to increase the number of ECDE learners to at least eight million.

DP Ruto further promised to review “the current exam-based system of academic progression”, which he argues has excluded millions of learners based on basic education level exit exams. The current administration is already implementing the competency-based curriculum. The alliance has also promised to have fully equipped Technical Training and Vocational Education Training Institutions in at least 52 constituencies within the first two years. He has also pledged to establish a one year paid national internship programme for all students graduating from teachers, technical, medical colleges and universities, by collaborating with industry players. 

Mr Odinga’s Azimio la Umoja One Kenya has promised free education from ECDE to university or tertiary colleges. The former Prime Minister has also pledged to employ all qualified teachers, who are currently unemployed. This implies that under Mr Odinga’s government, the Teachers Service Commission would hire over 300,000 teachers. He also promised free meals to ECDE learners and lower primary. Further, Mr Odinga promised to establish a national fund to ensure students have equitable access to bursaries. Azimio has also pledged to build more classrooms to improve education.

Social protection

Mr Odinga has promised Sh6,000 cash transfer to at least two million poorest families. He has further promised social assistance to single mothers as well as expansion of the existing cash transfer schemes to the elderly, orphans, and persons living with severe disabilities.

Azimio is also promising a protection programme modelled around Kazi Mtaani to support the unemployed youth.

On the other hand, Kenya Kwanza has promised to revamp the cash transfer programmes for elderly and vulnerable households to improve operational efficiency. DP Ruto targets 1.8 million elderly Kenyans under the programme. The alliance is further promising to attain 100 percent NHIF coverage for senior citizens within three years. DP Ruto’s has also pledged to invest in education and training for caregivers and medical staff to fill the gap of skills in the provision of specialized care for older people. He has further pledged to increase capitation of pupils with Disabilities by 50 percent and have 15 percent of all public funded bursaries set aside for pupils with disabilities.


DP Ruto is promising to complete transfer of all devolved functions within six months. He has also pledged to improve counties’ capacity to generate their own incomes to reduce over-reliance on transfers from the National Treasury. Further, he plans to ensure that shareable revenue is transferred to the counties in a timely and predictable manner. Counties have had delays in disbursement of shareable revenue, in some instances, occasioning strike by workers. 

The alliance has promised to provide a framework to ensure state-owned firms carrying out devolved or shared functions adhere to the principles of devolved governance and ensuring the principle of “funding follows functions” is adhered to.

On the other hand, Mr Odinga has promised to increase budgetary allocation to the counties to not less than 35 per cent of shareable revenue up from the current minimum of 15 per cent. He has also promised to put up a framework for neutral mechanism in disbursing funds to national and county governments. Azimio would also strengthen the ward as the basic unit for development and service delivery. Just like Dr Ruto, Mr Odinga has pledged to have all devolved functions transferred.


DP Ruto has detailed how his administration would increase healthcare financing, bolster health workforce to address existing shortages and provide access to primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare services. The alliance has also provided a road map on how they will provide vaccines and technologies and build intuitive health information systems with a focus on responding to rising communicable and non-communicable diseases. The DP is promising to work with the pharmaceutical industry to address the tax regime and cost of doing business, and leverage UHC to identify and scale up manufacturing of essential supplies.

Kenya Kwanza has also pledged to lower minimum NHIF contributions from Sh500 to Sh300 and offer waivers to Kenyans who are unable to pay the monthly rates. He is also promising to establish a health service commission similar to the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) within 100 days to provide a centralised system for health workers.

Similarly, Mr Odinga is promising to promote local production of drugs, equipment and other healthcare input while improving and expanding healthcare infrastructure. The former premier has promised to introduce ‘Babacare’ that seeks to offer affordable, accessible, quality healthcare for all Kenyans.

Azimio also promises to provide medical cover at government cost for all retiring civil servants, and to establish an emergency medical services fund for emergency treatment. He also plans to strengthen efforts in eradicating malaria by 2030 by reviewing funding. He has pledged to support the 47 counties in providing quality universal healthcare. Healthcare is largely devolved.


DP Ruto is promising to transform at least two million poor farmers from food deficit to surplus producers through input finance and intensive agricultural extension support. The programme targets to generate minimum productivity of Sh50,000 revenue per acre.

The alliance also pledged to raise productivity of key value food chains. For instance, the DP promises to support farmers to increase maize productivity to about 8-15bags/acre, dairy 2.5-7.5kg per cow/day, beef from 110kg-150kg.

The alliance further seeks to reduce dependence on basic food imports by 30 per cent by increasing domestic oil crops production from five to 25 per cent and rice from 18 to 40 per cent. It says he will revamp underperforming/ collapsed export crops while expanding emerging ones like cashew nuts, pyrethrum, avocado and macadamia nuts. He has also pledged to boost tea value chain through blending and branding. The alliance has committed Sh250 billion in 2023-27, part of which will go into affordable working capital for farmers.

In his plan to improve agricultural productivity, Mr Odinga has promised farmers access to affordable input such as seeds, fertiliser and chemicals, as well as credit facility. Should Azimio form the next government, the former premier has also promised to implement minimum guarantee returns to all farmers. Mr Odinga has also plans to pump in millions of shillings into the “mechanisation, digitisation, and application of science and technology in agriculture”. The coalition is also promising to improve rural access roads and electricity to facilitate transport and storage of farm produce.

Azimio has also promised to promote agro-processing and value addition to farm produce and expansion of local and export market.

Women Agenda

DP Ruto has pledged to give at least 50 per cent of the Cabinet to women. He is also promising to push for the realisation of the two-thirds gender rule in elective and appointive positions in the public sector within 12 months. The gender principle has remained elusive since the promulgation of the 2010 Constitution. Kenya Kwanza is also promising to provide financial support for women through a ‘hustler fund’ for women-led co-operative societies, chamas, merry-go-rounds and table banking initiatives while protecting them from predatory interest rates charged by money lenders. He is further promising to establish a social welfare fund for Kenyan women working abroad.

His rival, Mr Odinga, is similarly promising to enforce the gender rule in elective or appointive bodies with a view to achieving gender parity. Mr Odinga picked Narc-K leader Martha Karua as part of his resolve to have women in running of government. He is further promising to address the plight of widows and single mothers through financial literacy programmes, reduction in the cost of healthcare and education. Mr Odinga also plans to facilitate local manufacture of sanitary towels for schoolgirls. Also, an Azimio government would improve access to government-guaranteed funds and affordable credit to women and establish incubation centres for businesses for women in rural areas.

Manufacturing/Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs)

Mr Odinga says he will waive prohibitory licensing fees for new youth-led manufacturing innovations on top of promoting youth manufacturing innovations and youth-owned industrial enterprises in creating employment.

Mr Odinga has also pledged to review the taxation regime to lower the tax burden for MSMEs and make it predictable. He has also promised a three-year tax holiday to MSME start-ups, upon registration with the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA). Azimio has also pledged affordable credit for MSMEs through government credit guarantees by establishing an inter-governmental guarantee fund.

Similarly, DP Ruto is promising to reverse regressive taxation, bureaucracy and regulatory compliance costs by reviewing business licences and capping all licences at 1.5 per cent of turnover. His alliance has also promised to commit Sh50 billion a year to provide MSMEs with 100 per cent access to affordable finance through Saccos, venture capital, equity funds and long-term debt for start-ups.

The DP also seeks to establish an MSME business development centre in every ward, and an industrial park and business incubation centre in every TVET institution.