Deputy President William Ruto has promised to ease issuance of national identity cards and passports to northern Kenya residents if he wins the presidency.
The Kenya Kwanza Alliance presidential flag-bearer also pledged to end forced disappearance of locals linked to terrorism.
He decried alleged discrimination of Mandera and other northern Kenya residents in the issuance of the crucial documents.
“There are no two sets of Kenyans...we are all Kenyans,” Dr Ruto said in Mandera County.
He termed it wrong for Mandera residents and members of the Somali community seeking national IDs and passports to be subjected to numerous questions.
Dr Ruto said enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings—a key concern in northern Kenya—should be a thing of the past.
“My government will end cases of forced disappearances and promote the justice system so that any suspected person is taken through due process as per the law,” he said.
Dr Ruto was responding to former National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale, who asked him to ensure members of the Somali community get national IDs and passports. Mr Duale also complained about enforced disappearance of locals. “We want your government to ensure we get IDs and passports and deal with cases of forceful disappearance of our people,” he said.
The MP accused the government of kidnapping innocent residents on claims of terrorism.
Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, Isiolo and Marsabit counties, which were in 2013 seen as an ODM base, mainly backed Jubilee in 2017 election. However, the area is now being seen as a swing vote, with Ruto and Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition leader Raila Odinga battling for its control.
Dr Ruto said he will continue with generous contributions to society despite criticism from opposition leaders.
“I have and will continue making contributions to churches, mosques, boda boda operators and women. Those uncomfortable with this should find other things to do because nothing will stop me,” he said.
He challenged Mr Odinga to stop complaining about the contributions and instead focus on his plan for retirement. “I want to tell him (Odinga) to stop complaining over little money such as Sh2 million I give to boda boda operators. We shall invest Sh50 billion in the small and medium enterprises in this country.”
Jobs for the youth
He pledged to create jobs for the youth and invest Sh100 billion in their programme.
“We had all plans in the Big Four agenda, but the fake handshake spoiled it. I will revive it and ensure every youth gets a job opportunity.”
The youth will be absorbed in agro-processing, value addition, housing and manufacturing industries once UDA forms the government, he added.
He told locals that he will ensure electricity is supplied to promote the local economy. “We want to ensure all homes are connected with electricity. We are keen on promoting education in all parts of the country so that Mandera can be like any other part of Kenya.”
Medical insurance cover
In the health sector, DP Ruto said he will ensure all Kenyans are enrolled in the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) for universal health coverage.
“Before December, every Kenyan will have a medical insurance cover and we shall reduce the Sh500 monthly contributions to Sh300. For those without means, we shall be paying for them,” he said in a move to counter the Babacare announced by Mr Odinga
He reiterated that it would be impossible for him to be rigged out in the August 9 election.
“I am the Deputy President of Kenya. There is nothing like deep state that I don’t know. We have competed with that team in Msambweni, Juja and Kiambaa and floored them. What technique will they apply that I don’t know as the Deputy President?”
He told off Mr Odinga for suggesting that if elected he would promote local production of clothes and ban used imports. The DP also warned that the county would lose revenue should residents vote for Azimio.