DANIEL MURKOMEN: Raila's Sh6,000 pledge unsustainable in current economy

Raila should utilise his peculiar rapport with Uhuru to lower cost of living.

In Summary

•With the public debt crisis and spiralling inflation, Kenya ought to focus on strict adherence to propositions of reduced government spending in its monetary policy.

•Whichever divide clinches victory in the 2022 August election must design an effective policy response that minimises and protects the most vulnerable from increases in the cost of living.

Azimio la Umoja Presidential candidate Raila Odinga address the gathering during the Azimio Manifesto launch on June 6, 2022
Azimio la Umoja Presidential candidate Raila Odinga address the gathering during the Azimio Manifesto launch on June 6, 2022
Image: FILE

On June 6, 2022, in a pompous event, the Azimio Coalition launched its manifesto.

Key among its proposal is the inclusion of a social assistance programme for cash transfers to each vulnerable household dubbed the ‘Pesa Mfukoni’ scheme.

It is largely motivated by the desire to bridge the wealth inequality gap in the country.

However, with the public debt crisis and spiralling inflation, Kenya ought to focus on strict adherence to propositions of reduced government spending in its monetary policy.

A sneak peeks into the country’s balance sheet, the nature of its revenues and cash flows won’t require intricate financial analytical skills to understand that cash hand-outs will only sink the country deeper into the debt pit-fall once we start digging deeper into our treasury reserves.

In the run-up to the 2016 United States presidential election, Catherine Clifford; a CNBC reporter, observed that Hillary Clinton like Raila Odinga seriously considered running her campaign on a similar social welfare programme but could not figure out a reasonable way of financing it.

This begs the question as to how the Azimio team intends to facilitate the ‘Pesa Mfukoni’ scheme.

Further, it remains unclear how best to ensure a functional policy design and implementation for the programme.

Whipping voters’ beliefs for the sake of winning an election just to let a noble proposal wither into full or even partial failure will not paint a rosy image of the Azimio party leader.

Instead, Raila should utilise his peculiar rapport with the incumbent president to push for the lowering of the prices of essential goods and services to cushion low-income households which are far less able to absorb the ballooning inflation.

Kenya Kwanza on the other hand champions for economic revolution based on addressing the challenges facing the ordinary mwananchi by propagating multi-sectoral priority initiatives in the decentralised units touching on inter alia land, agriculture, tourism, mining, et al.

The strategy proffers targeted and long-term solutions for specific issues affecting Kenyans at different levels and from different areas.

Politics and strategy aside, whichever divide clinches victory in the 2022 August election must design an effective policy response that minimises and protects the most vulnerable from increases in the cost of living.

This must be done without unnecessarily increasing government spending or the country’s debt otherwise it would be an unsustainable regime change characterized by an economic recession.

Daniel Murkomen is a lawyer and governance enthusiast.

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