PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

Manifestos need to be properly costed

In Summary

• Raila has just released the Azimio manifesto full of wonderful promises. Ruto releases his next Monday.

• None of the presidential candidates talk about tax rises or how their manifesto promises will be paid for

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

Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga released his manifesto on Monday.

Among the expensive proposals were at least 35 percent of government revenue to go to the counties; a monthly stipend of Sh6,000 to up to 2 million poor people: free secondary and tertiary education; improved universal healthcare; cash transfers to the elderly and single mothers; seven-year tax holidays for youth start-ups; and water for every household in Kenya.

Every voter would be happy to see any or all of these proposals implemented. But how we will pay for it?

The timeworn promise of all past presidential candidates is that expensive schemes will be paid by ending corruption, yet corruption continues.

President Kenyatta promised to end waste and duplication in parastatals and the state sector but little happened, apart from an excellent task force report.

Raila is not an outlier, all candidates ignore the cost of their proposals. None talk about tax rises. Hopefully William Ruto will be different next Monday but probably not.

Kenya needs an Office of Budget Responsibility to cost every presidential manifesto and tell us whether it is practical or just a lovely fantasy. Only then will citizens cast their vote sensibly.

Quote of the day:“If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.”

George Orwell
He published his book Nineteen Eighty-Four on June 8, 1949