- Radical ideas are never easily received and, in a polarised environment, politicians may resist change because it is proposed by the opposing party.
- This is indeed true considering that in 2022 Azimio had a similar plan in their manifesto.
That President Ruto took over a government saddled with onerous debt - because Uhuru Kenyatta borrowed heavily to finance infrastructure projects such as the Standard Gauge Railway - is not subject to debate because it is factual.
As he was taking over, inflation was already years into sharp climbing while the pound was depreciating against the dollar. Food and fuel prices were high as Ruto promised Kenyans that his government would do all it could to lower the price of maize flour.
The Russo-Ukrainian War was having a great negative impact on African countries such as Kenya. It was a difficult moment for Kenyans who were feeling the economic heat, and it is indeed one of the reasons much hope was and is still placed on the new government to deliver positive change.
While Ruto did not receive a flourishing government, standard opinion would still be that the government should focus on the future and not the past. The President came in focused mostly on job creation, streamlining the healthcare sector, and food security. Indeed, Ruto is focused on the future, considering his radical ideas such as the affordable housing and universal healthcare ones.
The main advantage of the affordable housing plan is the creation of jobs for Kenyan youths. The revolutionary housing plan is stimulating local economies because it is strategically locating developments in areas that definitely need economic revitalisation.
Besides the provision of housing solutions, it is creating job opportunities, supporting local businesses and contributing to the overall prosperity of the regions where it is implemented. Regular assessments, feedback mechanisms and adjustments to the plan will ensure that it remains responsive to changing demographics, economic conditions and emerging societal needs.
Ruto’s government is not only addressing the immediate housing crisis but also laying the foundation for resilient, vibrant and equitable communities that stand as a testament to the transformative power of visionary governance.
The housing sector is indeed dynamic and a promising one for the government to invest in. Partnerships and collaborative efforts between the government and private sector are being fostered, and collective expertise and resources are being harnessed.
The government's plan goes beyond mere construction projects; it envisions the creation of inclusive communities that celebrate diversity and social cohesion. The plan places a strong emphasis on sustainable architecture and urban planning.
Integrating eco-friendly design principles, the government aims to create housing developments that not only reduce environmental impact, but also provide residents with energy-efficient and cost-effective living spaces. The greater impact of the housing plan will be felt into the future.
Radical ideas are never easily received and, in a polarised political environment, politicians may resist change simply because it is proposed by the opposing party. This is indeed true considering that in 2022 Azimio had a similar plan in their manifesto.
This partisan polarisation in Kenya has always led to a "win-at-all-costs" mentality brought to serious debate on matters of nation building and prosperity, where politicians prioritise ideological loyalty over the merits of specific policies. This is clearly the case in Kenya with an opposition already jostling for the 2027 presidential ticket.
The electoral cycle often encourages a short-term focus among politicians, who may prioritise policies that yield immediate benefits and are more likely to resonate with voters in the short run. Long-term changes with uncertain outcomes may be less appealing to politicians seeking re-election.
The main argument that Azimio is pushing to Kenyans today is that the current regime is not succeeding and it has to be removed in 2027. This is expected of any opposition outfit, but Kenyans can always keep an eye on where progress is being made.
The health sector in Kenya is undergoing radical changes as well as Ruto works towards ensuring that Kenyans find rest and peace from the perennial problems that have bedevilled the sector, including corruption. In the new plan, the President is not merely building a new healthcare system; he is laying the foundation for a healthier, more resilient, and equitable society if we will take time to consider deeply.
By prioritising accessibility, preventive care and community involvement, Kenya's vision for universal healthcare reflects a commitment to the holistic development of its people, ensuring that health becomes a fundamental right rather than a privilege.
For instance, there is the reduction of the minimum monthly Social Health Insurance Fund payment from Sh500 to Sh300. This will alleviate the economic burden on poor citizens. It is fostering a healthcare system that is not only accessible but also financially sustainable.
All Kenyans will have the right to access affordable healthcare regardless of their social status, age, or the illness they suffer from, in the universal healthcare plan. People with terminal illnesses could not access healthcare and underwent desperate times to find help, with many fundraisers as testimony. The 2.75 per cent reductions are indeed very useful.
Compelling people to register for insurance is indeed an important thing because many Kenyans have hitherto ignored this need. It is not something that should be criticised. Health is so important because when you are sick everything else comes to a standstill. When those who earn more give a little more than the low cadre earners, it should indeed not be a problem. We need to foster patriotism and value for one another across Kenya. If one can pay Sh200 more a month and avoid contributing Sh5,000 occasionally in health harambees then that indeed is not a bad thing.
President William Ruto's plan on universal healthcare in Kenya is ambitious as he replaces the National Health Insurance Fund. This means a groundbreaking restructuring that will be gradual. The shift included the creation of three distinct funds: the Primary Healthcare Fund, Social Health Insurance Fund and Emergency, Chronic and Critical Illness Fund.
Backed by legislative changes, these funds seek to address healthcare financing inefficiencies, with a focus on preventive care, comprehensive coverage, and improved infrastructure. The move signifies a paradigm shift in Kenya's healthcare landscape, emphasising community engagement, digital innovation, and financial sustainability to ensure accessible and quality healthcare services for all. Seeing the implementation of the Acts - which the president signed - must be gutting for the needy across Kenya.
The restructuring's core pillars encompass the Primary Health Care Bill, 2023, prioritising grassroots health, the Social Health Insurance Bill, 2023, introducing a comprehensive insurance framework, the Facility Improvement Financing Bill, 2023, fostering healthcare infrastructure development, and the Digital Health Bill, 2023, addressing gaps in the digital health ecosystem.
President Ruto's visionary plan represents a departure from prior considerations to rebrand NHIF, signalling a transformative approach to healthcare financing that aligns with Kenya's commitment to the health and welfare of its citizens.
The writer is a political commentator