Mudavadi dismisses Ruto’s bottom-up economic model
Rawlings Otieno and Eric Wainaina
Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi yesterdaay poked holes in the bottom-up economic model championed by Deputy President William Ruto, saying Kenyans need solutions and not models.
Mudavadi, whose presidential campaign is based on reviving the economy, lowering of taxes and fighting graft, said the bottom-up model does not explain how it will solve Kenya’s problems.
“There are several models being pushed around, but that is not the point. People want to know how we will pay our debts, how we will lower taxes. If there is corruption, the only way is to have the corrupt taken to court. There is no model in handling our challenges,” Mudavadi said yesterday at a church service in ACK Emmanuel Riruta, in Dagoretti South.
In an apparent attack on Ruto, Mudavadi said leaders should be concerned about providing solutions to problems affecting Kenyans and not coming up with theories to hoodwink Kenyans.
“We are dealing with an economic crisis. We all know the country is going through a lot of strain partly through Covid-19. Why are we talking about models and confusing Kenyans?” he posed.
But Ruto defended his proposal, saying it is meant to address the social-economic needs of the poor.
“Some are wondering what this bottom-up is all about. And it has confused very many people. But to explain, it is about remembering the weak,” he said at St Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in Lang’ata, Nairobi yesterday.
Ruto said the current economic model had impoverished Kenyans and urged leaders to embrace the bottom-up economic model which has come under attack from his critics.
Mudavadi cited public debt as a major cause of concern since the rise of the debt would mean increase in taxes on Kenyans who are already finding it difficult to put food on the table.
“We are not in an economic class. We are dealing with Kenyans and their practical problems. Models are theoretical. Public debt means that the contemporary citizen is being taxed more because the government does not have money of its own,” he said.
He challenged his competitors to offer practical solutions.
A bill sponsored by Mudavadi’s close ally, Nambale MP Sakwa Bunyasi, seeks to establish a semi-autonomous agency to manage public debt.
The Bill, which is currently before Parliament, will, if enacted, create a new agency whose mandate will be to monitor and evaluate public debt-related transactions to ensure that they fall within the official guidelines and risk parameters.
Kenya’s public debt closed the 2020-2021financial year at Sh6.4 trillion, which translates to 55 per cent of country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Other leaders who have rubbished the bottom-up plan include ODM’s Raila Odinga and Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka.
But Ruto says the model focuses on deliberately creating jobs and supporting small enterprises.
He said the conversation about the economy would bury tribalism, patronage, cronyism and corruption.
“For those stuck in politics of ethnicity, positions, power and constitutional changes, they must have a debate on the economy especially the bottom-up model that is focused on the jobless, struggling hustler enterprises and those who can’t put food on the table that is posing a major challenge,” the DP said.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has castigated his deputy’s style of politics saying it is aimed at radicalising the youth to be dependent on handouts.