Ten issues that will shape 2022 State House race
With nine months to next year’s General Election, leading presidential hopefuls seem to have narrowed down their bruising and bare-knuckled battle to 10 issues that are shaping the 2022 campaign.
From Deputy President (DP) William Ruto to ODM leader Raila Odinga and One Kenya Alliance principals Musalia Mudavadi and Kalonzo Musyoka, there is consensus on issues they feel require urgent attention.
Among the issues is the ailing economy, with all the leading contenders proposing various approaches to address it.
Other issues likely to shape the 2022 State House battle include poverty among Kenyans, rampant corruption, debt management national unity and equity.
Also, likely to dominate the campaigns is the rising youth unemployment, introduction of tax reliefs to offer reprieve to large, medium and small enterprises, education, agriculture and social empowerment.
A TIFA opinion poll conducted between November 7 and November 13, and released a week later, identified the high cost of living, unemployment, corruption, the fight against Covid and famine and hunger as the issues currently facing Kenyans.
The survey revealed that 31 per cent of Kenyans identify high cost of living as the biggest problem facing Kenyans, followers by unemployment (28 per cent), corruption (10 per cent), Covid-19 (eight per cent) and famine and hunger (eight per cent).
Other issues included poverty (six per cent), bad leadership (three per cent) and poor business environment (one per cent).
Majority of the 2022 presidential contenders have been using political rallies, town hall meetings, media interviews and social media platforms to articulate their policies for addressing these issues if elected, while engaging in a blame game over the causes of the current mess.
Some political and economic pundits are, warning that some policies being espoused by the leading contenders are not viable, arguing that politicians are only engaging in populist promises to endear themselves to the electorate.
Samuel Nyandemo, a senior lecturer at the School of Economics at the University of Nairobi, argues that while some polices being advanced by the candidates sound sweet to the electorate, they remain just that.
He says it has become common practice for politicians to isolate issues that resonate with the people and turn them into campaign slogans.
“What most of these candidates are doing is selling ideologies just to blindfold voters and woo them to their side. Most of what they tell people are just fake promises.
There is no money. For example, bottom up approach cannot be viable in a capitalist country like Kenya.
We need money to trickle down to help the people at the bottom of the pyramid,” Nyandemo told People Daily, adding that Raila ought to explain how his proposed cash transfer programme would work, and how beneficiaries would be identified.
Ruto has declared that there must be a paradigm shift in the conversation regarding 2022 General Election approach.
He has used every opportunity to rally Kenyans behind his bottom-up approach, claiming it is the only way to empowered poor Kenyans to overcome poverty.
Ruto says his bottom up approach focuses on creating jobs and building small-scale businesses.
The DP, who has been rubbishing Raila’s stipend programme as unachievable, has been hosting regional economic negotiation forums, and has assembled a team of economic experts among them Dr David
Ndii, who, he says, will be instrumental in revolutionising the economy, and has promised to create four million jobs for the youth if elected president.
Prof Edward Kisiang’ani, a political analyst and an ally of Ruto, says the DP has endeared himself to Kenyans by packaging his messages and demonstrating that he will address issues affecting them.
“People in this country are really suffering because of joblessness and failed an economy. People are likely to believe you if you come up with solutions to their problems, and that is what the DP has just been doing,” Kisiang’ani said.
Senate Majority Whip Kimani Wamatangi says the revival of the socio-economic agenda, has emerged as one of the key 2022 campaign issues, but asked the electorate to vet the promises.
The Kiambu Senator says that during campaigns, politicians make promises they cannot deliver but just to win votes
“People need to do a critical analysis of all the alliances, the Azimio La Umoja and all the things that they have said, the offers of the bottom-up and all the things that they have said, to gauge what is real
and actionable,” Wamatangi says.