An Amer­i­can detec­tive tele­vi­sion series known as Baret­ta aired on ABC from 1975 pop­u­lar­ized the phrase – take it to the bank. The phrase refers to a promise whose reli­a­bil­i­ty is so guar­an­teed that it can be equat­ed to mon­ey that is safe­ly locked away in a bank.

The big ques­tion that Kenyans are ask­ing about a month away to the elec­tions is this – can we take the man­i­festos that the Pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates have launched to the bank? Are they that reliable?

Let’s briefly review high­lights from two alliance par­ties’ man­i­festos. Azimio’s vital ten point agen­da kicked off by declar­ing that man­u­fac­tur­ing was the engine for cre­ation of wealth and employ­ment. As such, it spot­light­ed Small and Medi­um Enter­prise MSMEs, includ­ing jua kali sec­tor, as dri­vers for the ‘made in Kenya’ initiative.

Sim­i­lar­ly on its part, the Kenya Kwanza’s vibrant sev­en point agen­da promised inclu­sive growth encom­pass­ing Agri­cul­ture; MSME econ­o­my; Hous­ing and Set­tle­ment; Health­care; Dig­i­tal Super­high­way, Cre­ative Econ­o­my, Envi­ron­ment and Cli­mate Change.

An objec­tive read­ing of both man­i­festos will leave one impressed by the amount of work that went into prepar­ing them. I sin­cere­ly con­grat­u­late experts from both sides for metic­u­lous­ly assem­bling these promis­es and mak­ing sound argu­ments about them. With­out a doubt, most valu­able time and sleep­less nights were invest­ed into the devel­op­ment of these man­i­festos. I was thrilled to dis­cov­er that most of the issues that I have dis­cussed in the past through this col­umn were includ­ed in the manifestos.

That said, the ques­tion I posed ear­li­er must be repeat­ed – can these man­i­festos be tak­en to the bank? Can Kenyans trust the pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates and their teams to deliv­er what they are promis­ing? On numer­ous occa­sions in the past, this trust has been betrayed. It is obvi­ous  that vot­er apa­thy is now preva­lent amongst Kenyans. Last month, IEBC chair­man Wafu­la Chebukati revealed that only 39.84 per cent of youth aged 18–34 years reg­is­tered to vote. This rep­re­sent­ed a 5.27 per cent decline com­pared to 2017.

If who­ev­er wins on August 9th doesn’t keep the man­i­festo promis­es, this num­ber may decline even more in 2027. Ulti­mate­ly, what hap­pens in between elec­tions is just as impor­tant as what hap­pens dur­ing elec­tions. From August 10th onwards as the real­ism hits our lead­ers, Kenyans must hold the vic­tors absolute­ly accountable.

Accord­ing to the Office of the Reg­is­trar of Polit­i­cal Par­ties, there are 90 reg­is­tered polit­i­cal par­ties in Kenya. These par­ties must be on the fore­front of hold­ing whichev­er par­ty wins the elec­tions ful­ly account­able. They must con­tin­u­ous­ly orga­nize their mem­bers in this effort. Sim­i­lar­ly, my hum­ble prayer is that faith com­mu­ni­ties togeth­er with the 19 mil­lion Kenyans who are part of the country’s work­force across the coun­try will mar­shal each oth­er in hold­ing the Gov­ern­ment account­able oth­er­wise the man­i­festos will sim­ply remain what my daugh­ter refers to as believ­able lies.

The Kam­ba com­mu­ni­ty have a say­ing “undu kaam­baa katekak­watye tiw’o kaam­baa kak­wat­wa.” It trans­lates to ‘the sound that (a bird) makes before it is cap­tured is not the same sound it makes after it is apprehended.

As we enter the home stretch of the cam­paigns, the two lead­ing pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates are going to keep echo­ing the promis­es enshrined in their man­i­festos. They will promise, cajole and entice the vot­ers. After elec­tions, the real­i­ty of things on the ground can eas­i­ly lead them to make dif­fer­ent nois­es – give excus­es, threat­en, dis­miss or sim­ply ignore. If we the peo­ple, who are their boss­es, will remain vig­i­lant, then they will have no option but to keep their promises.

In the final analy­sis, the man­i­festo that real­ly mat­ters is the one inscribed in the hearts of lead­ers and cit­i­zens for God’s glo­ry. Think green, act green.

About Dr. Kalua Green

He is the Chief Stew­ard of Green Africa Group, a con­glom­er­ate that was envi­sioned in 1991 to con­nect, pro­duce and impact var­i­ous aspi­ra­tions of human­i­ty through Sus­tain­able Mobil­i­ty & Safe­ty Solu­tions, Eco­pre­neur­ship & Agribusi­ness, Ship­ping & Logis­tics, Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Ini­tia­tives, as well as Hos­pi­tal­i­ty & fur­nish­ings sectors


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