Nairobi newspaper Daily Nation is carrying articles written by incumbent President Uhura Kenyatta and challenger Raila Odinga, giving their final thoughts before the country goes to the polls.
Kenyatta: Our plan is for prosperity, allow us to finish the job
On Tuesday, almost 20 million Kenyans will have the opportunity to vote in the General Election.
That is the highest number of voters to ever take part in the democratic process in our nation’s history.
And as you enter your local polling station to cast your vote alongside millions of our brothers and sisters, you will also be accompanied by the weight of Kenya’s destiny on your shoulders.
You will not only be casting a vote for our country’s next leader, but you will be making a crucial choice about our country’s future, our national security, our prosperity and our place in the world, for decades to come.
As you make that choice, I ask you to consider the foundations for prosperity we have built together over the last four years.
We have abolished maternity fees and granted Kenyans free access to health centres.
Mothers deserve the best possible care as they bring their children into the world and we have worked tirelessly to provide that.
We have built the foundations for a thriving economy and created over 2.4 million jobs by investing in infrastructure and a broad based, inclusive and modern economy.
We have recruited 16,000 teachers, built 161 technical training institutes and enhanced the integrity of our education system by stamping out bribery and corruption in the exam system.
By distributing over 900,000 digital devices to our pupils, we are also preparing our children for the work place of tomorrow.
And we have invested in modern farming techniques to lower prices and provide food security, including creating 100,000 acres of irrigated farmland and building over 700 dams to safeguard against drought.
We provided over 500,000 tonnes of subsidised fertilizer and invested in transport and trade routes to cut costs for farmers and businesses as they move goods and produce to market, in order to lower prices for Kenyan families.
Together, we have all worked hard to build the foundations for a wealthy, modern nation where all Kenyans can share in peace and prosperity.
But too many Kenyans are still struggling and there is much more work to be done.
Many of our youth who study and work hard can’t find jobs, high food prices still leave many families hungry, and our manufacturing sector has not yet delivered enough new jobs and higher wages.
I am determined to finish the job we started to improve the lives of every one of our brothers and sisters.
That is why my action plan for the next five years will transform the progress we have made into real benefits felt by all Kenyans.
Over the next five years, we will create 6.5 million new jobs, especially for the youth.
We will continue to invest in infrastructure, education and training, small enterprises and a 21st Century high-tech economy that will drive prosperity and job creation for all.
We will achieve this by establishing at least one job-creating industry in every county; empowering our youth to take advantage of online job opportunities using the Ajira Digital Programme, creating over one million online jobs in the next five years; creating an additional 110,000 jobs in the agricultural sector by doubling exports abroad, reviving our cotton sector to create over 100,000 jobs, reviving the Kenya National Shipping Line to create at least 50,000 jobs and building fishing ports in Shimoni, Mombasa, Kilifi and Lamu to create 12,000 jobs.
And my action plan means taking immediate action to reduce the cost of living, cutting the cost of food, energy and transport.
The foundations for prosperity are now built. Now I must ask all Kenyans to allow me to finish the job.
And the choice at this election could not be more important.
Kenyans must now choose whether we build on the foundations for the last four years, to secure a prosperity that every Kenyan can share, or whether we put all that progress at risk to play politics with Kenya’s future.
I am urging every one of my fellow Kenyans to choose progress for the future, over the politics of the past; peace and prosperity over division and inertia; my plan to deliver more jobs and a lower cost of living, over no credible plans at all.
COST OF LIVING
Because we must all remember this. No plan means no progress, and no progress means no new jobs and a higher cost of living, risking all the advancement of the last four years.
Together, we will unlock Kenya’s immense potential as we ensure that nobody is left behind. We will secure a peace and prosperity that we can all share and enjoy. Better days lie ahead for all Kenyans.
This is my plan. This is my promise. Let’s finish the job.
Uhuru Kenyatta is President of the Republic of Kenya and Commander-in-Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces
Odinga: Nasa Will Create a Ladder You Will Climb to Success
When you cast your vote for our next president on Tuesday, you’ll have to weigh a set of fateful questions: Which candidate is going to make the biggest positive difference in your life?
Who will make it easier for you to find a good job?
Who will see to it that our children get a quality education? Who will make food affordable?
In short, which candidate cares more about you?
President Uhuru Kenyatta has had four years to show what he can do.
Unfortunately, all we have is widespread joblessness, empty supermarket shelves, devastating price increases, nurses and doctors going on strike and 90 children crammed in a classroom.
His promises of football stadiums and a “Silicon Savannah” were empty.
My National Super Alliance (Nasa) colleagues and I will focus on what really matters.
We plan to create a ladder that every Kenyan can climb to prosperity and success.
We will direct government assistance to jua kali initiatives with tremendous potential to create jobs.
We will aid small-scale farmers to raise incomes and crop yields and bring prices down.
We will pay doctors and nurses what they deserve. And we will remove all manner of fees for our schoolchildren in September.
DIVIDED BY TRIBE
Some have described this election as a “Us versus Them”. contest. I agree. But let us be clear as to who is the “Us” and who “Them”. Our country is not divided by age, gender or language.
Some would say we are divided by tribe. I don’t believe it. At two brilliantly successful moments in our recent history — the constitutional referendum in 2010 and the 2002 National Rainbow Coalition election victory — Kenyans voted overwhelmingly without thought to tribe.
Instead, the division in our country is between a small, corrupt elite.
This is the “Them” and “Us”. If you look forward to lining your pocket on the next inflated public tender, then you are one of “Them”.
If you plan to manage your secret stockpile of unga to keep profits sky-high, you are one of “Them”.
But if you study hard, work long hours, wait in traffic, worry how you’ll make ends meet or wonder when luck might come your way, you are one of “Us”. I’m running for you.
People ask why I am very confident that I can address our country’s problems.
My answer is that our hope for the future lies in basic honesty and integrity. When Kenyans finally have a government that respects the law and treats everyone equally, we will do great things together.
But elections are not just about our hopes. They are also about our fears. So let me put some fears to rest.
First, don’t believe everything you read about me on the internet, especially from the British “Fake News” experts hired by Jubilee.
I am not the person they describe. I am the man you see, the one you have heard at our rallies, the one who showed up for the presidential debate to ask for your vote. I am running for president because I think I can make a positive difference in your life.
I have also spoken about my concerns that this election will not be administered honestly.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has often conducted itself as if it is trying to diminish public confidence, not increase it.
There is concrete evidence, which the military itself has acknowledged, that some elements of the security forces plan to interfere in our democratic process. And, of course, we were devastated to learn of the violent death of a senior IEBC officer last week.
What is important is not what may be happening behind the scenes but what you, I and every other Kenyan does about it.
The best way to preserve our democracy, our hope for a better future, is to participate. Go out to vote tomorrow. Encourage your friends and neighbours to do so. Volunteer to be a party agent or non-partisan monitor to ensure the process in your area is fair.
Above all, I ask for your trust. No Kenyan should feel that they can achieve their goals only if they have a leader from their community. I will be a president who serves everyone equally.
Needless to say, I will abide by the will of the Kenyan people, expressed through a free and fair process. I am confident of victory, but it is for you to decide your future.
And if the process is not free and fair, it is incumbent upon us, no matter whom we supported, to stand up for our rights.
Will there be rigging? I don’t know, for sure. But what I know is that Kenyans from every walk of life, with every kind of experience, together, we are stronger than any rigging.
Mambo Yabadilika Nane Nane (Change begins on August 8). Join me in choosing a better future for our beloved nation.
Raila Odinga is presidential candidate for Nasa coalition and the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader