A NEW DAWN, NEW DEALS AND OLD(ISH) PROBLEMS IN KENYA
The Deep Dive 35th Edition
Today's newsletter comes a day later than usual, timed for Kenya's fifth President, William Ruto's first full day in office. Ruto's presidency will no doubt be judged by his ability to get the country out of debt, spread prosperity to more households in the country and tame rampant corruption that marred his predecessor, Uhuru Kenyatta's regime. (Ruto was elected twice on a joint ticket with Kenyatta). Ruto made a number of stunning announcements in his inaugural speech to make good on campaign pledges he made. He appointed judges whose appointments had been held by Kenyatta, added 30 million US dollars to the judiciary's budget and signed an executive order to effectively give the police more autonomy to fight corruption.
Talking of corruption, our new portal WiziLeaks is a consolidated source of data and information on corruption scandals since 1978. The intention is to keep tracking corruption cases as and when they are reported, helping Kenyans keep their governments more accountable.
Ruto also criticized the use of subsidies to control the prices of fuel and maize flour, signalling a possible end to the use of the Fuel stabilization fund that has been deployed to stem rising fuel prices due to international shocks and the sliding value of the Kenya shilling to the dollar.
This week on the Big Picture we host Kenya's Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority's Director General, Daniel Kiptoo. We talk about the likely rise in fuel costs, the impact of subsidies and renewable energy.
We've also got more fact checks and explainers on the way; check us out on our platforms for more!
UDA’s Manifesto Summary by Calvin Rock
No doubt this year’s Presidential Election was steeply contested with high stakes for both top contenders William Ruto and Raila Odinga. In the midst of it, Kenyans witnessed the anxieties occasioned by delayed announcement of results, contradictory tallies from different media houses, unrest at the national tallying centre - The Bomas of Kenya, a contested outcome followed by a larger-than-life petition delivered in a lorry-full of evidence and a verdict as shattering to some as it was welcome to others.
The preceding campaigns rode on the narrative of dynasties versus hustlers; with Ruto considering himself the “hustler-in-chief” and painting Odinga, backed by incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta, as a dynasty. Kenyans were treated to divisive politics, that for once were not entirely based on tribe but the appearance of agenda. Ruto’s main proposition to the “hustlers” was the bottom-up economic model which he so convincingly sold to the mama mboga and watu wa bodaboda among other ‘common wananchi’.
On the other hand, Odinga proposed a plan to pay 6000 shillings per month to families living below the poverty line. But with Ruto emerging the winner, and as the dust settles, what remains to be seen is if he will deliver on his promises to Kenyans outlined in the UDA Manifesto and if the bottom-up economic model upon which his campaign rode will be realized. Below are the highlights of his manifesto:
Financial commitment of 250 billion between FY 2023-2027
Provide adequate capital through cooperatives
Risk management through insurance, forward contracts, price stabilization schemes
Minimum productivity target of Kshs. 50K per acre for poor farmers
Reduce dependence on food import by 30%
Universal Health Coverage operating under principles of: publicly financed primary healthcare, universal national primary health insurance under NHIF and co-funding (insurance levy and government) of chronic and catastrophic illnesses
Stakeholder-managed national procurement scheme for medical supplies
Human resource reforms including contributing towards stipend paid to health workers by the County governments
Reforms on NHIF contributions regime
3. MSME’s (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises);
250 billion for FY 2022/23 – FY 2026/27
Entitle every citizen to trading license and premise
Cap total license costs at 1.5% of turnover i.e., by estimates if you make Kshs. 500 per day ideally total licensing costs should be under Kshs. 3K
Kshs. 50 billion per year to MSMEs
MSME Business Development Centres in every ward
4. Housing and Settlement;
250 billion for FY 2022/23 – 2026/27
25K new housing (units) per year; Increase affordable housing supply from 2% - 50%
Increase mortgages from 30K to 1M
150 billion for rural housing and settlement (financial period not specified)
The Presidential Inauguration by Nyakerario Omari
These are top among other key pillars that cut across the Digital and Creative sector, infrastructure, manufacturing, ICT, Tourism, Sports, Climate Change and Education among other sectors. While these plans by the Kenya Kwanza team, now set to form the new government, sound quite promising, unless the relevant institutions and the entire citizenry hold the Ruto administration to account, these may only remain promises that never saw the light of day.
Presidential inauguration ceremonies are perhaps the most known after every election in Kenya. This year wasn't any different. Maybe just a bit to me but not as much. At some point I muttered under my breath at how many people I saw for just the few hours I spent covering the event. But that’s not so important.
A ceremony graced by people from all walks of life; from Africa’s richest man, to state dignitaries to ‘Wanjiku’ crowned President William Ruto with quite a number of responsibilities on his back. But the most important being, fulfilling the promises he made during the numerous campaigns, ahead of the elections. Silently, this must be every Kenyan’s loudest question.
What’s President Ruto going to do about the cost of living? Or even, how he is going to clear the country’s external debt. Furthermore, how his government will deal with the huge challenge of unemployment among the youth.
But one thing remains true, this has been, “the second peaceful democratic transition” so far.
May the work begin.
WIZILEAKS: A New Way To Track Corruption
It can be exhausting trying to keep pace with the legion of corruption scandals that have taken place across the years in Kenya. Worse still, with graft yet to be contained, it is safe to say that more may be in the making. Yet, for corruption to be brought under control, Kenyans need to hold their government accountable. We've been working on a platform that we hope will help. Wizileaks (for the non swahili subscribers to our newsletter, "Wizi" is swahili for theft) has put as many of Kenya's corruption scandals as possible in one place. We chose to start in 1978 and work from there. The site is still new, and we're working hard to add to it.
Check it out and let us know what you think! Here it is.
PIGA FIRIMBI: Of Fabricated Forms 34A, Non-existent Polling Stations and False Information Preceding Presidential Poll’s Ruling By Tracy Anne Bonareri
The August 9, 2022 general election was marred with misleading claims circulated across various social media platforms. This was witnessed pre, during and post the election. Since the 2007 election, Kenya’s election results have always been disputed at The Supreme Court with the petitioners citing irregularities in the transmission of results. When giving the ruling on the 2017 petition that ended with the nullification of its results, the six-judge bench found that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission committed irregularities and illegalities in the transmission of results.
The transmission of presidential results starts with the form 34A’s from polling stations. This form details the number of votes cast for each candidate, the total number of registered voters in a polling station and the number of disputed, rejected, stray and valid votes. In efforts to be as transparent as possible with the electorate, the IEBC uploads these forms on their open portal. A claim on an error on the form 34A from Bomani Primary School, Magarini Constituency, Kilifi County was shared on Twitter as the tallying process was ongoing. The polling station had 613 registered voters and one candidate garnered 991 votes. The image went viral with many calling out the electoral commission for this. Piga Firimbi found that this was a clerical error on the electoral commission's part that they rectified on the constituency’s form 34B.
Forms 34A are used to generate form 34B. Forms 34B put together all results from different polling stations under constituencies. A tweet was shared claiming that the wrong form 34B was uploaded for Kamukunji Constituency. Piga Firimbi checked the veracity of this claim on the IEBC portal and found that the claims were true. The IEBC had uploaded a form 35B from the said constituency. Form 35 is used to declare election results for Members of Parliament. The IEBC eventually pulled down the form 35 and uploaded the correct form 34B. Still on the form Bs, yet another claim that the IEBC had uploaded the wrong form for Starehe Constituency was circulated on Twitter. Piga Firimbi also looked into this and found that the form 34B uploaded was from Lagdera Constituency, Garissa County
The circulation of these forms bearing errors may have contributed to people questioning the accuracy of the election results. The fact that all the fact checks by Piga Firimbi on these claims bear a true verdict does not make the election body look good in the electorate’s eyes. The IEBC under their new chairman should do better come 2027 to ensure such clerical errors are not witnessed and the credibility of the results they release is not questioned.
THE BIG PICTURE: Fuel and Electricity Price Hikes On The Way? We Speak to the EPRA.
The price of fuel and electricity is a major concern in Kenya. Not only have they both been trending upwards, but in the face of international shocks like the war in Ukraine, and a Kenya shilling that has taken a beating against the dollar (nearing 120 KES to one dollar), things don't seem to be getting any better. Or are they? We had an illuminating discussion with Kenya's Energy and Petroleum regulatory authority's Director General, Daniel Kiptoo about the same. If you are trying to figure out what your bills are going to look like over the next few months, you'll want to watch this interview. Our fact-checking team also brought loads of facts, debunking all sorts of misinformation on energy costs.
Tune in at 8pm tonight!
Editorial Director: John-Allan Namu
Assignment Editor: Sam Munia
Social Media Manager: Muraguri Gitahi
Contributors: John Allan Namu, Calvin Rock, Tracy Bonareri and Nyakerario Omari.
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