Elections come and go, but the supply of meat and chicken is a matter on which all right-thinking Kenyans must never compromise.
People do not eat manifestos. When the lofty words in the red and blue booklets released this week by the two major political formations have fallen away, eating must continue.
As the first tranche of cash under next year’s Budget left the National Treasury on Friday, the promise of future tenders was beckoning in massive construction projects planned should either party capture power.
Jubilee’s 70-page manifesto seeks to build a six-lane 450-kilometre highway between Mombasa and Nairobi to complement the standard gauge railway. Not to be outdone, the National Super Alliance’s “Road to Kenyan Dream”, an addendum to its manifesto, promises to build a four-lane road between Mombasa and Malaba on the border with Uganda. Roads are the Nasa thing, because the highways they build will be wide enough to have lanes for bodaboda cyclists and pedestrians.
Jubilee vows to not only construct the second phase of the SGR from Nairobi to Naivasha, but also pledges to create a rail link between Lamu and Miritini, with 29 berths at the Lamu Port. There will also be fishing ports in Shimoni, Mombasa, Kilifi and Lamu.
For its part, Nasa hopes to create a road linking Mandera to Wajir and Garissa; a bridge over Likoni; and the Lake Victoria Ring Road. And then it hopes to encourage public-private partnerships to enter inland water travel and revamp airstrips in every county.
Jubilee is sparing the private sector for collaboration in farming 1.2 million acres of land as its response to food scarcity while Nasa seeks to increase the yield of maize from each acre of land from 8.5 bags to 12 bags.
Between Jubilee Party and Nasa, there is agreement that some 500,000 houses have to be built. Housing must also be provided for the police, the prison service, nurses and doctors close to their workplaces, which Nasa estimates at 20,000.
Jubilee wants to complete 57 dams and supply electricity to every household, but Nasa goes one better on its competitor by promising to construct a 1000-megawatt gas plant in Lungalunga for energy generation, completely phasing out diesel power plants. They have no idea that Jubilee will be working on garbage recycling plants in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu and Nakuru.
While Jubilee is happy to provide Internet connectivity for all health facilities, Nasa will lower the cost of data bundles. As it were, construction is not the only point of agreement since the two parties also agree on the need for free secondary education, and the digitisation of government services. They both agree on the need to create jobs – Jubilee pitches for 1.3 million each year, while Nasa seeks to encourage the jua kali artisan sector and provide 50,000 positions in business process outsourcing.
Somebody will need to supply 10,000 motorcycles for chiefs and assistant chiefs the Jubilee administration plans to order, but the Nasa people want to buy drones for tracking wildlife.
Nasa wants to pull Kenyan troops out of Somalia in 90 days but Jubilee would like to buy more specialised anti-terrorism vehicles, mordernise security equipment and revamp the police air wing. Heck, Jubilee will build an integrated command and control centre to fight terrorism and equip that long-forgotten forensic laboratory.
Corruption will be tackled with Jubilee promising to save Sh1 trillion over five years routinely lost through wastage, while Nasa wants the National Intelligence Service to spy on the corrupt.
Clearly, there is a ton of money to be made whichever way Kenyans vote.
Kwamchetsi Makokha is the programme advisor at Journalists for Justice.
The views expressed here are his own and do not represent those of JfJ.