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Martha Karua – What My Government Will Do Differently

In Nairobi, On 17 November 2011 –Friends, fellow Kenyans. Youth and youth employment is an issue that is close to my heart. I do recognize that youth constitute the largest segment of our population.

I do also realize that youth employment has not been given the necessary attention by all stake holders required for such a complex and multifaceted challenge.

Allow me to say this from the onset, it is not the government’s job to directly create employment. Any attempt by bureaucrats to do this only results in integrity issues and scandals such as the KKV and many others in the past. The colonial state made government jobs a reward for loyalty, and our subsequent governments have followed suit as the recent audit by NCIC clearly brought out.

The politics of patronage and ‘our man’ has led to massive looting of taxpayer resources over the last 48 years. Handouts and nepotism has led to impunity, corruption, ineptitude and mediocrity since government staff know that as long as ‘our man’ is in power then they’re untouchable.

If it is not the government’s role to directly create jobs you may ask, what is its use? A government’s role is to formulate and implement policies that result in creation of an enabling environment for economic activity leading to job creation.

The government has no business being in business, but the government has a duty to create an environment where business and all other economic activities thrive thus creating jobs.

What will my government do differently from previous administrations? It will be hard, it will take courage and determination, but together with you we will do it. Our job will be to invest the taxes we collect in social infrastructure that lessens the burden on ordinary Kenyans thus enabling them save and invest in economic activity.

We will on coming to office concentrate on the following long and short term measures, among others, that will result in savings by both the government and Kenyans, and encourage foreign direct investment;

  1. Move with speed to stem graft and resultant misappropriation of government funds
  2. Invest in quality, relevant (entrepreneurial) and affordable education for all Kenyans.
  3. Invest in affordable quality health care for all Kenyans with special emphasis on a universal medical cover for all.
  4. Engage our architects and engineers to develop affordable quality dwellings to lessen the burden of owning a home for Kenyans.
  5. Invest in an affordable, modern and efficient transport system and infrastructure
  6. Continue where I left off at the Ministry of Water with special emphasis to modern irrigation systems. We have the know-how and the human resource to be food self-sufficient. A nation must be able to feed her people for them to be productive.
  7. Develop and implement policy on modern food production methods – again I say, we have the know-how and the human resource
  8. Modernize and retrain our security services

These are just a few among the massive actions that need to be urgently addressed in order to put our country back on the right path. Some will result in directs jobs for Kenyans in the short-run, others will ensure job creation in the near future.

By reducing the cost burden on Kenyans’ access to food, education, health care, housing, transport and security, basic services, we hope to have you saving more and investing in economic activity that will spur job creation. We also hope it will lead to a skilled, healthy and enlightened human resource that will encourage top companies set up shop in our country. The IT industry is already a testament to this.

A walk down any commercial center in the country and one realizes that it is Kenyans who create jobs, not the government. Kenyans are an enterprising people.

My government’s main task will be to empower Kenyans achieve their goals and not to nip their dreams in the bud as is presently the case.Our party manifesto will have more detail on how we intend to address these challenges.

I recognize that there are many brilliant Kenyans solutions out there and I welcome your ideas on how we can achieve an equitable and progressive solution to unemployment.

I also encourage youth to come together in groups and help each other identify opportunities that exist among us. Remember that unity is strength, let us build each other.

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