, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 31 – Water Minister and NARC leader Charity Ngilu on Friday unveiled her manifesto, detailing five priority areas she aims to address should she be elected as the country’s next president.
The key issues she intends to address are illiteracy; poverty; healthcare; food and water and the empowerment of women – issues that she says have lagged behind since independence.
“The serious issues that I am talking here are the same ones that the late President Kenyatta talked about 50 years ago. 50 years after independence, the issues have not been addressed conclusively and yet when we leaders sit together these issues are never brought on the table,” she said.
Ngilu who joined the government in 2003 under President Mwai Kibaki’s first term said the NARC government came to power with much promise but only delivered free primary education, though with problems in implementation.
She said that despite lending support to the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) in 2007- with a hope of better focus on issues – many of them have not been addressed.
“Most of the issues we promised since 2002 and 2007 are not done, we became more intolerant; the leadership did not care about what happened to majority poor Kenyans. I even found it hard to continue supporting President Kibaki in 2007,” insisted Ngilu.
“As long as people do not have food on their table they cannot be productive for development and we need to bring these issues back on the table,” added Ngilu.
The minister who previously served in the health docket says that it’s possible for the government to offer quality and accessible healthcare to the people at Sh8 per Kenyan per day.
She attributed insecurity to high rates of unemployment among the youth and warned that the country would continue to spend more on security if the government failed to create jobs.
“We cannot continue condemning the youth for insecurity and yet we as the leadership have not invested in job creation. We are buying guns to protect who from whom?” she posed.
She gave commitment that her government would enhance the Women Enterprise Fund and build capacity for women to allow them take up 30 percent of government contracts.
Also among her top priorities is the reduction in the level of balance of trade and empowerment of local industries.
“We are spending a lot of money on imports of things that are available locally. I once asked why we should not buy hospital beds from the artisans at Gikomba and was told that the people who operate there do not know how to deal with procurement. My question was why can’t we then teach them about procurement?” Ngilu wondered.
“Why do we import rice, sugar, maize and wheat and yet we have farmers?” she further posed.
Ngilu who first ran for the presidency in 1997 says she only aims to create an alliance with the voters despite previously indicating her willingness to work with other candidates.
The manifesto launch at the Intercontinental Hotel will be followed the launch of her presidential bid on Sunday.
“Delegates will decide on my candidature as well as that of any other person who presents himself, I have a good team looking at the issues and that is the alliance that I am going to form,” she reiterated.
The Kitui Central MP said she is due to graduate from the St Paul’s University in October to meet the constitutional requirement of possession of university degrees on presidential candidates.
The minister said she was open to declaring her wealth, insisting that most of her family’s wealth was acquired by and is still retained in her late husband’s name.
“As a parliamentarian and in my own name I have two flats, a house and another flat in South C,” said Ngilu while insisting that she needed to compute the value of assets she owned together with her late husband.
Last year she was cleared by the Parliamentary Committee on Lands and Natural Resources over accusations of irregularly awarding contracts at her water ministry.
She insisted that it was ‘politically instigated’ by cartels within the ministry who wanted to create reason for her to leave.
Ngilu becomes the third female aspirant after Gichugu MP Martha Karua of Narc Kenya and Kingwa Kamenchu, to declare her intention to vie for the presidency.