By Peter Midwa
Presidential candidate Ekuru Aukot from Thirdway Alliance Kenya has released a manifesto that is concerned with delivering true leadership to Kenyans. The manifesto has covered children rights at the very least, including free and compulsory education as stated in Article 53 (1) of the Kenyan constitution. At the same time, the manifesto has focused on engaging public servants to enroll their children in public schools. The manifesto has also noted that all public educational institutions shall be fully equipped to improve the quality of education.
What this leaves us with is the question of whether ThirdWay Alliance Kenya is capable of producing merely the “free education” that has once been promised but still remains fledgling. There has been virtually no “free education.” By and large, children in public schools continue to buy stationery and uniform meaning that they are not directly embracing the privilege of not spending any cash. Under such circumstances, how will ThirdWay Alliance Kenya sustain a commitment to a more expansive free education and further hone the effort to narrow this extremely challenging task?
Not only that. For such success to be delivered, ThirdWay Alliance Kenya needs to stretch beyond the promise of free education and upgrade the infrastructure of public schools including floors and classrooms. Over 9000 laptops have been distributed in public schools but poor infrastructure remains a crisis. Upgrading classrooms is equally fundamental to buying equipment, as this will advance the well being of children and help achieve the fourth sustainable development goal on children agendas.
Nonetheless, ThirdWay Alliance Kenya has indicated in its manifesto that it will collaborate with county governments to establish sports academies and set aside 2% of its annual budget in establishment of the academies. This is an effective process of empowering children and backing their best interest based on Article 53 (2).
Yet the question remains: where have children with disabilities been involved? Of course, to sustain such a revolutionary impulse, a shift toward children with disabilities must be embodied. Unleashing a policy without seeking to combine with people who might be limited in their movements or senses is the worst thing a political party can actually be interested in. Many activists have emphasized that leaders must ensure participatory, rather than merely representative, policies prevail.
Finally, ThirdWay Alliance Kenya has pledged in its manifesto to work closely with county governments to ensure clean and reliable water supply to all citizens. Granted, such a policy will mark an impact on the sustainable development agenda of giving children access to clean water.
Indeed, many will view the provision of clean water as a solution to water-borne diseases including cholera, which is said to have claimed the lives of many Kenyans recently. This is not to deny the challenge of restoring water towers nation wide and essentially carrying out this practice to the dozens in impoverished towns. How will Third Way Alliance meet the demands of clean and reliable water across the country?
The very top leadership of any political party should radically demonstrate goals and reveal possibilities that build the confidence of children. There are a number of other bridges to be crossed until the interests of children are entirely enforced and dealt with.
Peter is a journalist with Mtoto News
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