By Liz Busisa
Creation of 1.3 million jobs in the country every year and the establishment of at least one industry in every county encourages the principles of development and survival of the child, which indirectly affects children. The eighth sustainable development goal stresses on the provision of decent work and economic growth. In Kenya for instance, prostitution is still not illegal but considered one of the most indecent jobs. What is the party doing to achieve decent work and at the same time grow the economy?
Another plan in the jubilee manifesto is expanding the free primary education to include free day secondary schools. According to article 53 of the Constitution, education is a primary right for all children in the country Kenya. Sustainable development goal number 4 highlights on quality education yet the Jubilee Party provided laptops to primary school pupils while the children still learn in rundown classrooms. With a debt of over four trillion shillings, the question of funding the free primary education is still a mystery to be solved.
In addition, mass housing production of at least five hundred thousand affordable homes in five years is in line with SDG number 11 that advocates for sustainable cities and communities. This is also in line with Article 43 of the Constitution, which states that every person has the right to accessible and adequate housing. Children are directly affected by this agenda since it promotes the principle of survival. However, the problem of land grabbing by renowned government officials greatly threatens this agenda.
Free maternity care implements SDG number 3, which is for the good health and well-being of persons of all ages. This is inclusive of children and it affects the development and survival of the child. It is commendable what the Jubilee Party has achieved through the Linda Mama and Beyond Zero Campaign programmes. However, while the party has been in power, doctors went on strike for over 3 months, a period that saw the deaths hundreds of children. Currently, the nurses are on strike and more mothers and children are dying due to absence of nurses in hospitals to provide this service.
Sufficient and safe water is also a top agenda for the Jubilee Party. It is noticeable that this, just like the above mentioned agenda, is coherent with Chapter 4 of the Constitution and to be precise, article 43. Enticing as it is, there is a looming water shortage in many parts of the country especially in the northern counties. Moreover, Nairobi County is facing threats of water shutdown because workers in the Ministry of Water and Irrigation have indicated a possibility of going on strike. Better yet, the water levels in Ndakaini Dam, which is the major water source for the city. Needless to say, the forests in this country are the major water sources. Sadly, forest cover has reduced to about 3% whereas the required standard of forest cover is 10% and above. It has been four and a half years yet the Jubilee government hasn’t moved forward since the efforts of the Late Professor Wangari Maathai to encourage afforestation and reafforestation especially in schools. Children only learn theoretically but the practice is like smoke in the wind. Questions still linger in the minds of parents of what will be left for their children because we face the effects of global warming in the country.
Empowering women is also an agenda in the Jubilee manifesto. This is beneficial to the young girls who seek to rise in the ranks and become leaders in various governmental and private sector agencies in Kenya. The Party has achieved so much to ensure that the girl child has been empowered in society by enacting the Marriage Act, the Matrimonial Property Act and the Female Genital Mutilation Act to ensure equality in marriage as provided in Article 45 of the Constitution as well as protect the girl child from FGM. Besides, the Cabinet has also been fair in the affirmative action plan by implementing the two-thirds gender rule. It is interesting to note that Parliament failed to pass the Gender Equality Bill which would have been a great contributor to the empowering of women agenda.
Kenya is a culture-rich country with people from very diverse backgrounds. The Jubilee party has pledged to unify Kenyans through sports, culture and the arts. This corresponds to article 11 of the Constitution which acknowledges culture as the foundation of the nation and as the cumulative civilization of the Kenyan people and nation. Children ought to have been involved in this agenda because they will learn to appreciate their culture as well as other people’s cultural backgrounds. There shall be no cause for strife in the country if the younger generation is made aware if the significance of appreciating culture and use it as a unifying symbol rather than a dividing one. This in turn will enable the children once they attain the age of majority to be able to participate in nation-building activities such as voting in a peaceful and respectful manner.
Even though there are many agenda that relate to children in the manifesto, there is no doubt that the Jubilee party has a great and convincing manifesto. It is important for people who advocate for the rights of children and who want to see children advance and participate actively in the development of this country, to be more involved in the drafting of manifestos. Thus, it is essential for the jubilee party to ensure that every promise they have and are making, and every stride they are taking to implement the agenda of the manifesto is inclusive of children and to ensure that the best interests of children are taken care of.
Liz is a lawyer and legal and policy writer for Mtoto News
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