This is a post that appeared on Citizen TV website after COTU-K held its presidential debate on Wed. 20th February 2012.
The Central Organization of Trade Union today hosted a presidential debate at a Nairobi hotel where presidential candidates engaged in a heated face-off mainly touching on workers issues
In attendance were 5 of the 8 presidential candidates namely Narc Kenya’s Martha Karua, Restore And Build Kenya James Ole Kiyiapi, Alliance For Real Change –Kenya’s Mohammed Abduba Dida, Safina’s Paul Muite, Amani’s Musalia Mudavadi.
CORD's Kalonzo Musyoka took part in the debate on behalf of CORD presidential candidate Raila Odinga.
In absentia were Jubilee’s Uhuru Kenyatta, CORD’s Raila Odinga and Eagle Alliance’s Peter Kenneth who were in various parts of the country campaigning.
First to address the audience was Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi who stated that he would create an environment that encouraged both the private and public sectors to utilize resources effectively.
In so doing, more people would be employed hence creating strong social security in the society.
He pledged that if elected President, the Amani government would critically look at avenues of enhancing savings.
Up next was Safina’s Paul Muite who stated that through his government, Kenya would become a second world country.
As President, he said he would prioritize agriculture by coming up with economic policies to harvest water and add value to Kenya’s produce such as tea.
A Safina government would subsidize the cost of energy in factories and would have cottage industries in every county, Muite said.
Workers welfare would be prioritized as they would be given protective gear in factories and guaranteed health insurance.
Narc Kenya’s Martha Karua highlighted mainly on employment and healthcare.
She assured that her government would work hand in hand with workers to ensure that both the rich and the poor would benefit from the economy.
Under her rule all treatment facilities would be available at county level since a majority of the population relied on public health care services.
She would also create jobs through ensuring that people were trained in different areas of work and invest more in small businesses.
Restore and Build Kenya’s James Ole Kiyiapi promised that his government would invest in catchment harvesting and strategic damming across the country to ensure food security.
He assured that he would focus on healthcare and establish a structure that ensured the smooth running of the NHIF.
On education, his government would improve the quality of education and link education with the job market through focusing on the development of talents.
He added he would focus on security matters to guarantee stability and continued investments into the country.
The ever comical Mohammed Abduba Dida of the Alliance For Real Change Kenya stated his government would create employment.
He said Kenya had the potential to do so as arts and design alone could create 70,000 jobs.
He suggested that the first attempt of immediate job creation would be to get politicians to pay Ksh. 10,000 to have posters cleaned up after the elections.
On health matters, he stated people should eat right to prevent lifestyle diseases and that he would have referral hospitals in each county.
CORD’s Kalonzo Musyoka stated that Kenya should maximize on giving jobs to Kenyans rather than leasing them to foreigners by developing proper employment policies.
A CORD government would ensure a conducive environment for businesses and investors to thrive in.
On health care the CORD government would ensure every Kenyan aged 65 years and above, would receive stipends starting June and amend the NHIF act to enable it to become sufficient in giving universal healthcare.
COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli wrapped up the event by stating that whoever became president should look into the problems of the poor.
By Jane Gakaria.