Normative Theory of Campaign Promises, and Uhuru Kenyatta’s First 100 Days in Office

by kenyantaboo

They set out on a high, charming friends and fore alike, with bromance hitherto unforeseen. Yet it was clear the honeymoon would end, and time would come to take stock. The Uhuru Kenyatta government, during its well-oiled campaign period, made several pledges, some out of euphoria, others out of sheer desperation for votes. In particular, reference was made to certain achievable promises within the first 100 days of Jubilee assuming the Presidency;

Stock health centers with drugs and equipment necessary to treat all Kenyans

Abolish the fees currently charged at dispensaries and health centres.

Abolish maternity fees and other related charges in all public hospitals

Pass legislation to ensure that every Kenyan child, under 18yrs, is either in school, or in a training institution.

Pass necessary legislation to operationalize the youth empowerment programme

Provide every standard one child with a solar-powered laptop.

Watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vaC-YVJPrA

The end justifies the means, they said. So, amidst the pomp and glamour, the appointments and disappointments, we endeavour to bring you the first 100 days scorecard. But were they sincere from the start?

The Normative Theory of campaign promises (Schedler, 1998); states that political parties should follow the moral requirement of “decency” which includes the following rules –

(i) Avoid making promises which one knowingly cannot keep (realism criterion)

(ii) Avoid making promises which one does not intend to keep (sincerity criterion)

(iii) Avoid making contradicting promises (consistency criterion).

Avoid making promises which one knowingly cannot keep (Realism)

Pass necessary legislation to operationalize the youth empowerment programme.

A first round win for Jubilee directly translated to IEBC saving a 6 Billion sum set aside for a potential run-off. It was not to be ploughed back to the Treasury but converted to a benevolent kitty for youth and women empowerment. This required no legislation, we were told. The youth vote was in the bag, and we duly delivered on March 4th, or so IEBC claims. But 100 days later, has the money arrived? Not yet. In fact, just today, the Devolution and Planning Cabinet Secretary was quoted in a radio talk-show saying something to the effect that the 6 Billion project, now christened UWEZO, has officially been launched across the country and will help youth and women groups gain access to interest-free loans as start up capital for small and micro business, and that only a 3% one-off administration fee will be payable for each loan.

Abolish maternity fees and other related charges in all public hospitals

I’ll give credit where it’s due and award Jubilee their first quarter-of-a-mark here. Starting FY2013/14, a total of Ksh 10.6 billion has been proposed, of which Ksh 3.8 billion is for free access to maternal health. But was this the right way to go about it. And is this allocation enough? When Uhuru Kenyatta made this decree during his inauguration, he directed that the Treasury, Ministy of Health and related ministries kickstart a discussion on the best way to go about this promise. A Policy Proposal on the Presidents’ Initiative on Free Maternal Health Services in Kenya was delivered in three weeks with the following recommendations:

Based on the fore-going, the maternal health package can be financed through three main channels as follows:

  1. Conditional grants to be channeled to health facilities using existing systems – Health Sector Service Fund (HSSF) and Hospital Management Services Fund (HMSF)

  2. A hybrid Mechanism- HSSF for the lower level facilities and the NHIF for levels 4,5 and 6

  3. Use of the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF)/payment of NHIF to cover all pregnant mothers

Based on 3.8 Billion allocation, it is clear that Uhuru Kenyatta went for the first option, as seen in the committee’s report, in the table below:

 

Year 1

Year2

Year 3

Year4

Year5

Annual pregnancies

       1,500,000

       1,500,000

      1,500,000

       1,500,000

         1,500,000

Coverage (%)

                       70

                        75

                         80

                          80

                          80

% of Deliveries through prepayment schemes

20

20

20

20

20

Total deliveries through prepayment schemes

            300,000

300,000

300,000

300,000

300,000

Deliveries to be financed through Free Maternal Health Policy

          1,200,000

                1,200,000

            1,200,000

             1,200,000

              1,200,000

Conditional grants

         

HSSF (Health centres/Disp.)

             840,000,000

             1,125,000,000

    1,440,000,000

    1,680,000,000

     1,800,000,000

HMSF (Hospitals)

         2,520,000,000

             2,250,000,000

    1,920,000,000

    1,440,000,000

     1,200,000,000

Total cost

         3,360,000,000

             3,375,000,000

    3,360,000,000

    3,120,000,000

     3,000,000,000

 

Stock health centers with drugs and equipment necessary to treat all Kenyans

Abolish the fees currently charged at dispensaries and health centres.

You do not wake up one morning, having seen the sun shining on your smooth forehead, call a press conference and order  drugs and equipment to grassroots health facilities and abolish fees charged in those facilities. No you dont. Charity Ngilu, one of the principals, recognize this first hand having headed the Health Ministry for a considerable period of time. She was instrumental in the drafting of the health provisions in the Jubilee manifesto. One would want to assume that she inserted the two provisions at gunpoint. Even if the government was to shut down operations and redirect staff to focus only on the two promises, 100 days is still a short duration to see these two promises kick in. As we speak, there has neither been a follow up nor legislation to see to to it that these two promises are effected. But this is highlights half the story. The real monster afflicting health facilities at all levels is under-staffing. It is worse at the dispensary and health centre levels because Nurses and doctors always aspire to move to bigger towns and cities where opportunities abound, which comes with higher pay. So the Jubilee government, in all their wisdom, decided to do this;

“I have allocated a further Ksh 3.1 billion and Ksh 522 million for recruitment of 30 community nurses and 10 community health workers, respectively per constituency to provide quality health care services to Kenyans.”

Before I get mad, lets crunch the numbers, shall we?  A 2006 Study on The Cost of Health Professionals Brain Drain in Kenya came to the conclusion that the total cost of educating one nurse from primary school to college of health sciences is US$ 43,180, that is equivalent to, then, Kshs 3.5 Million per NURSE. Read more: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6963/6/89

There are 290 constituencies in Kenya, making it a total of 8700 (290 x 30) community nurses to be recruited this year.

310,000,000,000 divide by 8700 = 356,322 per nurse per year

356,322 divide by 12 months = 29,700 per month!

Yaani…the Kenyan government intends to pay a nurse, who’s been trained at a conservative figure of 3.5 Million, 29,700 per month! And you expect this nurse to stay in the village dispensary treating patients with a kind heart? I get it, nursing should be a calling, after all. End of rant.

Further, this nurse is expected to deliver services under the most extreme of circumstances often without drugs or equipment. Timely provision of requisite drugs and equipment to dispensaries and health centres has been a hot button topic in health circles. To be precise, this is one of the issues that made our health professionals down their tools in 2012 as they demanded for better working conditions. Too many patients are dying in their hands, they said, not because of under-staffing but because they did not have basic equipment as gloves exposing them to contamination and health risks. To rectify the mess, you need a thorough inventory of equipment and drugs stock-taking by an external auditor. Without which KEMSA will keep sending only painkillers to lower level health facilities which would not have helped in any way.

Avoid making contradicting promises (Consistency)

Pass legislation to ensure that every Kenyan child, under 18yrs, is either in school, or in a training institution.

Provide every standard one child with a solar-powered laptop.

This one is a no-brainer. The Basic Education Act, 2013 was assented to by President Kibaki on 14th January 2013 and Commenced operations on 25th January 2013,  two months to the March 4th general election. It is not clear, therefore, what Uhuru Kenyatta meant by “passing legislation to ensure that every child, under 18 years, is either in school, or in a training institution.” Two inferences can be made here; that either Mwai Kibaki had secretly relinquished state machinery to Uhuru Kenyatta at the turn of the year or there were other legislations secondary to the Basic Education Act, 2013, that Jubilee passed on the backdoor. I am not sure about the former so I shall restrain myself from commenting. However, on the latter, nothing can be further from the truth.  A quick glance at the National Assembly Bill Tracker 2013 indicates that a total of 11 Bills have been brought to the floor of the House (2 have already been assented to by the President – The Division of Revenue Bill, 2013 and the Appropriation Bill, 2013). The other 9 have nothing to do with secondary legislations or amendments to the Basic Education Act, 2013. We can only conclude that either Uhuru Kenyatta intended to eat off Mwai Kibaki’s sweat or he was sworn in long before we knew he was. He, alone, is better placed to tell us which one. What was left for Jubilee was to operationalize the Act, and, because I still see kids littering our streets selling rotten strawberries in open-air print-patches, it is clear that the Cabinet Secretary in charge of Education is yet to open this piece of legislation and digest its contents.

Lets now turn our attention to the small matter of laptop provision for primary One pupils. Does my head in, this one.

We have in the medium term allocated a total of Ksh 53.2 billion for deployment of 1.35 million laptops to class one pupils, development of digital content, and building capacity of teachers and rolling out computer laboratory for class 4 to class 8 in all schools throughout the country. This translates to Ksh 17.4 billion each financial year starting from FY 2013/14.

I’ll award Jubilee half-a-mark on this one, seeing that we can only evaluate the success of this project once the Standard One pupils, Class of 2014, settle in class. However, there has been a marked shift on government policy on this promise. Various media outlets have quoted the Cabinet Secretary for Education having said that the laptops would now be downgraded to tablets. Tablets, where those of the Mosaic nature on Mt. Sinai or the latest Steve Jobs ones, was never part of the deal. Or if they were, then the definition of what constitutes a laptop changed with Jubilee assuming office. There’s a lot of inconsistency in information coming from Jogoo House, and, as teachers demand this allocation to be directed to their welfare, I will not be surprised if the Class One of 2014 end up receiving Nokia 3310s as a compromise.

Advertisements