A review of the manifesto under the ‘CORD’s 10 Point Programme’ shows some highs and lows with regard to ICT, though in general the coalition may have missed an opportunity by not utilising it more in its promises.
The manifesto, available in PDF format online, first highlights CORD’s vision, with the coalition stating that it is focused on transforming Kenya into a democratic country by providing equal opportunities for all its citizens.
“CORD is committed to the realisation of a Kenyan society founded on popular democracy and social justice, where all citizens enjoy equal political, economic and socio-cultural rights and live in harmony and unity,” the programme read.
The 17-page document simplifies CORD’s manifesto into 10 policy areas, namely jobs, food security, security, governance, cost of living, social equality, infrastructure and land, education, healthcare and national cohesion.
ICT features in three of these areas: jobs, security and education. Notably, the manifesto does not detail the implementation process in these sectors.
Under jobs, the coalition promises to transform Kenya into an information society driven by ICT in order to create more jobs for the unemployed skilled youth.
“Enhance the use of ICT for increased productivity and efficiency and to make Kenya into an information society,” it says.
CORD, if elected into power, promises to take Kenya from its current poor and dependable status to productive and self-sustaining economy within the next two decades.
Under security, ICT features with the alliance promising to install CCTV cameras as a priority. The document states that CORD will handle security very seriously, “being tough on crime and terrorism and even tougher on their causes”.
“Insecurity prevents people from participating in freely undertaking national building activities. It also discourages foreign and local investors,” stated the manifesto.
ICT particularly features in the education segment with CORD promising to launch an e-learning platform, establish computer laboratories in all public schools as well as ensure provision of Internet to schools to enable the setting up of e-libraries.
This is CORD’s strategy for the sector with the alliance highlighting the importance of quality education that meets universal standards.
The manifesto does not mention any policy in extension of ICT infrastructure and rather concentrates on other communication infrastructural projects such as roads, railways and inland waterways.
Also notable is that innovation and research is missing from the document, despite the pronouncement of the intention to transform Kenya into an information society.
Modernisation of certain sectors such as health and agriculture through ICT is also lacking from the document.
Although the document focuses on access to the Internet in schools, modernisation of crime surveillance and creation of skilled employment in the area of IT, the policies should have been directed towards a wide range of sectors such as agriculture and immigration.
CORD, having mentioned ICT in just three of the 10-point policy areas, should reassess its ICT policy to include more areas in the economy.