On Thursday, June 30, Deputy President William Ruto launched Kenya Kwanza’s ambitious manifesto with the hope that it will propel him to the presidency when Kenyans go to the ballot on August 9.
Throughout his campaigns, the Deputy President has positioned himself as a ‘hustler’ - a rather colloquial term for common man, and this is reflected in his manifesto.
Ruto promised to create a Hustler Fund that is in line with his bottom-up economic model that he says will help improve the lives of the poor people in the country.Deputy President William Ruto at Kasarani Stadium during the launch of the Kenya Kwanza manifesto on Thursday, June 30,2022DPPS
The country’s second in command promised to set aside Ksh50 billion for the fund and will be channeled towards supporting Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises (MSMEs).
However, what was not clear in his manifesto, was how the fund will be operationalised.
According to Kenya Kwanza, the Ksh50 billion kitty will benefit members of savings and credit cooperatives (saccos) to provide start-up and growth capital for SMEs. The amount will be set aside each financial year and shared on constituency level.
"The plan is to ensure through the Hustler Fund that we commit Ksh50 billion every year so that the mama mboga, the boda boda guy, and the fellow at the salon find credit," stated Ruto.
Gatundu South Member of Parliament, Moses Kuria - who was part of the think tank behind the manifesto - was on record saying that the Hustler Fund would be shared on the basis of 'one man, one vote, one shilling'. This implies that constituencies with a high population will get a bigger share.
Prof. X.N. Iraki, an economist and a lecturer at the University of Nairobi, says the idea is noble if it seeks to provide finances for investment. However, Prof Iraki stated that there is still more to be done besides providing finances.
According to the economist, the government should endeavor to consider other factors that he deemed important to grow a country’s economy.
"It is a noble idea but there is more to economic growth other than finances. He should go further and consider the business environment in terms of factors that would hinder growth. Offering finances as well as checking whether the ideas are viable is also important," Prof Iraki told Kenyans.co.ke.
The Hustler Fund has been one of the key agenda Kenya Kwanza has been campaigning on and advancing its bottom up economic model. Kenya Kwanza's rivals, Azimio La Umoja, have discredited the idea terming it as inadequate.
Kenyans have 38 days to evaluate the four presidential candidates and their manifestos and subsequently make their decisions on August 9.Deputy President William Ruto and ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi during the Kenya Kwanza Youth charter at Nyayo Stadium on June 27, 2022.
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