Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Election Time Myths and Facts
Myth: "an idea or story that many people believe, but which is not true"
Fact: "a piece of information that is known to be true"
MYTH: An ODM government will result to Kenyans’ living standards being worse. ie "the same as those of residents of Kibera Slums in Langata constituency".
FACT: Of the approximately 33 million strong Kenyan population, only 43% (ie. 14.1 million persons) have access to adequate sanitation and only 61% (20 million persons) have access to clean water. Do the rest live in Kibera?
MYTH: By voting in an ODM government it would set a dangerous precedent and create an insecure/unstable living environment in Kenya!
FACT: Presently, Kenya has the highest number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) for a country not at war. 1.5% of the Kenyan population are IDPs. That is; nearly half a million people living as refugees in their own country. If truth be told, hundreds of thousands have died, thousands more lost their property and were scarred for life due to politically instigated violence. This social injustice continues to present time.
MYTH: The Kibaki regime has brought economic growth and Kenyans are generally happier than 5 years ago.
FACT: With a per capita income of about US$400, that is a little more than a dollar per day, Kenya is one of the poorest countries in Africa with widespread endemic poverty as well as gross inequalities. In actual fact, only less than 10% of the population (3.3 million persons) control national assets, while the remaining majority 90% (30 million persons) have been fighting double digit inflation for the last five years and are at a great disadvantage in terms of access to wealth, health, education and justice.
MYTH: The Kibaki regime has improved Kenyans’ general life styles and the population is healthier than it was previously.
FACT: Life expectancy for Kenyans has fallen from 58 years in 1986 to 48 years in 2006, and the cost of living has skyrocketed with Nairobi now ranking 107th costliest city globally in 2006, up from position 117th in 2005.
MYTH: That the Kibaki regime has improved infrastructure and infrastructure is generally efficient and well maintained.
FACT: Nearly 80% of Kenyans, comprising small scale farmers, traders and manufacturing enterprises rate road and rail services as ‘poor’, ‘very poor’ or ‘not available at all’. Dilapidated, congested or inadequate infrastructure (ie, roads, rail, telecoms, etc) affects the poverty stricken citizens most. That is; those who cannot fly or afford other means of communications. Poor Kenyans, (those living on less than a dollar per day) are 18 million persons, at last count.
MYTH: The current government has satisfactorily managed land distribution and there is absolutely no need to implement the Ndungu Land Commission Report recommendations as it will result to civil strife.
FACT: In Kenya, some 3600 large scale holdings control a staggering 780 million hectares of arable land (ie. each having an average 217,000 hectares) against a meagre average size of one hectare of land for each 3.5 million small holding peasant farmer. The rest of the population makes do with unfertile, arid and semi arid land.
MYTH: That the ODM is unpopular, cannot form government next term and it is does not offer a worthwhile alternative to the current government.
FACT: Recent opinion polls (Sept 2007) puts the ODM candidate ahead by nearly 10% of registered voters. That is nearly 1.4million votes. The same opinion polls rate ODM the most preferred party with more than half of registered voters supporting it.
MYTH: That the current regime has satisfactorily tackled corruption in public offices.
FACT: According to TI, Kenyans still rate 'corruption' as the number one problem in their country, followed by 'poverty' and 'unemployment'. Corruption remains a national problem and that which is directly responsible for promoting poverty and inequality, which is in turn breeding discontent and instability. Corruption is a real threat to democracy and uniform economic and social development.