The Mau Mau roads, meandering through almost every marketplace in this region, are a wonder to behold. The roads should open up these markets to more trade and commerce, not just within the region but to other areas as well. Surely on doit manger goudron (one should literally be able to eat tar) on these Mau Mau roads.
But seeing the impact handouts has had on the mentality of the masses of this region, a government should build infrastructure while feeding the tummy as well.
It, therefore, makes a lot of sense when Raila Odinga says he will champion infrastructural development in Kenya while also giving a monthly subsidy of Sh6,000 to the poor.
This is an essential element of social protection that goes in tandem with uninhibited access to life’s basic needs that every Kenyan is entitled to under Article 43 of Kenya’s 2010 Constitution. To recap, these are access to adequate and nutritious food, health, education and security.
On October 17, 2000, while making a contribution in the National Assembly on the subject of access to health by ordinary Kenyans, I strongly opposed the cost-sharing policy of the then Kanu government in matters of health.
A taxpayer, I said, cannot pay tax to the government to run the healthcare system and then, when he goes to the hospital, he is told to pay yet another cost that should have been subsumed by his tax. He or she cannot share the cost with himself or herself!…The beauty of every civilised government is to pay for the social welfare of the people.
In that regard, I would, in the same spirit expressed more than a decade ago, like to call upon the government to look very carefully at the tyranny of financial capital in the health system today. We cannot have a health system that can easily be captured by some private health institutions (heavily capitalised) whose main interest is to trade with ill health as a people’s misfortune.
On the contrary, we should invest in properly managed social protection institutions, such as NHIF and NSSF, to promote the basic needs of our citizens and not to simply deal with the consequences of inadequate access to basic needs that finally manifest themselves in ill-health among the popular masses.