Kenyan politician pledges loans for newlyweds

A presidential aspirant in Kenya has promised loans of between $4,400 (£3,300) and $8,800 to all newlyweds should he be elected to the top seat in next year’s general elections.

Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua, who was launching his presidential manifesto on Sunday, said the low-interest loan payable within 20 years will help families “start life with dignity”.

“What is the effect of all this? Dignity for all of us, improvement of the living standards and quality of homes countrywide and no more mud houses,” said Mr Mutua.

He also said his government would encourage tree-planting to be counted as part of dowry payment.

“When you are going to pay dowry, you should say how many trees you’ve planted,” Mr Mutua said during the launch that was broadcast live on local television stations.

But this promise has drawn sharp criticism and ridicule from Kenyans online.

Nearly a dozen politicians have already begun campaigns to succeed incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is on the last months of his 10 years in office.

They include veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga and current Deputy President William Ruto, who are seen as the main contenders in the August 2022 polls.

The economy, youth joblessness and fighting corruption have emerged as key issues in the agendas of those seeking the presidency, but past elections have shown that Kenyans largely vote along ethnic tribes or coalitions rather than policy issues.

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