Full speech: President Uhuru Kenyatta’s New Year message
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    Written by: Meshack Masibo

    When the young son of Jomo Kenyatta was elected into office in 2013, it was a tense season in the political climate of East Africa’s most developed country. Outgoing, bubbly and seemingly apathetic to leadership, President Kenyatta was not initially viewed as “presidential material” but the Gatundu domiciled leader has grown while in the position. Just one month ago, he turned 57 and the thoughts of his legacy seem to etch themselves deeper in the Head of State’s mind.

    Perhaps Uhuru will be remembered most as the presidential candidate who had to defend his supposed win following a contested election. He may not have been too excited about having to go for a fresh poll, seeing as many voters promised to boycott the exercise. However, Kenyans went to the polling stations, with voters in Jubilee strongholds chanting ‘Wembe Ni Ule Ule’.

    Uhuru’s victory was contested yet again after his main challenger and opposition leader Raila Odinga ordered his supporters to stay away from polling stations, which they did.  The Former Prime Minister said it is only through his withdrawal from the showdown that the country will have a credible, free and fair election as per the law.

    What struck many Kenyans was the aftermath of an otherwise highly contested presidential poll when in came the handshake. Uhuru and Raila signed a unity pact identified henceforth as ‘The Handshake’ on March 9 which created a bromance of sorts between the two leaders. The son of the country’s founding father has been hailed as an outgoing person. Photos of Uhuru hugging the elderly or sharing a moment with children are commonplace. But like any journey, Uhuru’s time at the house on the hill has not been without bumps, mountains, valleys and winding roads.

    Some of his administration’s notable legacy include the issuance of many title deeds. In the last 50 years since Independence to 2013, the state has issued 5.6 million titles. But in the period since 2013, his administration has issued 2,322,913 titles. In the education sector for the first time in Kenyan history, no parent has been asked to pay exam fees for his or her child in primary or secondary school. The budget for free primary education was KSh 8.96 billion in 2012/2013, and this has risen to KSh 14.1 billion during his tenure. Similarly, the budget for secondary school education was KSh 19.2 billion in 2012/2013 rising to KSh 32.5 billion recently. The budgetary allocation for the Higher Education Loans Board was KSh 5.5 billion in 2012/2013, and has risen to KSh 7.6 billion during President Kenyatta’s presidency.

    On matters security, the President has supervised the addition of 2400 new vehicles to the police fleet, significantly enhancing mobility of the country’s security forces. The hallmark of his presidency has undoubtedly been the creation of more than 40 Huduma Centres across the country. More than 5 million Kenyans enjoy service in these centres  who previously would have had to travel long distances to receive the same services.

    His administration has had 8,000 Schools connected to power before Jubilee. Since 2013, his administration has grown that figure to 20,450. Out of these, 750 schools are connected to solar power. Kenyans connected to power before Uhuru coming to office were 2.3 million. The number has increased to 4.1 million — that’s an additional 1.6 million Kenyans. It means that the Kenyans with access to power is now about 50% compared to 32% before 2017.

    The President has also dealt well with farmers, when he came to office, fertiliser cost 2,700. As per last year fertiliser costs KSh 1,800 greatly easening farming costs. Subsidised fertiliser has also been made available to farmers in the maize, wheat, tea, coffee and sugarcane sectors. In terms of telecommunications, the number of TV stations has risen to 55 stations this year from 14 in 2013. Radio stations up to 126 from 108. This has largely resulted from the opportunities presented by digital migration which was supervised by the Uhuru Kenyatta regime. Many jobs have been created as a result of digital migration. Mobile telephony has increased by over 20%. In this context.

    In terms of Healthcare hospitals during his tenure are getting new equipment. When he came to office, there were 40 dialysis machines existent in Kenya. But with the adminstration expansion program the government intends to have 205 more dialysis machines across Kenya. 2 years ago, incidences of malaria at out-patient facilities was 30%. Today, the government has slashed that to 10% as a result of distributing 13.6 million mosquito nets.

    President Kenyatta’s adminstration has also increased access to ARVs from 600,000 people when we came to office to 850,000 Kenyans covered today. The government’s target is to cover an additional 600,000; meaning that 90% of Kenyans living with HIV will be given treatment. Despite challenges with immunization, 85% of Kenyan children are now immunized. Making the  country above the WHO standard of 80%.

    With regard to NHIF – when President Uhuru got to office 4 million Kenyan families had insurance cover. Now, his administration has added another 1.7 million families. This translates to 26 million Kenyans that have insurance cover. Our free maternity programme has borne fruit. When his administration came to office only 44% of women gave birth in medical facilities. At present, 68% of our mothers are attending hospitals for childbirth.

    In 2013, Maternal mortality was 488 per 100,000, and has declined to 310 per 100,000 during his tenure. Likewise, the child mortality rate has declined from 72 per 1,000 to 52 per 1,000. All of these are some of the things that the President’s adminstration has achieved in the last couple of years.

    However, it’s not been a pure rosy experience, many atimes they have been some failures of his administration. An example is the runaway corruption that has plagued our nation during his tenure. The rot in the adminstration has really tainted the President’s legacy. A disregard of the rule of law by some of his cabinet secretaries has also really tainted his tenure particularly in the Miguna Miguna saga.

    His negative jabs at the Supreme Court and supra control of the national assembly has also left a bad patch in his legacy. Today, heralded as a peace maker and unifying force after the handshake deal, his legacy is still being beautified and as an authority appointed from above I pray that it continues being beautified.


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