President Uhuru Kenyatta delivered his much awaited State of the Nation address at Parliament on Thursday, speaking strongly on matters including the war on graft, the Big Four agenda and the need for leaders to work together for the sake of national unity and development.
The President vowed to carry on with the war on corruption, reiterating that it is just and is aimed at protecting the resources the country needs to grow.
“[There will be] no turning back in the war against corruption as it is a just war, a war to prevent misuse of public resources for selfish interests by those we have entrusted to manage them,” he said.
The Big Four agenda is a major part of the good legacy that President Kenyatta intends to leave when his second and final terms ends in 2022.
It concerns Universal Health Coverage, affordable housing, food security and manufacturing.
Mr Kenyatta said he will not slow down in the achievement of these goals as well as those under the Building Bridges Initiative, which was one of the key results of his handshake with Orange Democratic Movement Leader Raila Odinga on march 9, 2018.
The following are the other key points from the President’s address:
- We are not turning back [in the war on corruption] because we are determined to gift our children a better Kenya than the one we inherited, a prosperous Kenya where respect for the rule of law and integrity are the accepted norms.
- If you love your country, you should reject corruption, and all those who steal the sweat of your countrymen. This is one war I am certain we will win. I must, however, caution that the pursuit of the corrupt will be undertaken strictly within the remits of the law – and not through vigilante justice and pitchfork protest.
- Devolution has received the full and firm support of my administration, and together with an enabling and supportive Parliament, we have seen it transform lives, revive local economies, and bring service delivery closer to the People. There is no turning back on devolution. The system is sound and has proven its value and contribution to national development.
- Kenya’s economy is strong and is expected to grow by 6.3 per cent in 2019 with improvements in the execution of the Big Four.
- To facilitate implementation of the Big Four, I urge Parliament to fast-track the mediation of the Land Value Index Laws (Amendment) Bill , the Physical Planning Bill, the Irrigation Bill, the Warehouse Receipt System Bill and the Kenya Roads Bill.
- Our focus is on socio-economic interventions in critical sectors that we believe will enhance the quality of life for all Kenyans, in ways that are tangible and measurable. In manufacturing, my administration is prioritising local motor vehicle assembly and manufacturing of spare parts. This initiative has witnessed Peugeot and Volkswagen assembly lines set up in Kenya.
- Our programme on Universal Health Coverage is expected to ensure a healthier nation as the basis for social and economic development. In this regard, we have successfully rolled-out the pilot phase of the programme in the counties of Isiolo, Machakos, Nyeri and Kisumu. The programme has witnessed enhanced access to essential health services, with an average increase of 39 per cent reported in the pilot counties. We are on course for the full roll-out of the universal health coverage in the year 2019/20 in the remaining 43 counties.
- Agriculture is the largest employer in the economy, accounting for 60 per cent of total employment. In recognition of its central role, my administration earmarked the sector as a key pillar of the Big Four, as we seek to ensure food security and nutrition for all Kenyans. To address the perennial challenges in the sugar and maize sub-sectors, my administration commits to decisively act on the recommendations of the two sectoral taskforces that are slated to report their findings later on this month.
- To realise the vision of the Affordable Housing Programme, we have promulgated the Affordable Housing Development Framework Guidelines, providing the enabling policy and financing for the roll out of this transformative Programme.
We are now on track to deliver affordable housing to Kenyans. This life changing programme is being undertaken in partnership with county governments and the private sector. Kenyans have shown that they are ready for this despite court cases and initial delays. Over 175,000 Kenyans have already registered under the voluntary scheme known as “Boma Yangu”. These Kenyans will undoubtedly be first in line for the allocation of houses.
- My administration has prioritised reforms in the coffee sub-sector and implemented numerous interventions emanating from the recommendations of the Coffee Taskforce. These include the ambitious rehabilitation of 500 pulping stations (factories) in 31 coffee-growing Counties. With a view to comprehensively resolve the problem of undue delays in the payment cycle, we have set up a Sh3 billion Cherry Advance Revolving Fund to be operational from July 1, 2019. Consequently, all coffee farmers across the country will be able to access the cherry advance at a modest interest rate of three per cent
- We are not turning back on uniting the country. We have chosen the hard road of building unity and cohesion against the easy road of division. We are a greater people for it.
- The Building Bridges Initiative is engaging Kenyans across the entire country and soon we will have the opportunity to comment on its findings and recommendations. Against this background, I reaffirm a commitment previously made to this House of designating Sh10 billion to heal the wounds of historical grievance which have long poisoned by our politics and strained communal relations. With Parliament’s help, and through the affected communities, we will be applying the fund towards establishing symbols of hope across the country through the construction of heritage sites and community information centers.
- To provide reliable and cost-effective electricity that meets current and future demand, we have put in place measures to accelerate the development of the entire power generation, electricity transmission and supply infrastructure. This will also support the realization of universal access to electricity by the year 2022. I am happy to report that installed capacity has increased from 1,768 MW in March, 2013 to the current 2,712 MW, with Lake Turkana Wind, Ngong Wind and Garissa Solar Power Plants joining the grid within the last year.
- In line with the spirit of Pan Africanism, I wish to extend our gratitude to the African Union for appointing one of our own to spearhead infrastructural connectivity across the Continent. This is key to actualising the shared prosperity of the African people through promoting trade between our brothers and sisters and further strengthening our bond of unity in the great continent. We are not turning back on our quest to unite East Africa and Africa.
- Kenya is a country that believes in giving second chances to those who are genuinely seeking to return to a path of legal conduct and to embrace our constitutional value. In this regard, we are undertaking initiatives to disengage; rehabilitate and reintegrate returnees who had been members of listed terrorist groups.
- We will continue to press the war against terrorist groups and networks, and their facilitators. Key to this is continuing to strengthen our legal tools against these groups so that they are unable to take advantage of our democracy and open society, to hide in plain sight while planning to perpetrate their crimes against humanity.