President Uhuru's 2-hour, 260-page, 16,000-word State of the Nation speech
Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday made what is presumably his last State of the Nation
address before a joint sitting of the Senate and the National Assembly at
Parliament buildings in Nairobi.
The President used the platform to underscore major strides that his administration has been able to achieve over the years while also laying down the groundwork for his development legacy after he leaves office next year.
Kenyatta specifically identified the country’s economic development, the state of social culture and the state of Kenya's nationhood as elements that are important in the development of our country.
In matters economic development, for instance, the President highlighted how the Covid-19 pandemic put his administration between a rock and a hard place. On one side, economists argued that a lockdown would cripple Kenya’s economy but on the other side medical practitioners insisted that a lockdown would prevent massive COVID infections.
After keenly contemplating the two options, Kenyatta decided to enforce a mandatory lockdown in the country citing that an economy could be recovered but the lives of Kenyans would not. His decision coupled with government incentives, the President says, gradually led to 0.3 percent growth in the first quarter of the year.
“During the second quarter of 2021, real GDP recorded a phenomenal 10.1% growth. This is the highest growth ever recorded in a one quarter in Kenya’s history. It is also the first time Kenya has hit a double-digit growth,” President Kenyatta said.
The Head of State also highlighted how his administration has accelerated the turnaround of SMEs by implementing reforms such as the full automation of business-registration services; re-engineering of the application for power; water and sewer connection; and automation of the land registration processes and improved the country’s business climate in the process.
In matters of social
culture and development, the President revealed that because of his government’s
efforts about 38% of Kenya’s population will be categorised as school going by
“This means that 2 out of every 5 Kenyans. And in order to meet the ever-growing demands of the global landscape, we must prepare the next generations now. Today, Not Tomorrow,” the Head of State said.
Midway through his speech, the President could be heard lamenting about how long his address had taken citing that he was trying to shorten it down much to the acknowledgement of the legislators and other leaders gathered in the House.
“Najaribu kukatakata jameni. Ata mimi nimechoka,” President Kenyatta said as he took a breather before continuing on with his address.
The President continued on to say that his government had also prioritized affordable Universal Healthcare for Kenyans during his tenure, a move that has been commended by the International community. Realising the Affordable housing agenda, the president insists, was also factored in during his two terms in office.
“To institutionalize the Affordable Housing Programme into posterity and in partnership with our development partners, we established the Kenya Mortgage Refinance Company. This provides long-term large-scale funding to Banks and Saccos, which in turn avail those funds to homebuyers at fixed and affordable interest rates below 10%,” he said.
“Therefore, the dream of owning a home is today a greater possibility to many more of our fellow citizens than it was four years ago.”
President Kenyatta also lauded the handshake between himself and ODM leader for the role it played in securing economic acceleration.
“My Administration has secured an impressive economic acceleration, including doubling our GDP from Ksh. 4.74 Trillion to Ksh.11 Trillion,” Kenyatta said.
"We have also made Big Push Investments that have spurred development, revived dead capital, boosted entrepreneurship and restored dignity to our people through water and sanitation, healthcare, education, and security reforms."