President Kenyatta has listed an expanded economy, improved healthcare, expanded road network and political stability as some of his legacy achievements since 2013, casting his administration as a major success in his State of the Nation address to Parliament.
The President gave a detailed account of the Jubilee government’s achievements in a speech that spanned over two hours, even as critics pointed out his failure to address pressing national issues such as biting poverty and joblessness, rampant corruption and a ballooning public debt.
President Kenyatta said his administration had achieved “more than any previous administration” through policy choices that have enabled development through aggressively implemented projects.
In the address delivered to a joint sitting of Parliament, the President regretted the failed attempt to amend the Constitution through the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), terming it a blot on his administration.
“When my administration took office in April 2013, we were eager to multiply what was bequeathed to us. And I am happy to report to this August House that we have multiplied our critical fundamentals in ways we did not imagine possible,” the President said in an address that sounded more like a farewell speech, even though he is due to make his final State of the Nation report mid next year before expiry of his term in August.
He recounted that in 2013, Kenya was Africa’s 12th wealthiest nation with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Sh4.74 Trillion.
This GDP was accumulated in more than a century through the four administrations before Jubilee—Jomo Kenyatta, Daniel arap Moi, Mwai Kibaki and the Colonial governments.
The GDP has more than doubled to Sh11 trillion in the past eight years of his administration, improving Kenya’s ranking to the sixth wealthiest nation on the continent.
The President singled out the 10.1 per cent GDP expansion in the second quarter of 2021 as a historic expansion rate of the economy.
Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro said the president’s speech was far from reality: “The president reported about economic growth, but Kenyans cannot see,” he said.
President Uhuru added on his list of achievements the national road network that has expanded by 10,500 kilometres in the past eight years, nearly matching the mileage of 11,200 kilometres of tarmacked roads built by all his predecessors.
Citing the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) as Kenya’s largest infrastructure project in a century, the President said it marked a transformative moment for Kenya and for Africa.
The President said travel to Mombasa has been redefined since the completion of the new railway line and that Madaraka Express has served nearly 6.5 million passengers; while a record 17.6 million tons of Cargo have been transported from January 2018 to November 29, 2021.
Kenya’s total power capacity was 1,300 megawatts in 2013, but this has now doubled to 2,600 megawatts, translating to an average 325 megawatts installed every year under in the past eight years.
The President also told MPs that under his administration, Kenya had connected more homes to power than any other country in Africa, in just eight years.
“Kenya is the leading country in Africa with respect to household connections to electricity, Egypt is the second. Yet in the 8 years of my Administration, we have connected 1.7 million more households than Egypt. Similarly, we have connected as many households as South Africa and Nigeria in this period.”
In real terms, only 2.3 million households had been connected to power by 2013 but this has now tripled to 6.3 million households.
Kenya has been connecting approximately 787,500 households every year or an average of 2,000 connections a day since 2013.
He said his administration had increased the equitable share allocation to county governments from the constitutionally mandated 15 per cent to 32 per cent in support of the execution of what he described as the “devolved dream.”
The national government has disbursed approximately Sh2.44 trillion to county governments over the past eight years.
He also pointed out advantages of the upcoming Sh63 billion Nairobi Expressway. Once complete next February, it will take 24 minutes to drive from Mlolongo in Machakos County to Rironi in Kiambu County.
He also talked of plans to build a dual carriageway from Rironi, where the Nairobi Express Way ends, to Mau Summit, both at an advanced stage. Once this is completed, it will take just 45 minutes to drive from Nairobi to Naivasha.
“Across the Republic, in every region, we’re converting dusty murram roads to world-class roads. Our dream is to create an efficient road network that links towns and cities, ports and stations, and markets to consumers.”
The President also defended his decision to deploy Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) personnel to undertake civilian tasks, saying, the decision was because of their unity of command, military efficiency, and reasonable pricing.
He recounted the example of the KDF’s takeover of the Kenya Meat Commission (KMC), which has seen it turned around and now takes just 72 hours to pay farmers for their supplies, when previously, they were paid after four years.
KDF in partnership with the Kenya Railways Corporation, has revamped the 217-kilometre Nairobi-Kisumu railway that has been idle for the past two decades. Today it boasts of 18 stations, 46 bridges, and 27 viaducts.