BY JIBRIL ADAN(PSCU)
NAIROBI, 27 Mar 2014 (PSCU) -President Uhuru Kenyatta today gave his first State of the Nation address at Parliament in which he outlined the progress made by the Jubilee Government since it came to office in April last year.
The speech delivered at the Chambers of the National Assembly was aired live by all local televisions and was keenly followed by millions of Kenyans.
The State of the Nation address is a requirement of Article 132 which requires that the Head of State addresses Parliament once a year to inform the nation of progress made in realization of national values and principles of governance, the country’s international obligations and in national security.
The Head of State spoke at length on how the Jubilee Government has been focused in fully implementing devolution.
“My government has kept faith with our people’s momentous choice by establishing a fully-fledged two-tier state: 47 counties that complement the national administration. All are now operational, disproving the doubts of the faint-hearted” said the President.
Devolution has placed huge budgetary burdens on the country but President Kenyatta said the Jubilee Government has more than met the need.
“While the Constitution allows the county-level governments a minimum of 15% of the total national tax revenue, we chose to allocate them more than double the requirement, at 32%” he said.
He also pointed out to that while the Constitution allowed the process of transfer of powers to counties to proceed over three years, the Jubilee Government has already completed the process.
“As a sign of my government’s commitment to devolution, we have passed on nearly all the county functions, and the resources to support them” he said.
The President cautioned those tasked with leadership not to betray the trust and aspirations of citizens.
Warning against introducing old habits like corruption into the counties would betray the great hope of the Constitution and its tenets of leadership and integrity. Such a betrayal must not happen under my watch” he said.
On security and the threat of terror in the country, the President said the Government had stepped up measures to secure our nation without “threatening the bonds of brotherhood that hold between our different faiths.”
The Head of State said that even under extreme provocation, Kenya has ensured that unity is preserved.
The Government was in the process of increasing the number of policemen in the country by moving the ratio of policemen to citizens from 1 for 750 to 1 for every 535 citizens. The Government has invested heavily in surveillance, and has already purchased 1,200 police vehicles.
President Kenyatta also pointed out that the Jubilee Government has embarked on the most ambitious energy programmes in the history of Kenya.
5000MW of power, bringing electricity at affordable rates to 80% of the nation’s households, will become available within the next three years. When Olkaria comes on stream in the next couple of months, the energy revolution will truly be underway.
The President also cited the ambitious programme to put one million acres under irrigation. The project has begun with a pilot project of 10,000 acres in the Galana Kulalu Scheme.
In listing the achievements of the Jubilee Government, President Kenyatta also talked about the large-scale infrastructure projects that are underway.
“My administration aims to make Kenya the transport and logistics hub for the region” said the President.
The President also spoke about the free maternal health care started by the Government. Trained medical staff now attends to 66 per cent of births up from 44 per cent a year ago.
The President also cited the much appreciated social safety-net programme where Government gives cash to the vulnerable members of society such as orphans, those with server disabilities, the elderly and the urban poor. 500, 000 people will soon be benefitting from the social safety-net programme.
The President also said that resettlement of internally displaced persons was a major priority for the Jubilee Government. A total of KShs 3.3 billion has already been used to resettle 777 IDP families and the programmes continues, the President said.
The President arrived at Parliament Building a few minutes after 2.30pm. He was received by Deputy President William Ruto and Chief of Defence Forces Julius Karanga before inspecting a guard of honour mounted by a detachment of Kenya Airforce.
Today’s special sitting of Parliament was attended by both Senators and Members of National Assembly and was presided over by speakers of both houses Ekwee Ethuro and Justin Muturi.