KISUMU, Kenya, Jun 2 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has said economic acceleration and political stability for the benefit of all Kenyans will remain the key focus of his administration.
While citing “four frames” of the country’s liberation struggle that have informed his administration, President Kenyatta pointed out that political freedom in the absence of economic freedom is nothing but an illusion.
“Given that the founding fathers stood for economic inclusion and the administration before mine was about economic recovery; my administration has embraced the maxim of economic acceleration,” the President said.
The Head of State spoke Tuesday at Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium in Kisumu County where he led the nation in marking the 58th Madaraka Day.
The President said his administration has accelerated the attainment of the country’s development goals at national, county, and individual levels.
At the national level, the President said in only 8 years his administration had grown the Kenyan economy more than double the size left behind by the British colonizers at independence.
“Our national cake or our annual worth as a country every year is now at Ksh 10.3 Trillion. Even if you factor in inflation, our economic acceleration programme has multiplied what the Founding Fathers left in our custody,” the President said.
He noted that by the time the colonizers were leaving the country in 1963, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was close to Ksh 6.4 billion after 74 years of colonial occupation while the combined administrations of Mzee Kenyatta, Mzee Moi and Mzee Kibaki increased this national cake to Ksh 4.5 trillion in a span of 50 years.
At the county level, the President said the Government had allocated Ksh 2.3 trillion to counties which is equivalent to about 16% of the country’s current GDP.
“The BBI dream is to send even more resources to the counties to catalyze their accelerated development. That is why we have proposed under the BBI to send 35% of our national revenue to counties,” the President said.
At the individual level, President Kenyatta said the economic acceleration initiative has focused on the allocation of title deeds, noting that his administration had issued a record 5.1 million title deeds in 7 years compared to 6 million title deeds issued by past administrations in 50 years.
“On a pro rata basis, this is seven times what previous administrations had done combined. The title deed is what our founding fathers fought for when they made land ownership a central plank of our independence struggle. And by accelerating land adjudication and settlement, my intention is to give security of tenure to as many Kenyans as possible,” he said.
Thr President said the second frame of his efforts to improve the lives of Kenyans is through investment in critical infrastructure projects, which he termed “the Big Push Investments” as the foundation of economic take-off.
“…our brick-and-mortar investments on roads, rail and ports are not the dream. The dream is what these “Big Push Investments” will do for Kenya; and how they will transform our standing in the society of nations,” the President said.
He singled out construction of Lamu Port, revival of 566 Kilometres of the Metre Guage Railway, rehabilitation of the Port of Kisumu and the reconditioning of the MV Uhuru vessel as some of the “Big Push Investments” that will transform the lives of Kenyans.
The President also spoke on the restoration of dignity as the third frame that his administration has focused on order to create an enabling environment where every Kenyan will have access to essential goods and services.
“The dignity we seek to restore through sustainable livelihoods will give every Kenyan an opportunity to participate in economic development,” President Kenyatta said.
The President said political stability was his administration’s fourth frame, saying “for us to secure what we have achieved in 58 years, we must not make politics the heat and light of our national existence”.
“Instead, we must endeavour to pursue political stabilization by any means necessary. I say so because stability is the life-blood of our republic. What we have built for 58 years, can be destroyed in one day of political instability”.
He urged Kenyans to train their eyes on the long-term national good instead of short-term gains, and announced that Kisumu City will host the Africities Summit in April next year.
Burundi President Évariste Ndayishimiye, who was the Guest of Honour at the celebrations, expressed gratitude to President Kenyatta and the people of Kenya for according him the honour of gracing this year’s Madaraka Day fete.
“We are happy to share with the Kenyan people, this joy of Madaraka Day. The Government of Burundi fully appreciates the state of cooperation between the two countries,” the Burundi leader said.
Deputy President Dr William Ruto commended President Kenyatta for initiating development projects throughout the country noting that the firm democratic foundation laid by the founding fathers has continued to be the pillar of a strong cohesive society.
“Mr President, I laud your two day launch of various projects in this region, it shows the government that works and delivers is good for everybody and brings the country together.
“It shows that it is possible to develop Kenya equally and bring onboard everybody despite who voted for who. Your administration shows it is possible to develop Kenya, your success shows in infrastructure development,” Dr Ruto said.
He pointed out that the rule of law is the key to the socio-economic progress for all noting that there’s need for Kenyans to continue adhering to democratic tenets.
Former Prime Minister and ODM leader Raila Odinga said the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) is aimed at uniting Kenyans and to provide permanent solutions to the country’s socio-economic challenges.
“Kenya is facing challenges because of Covid-19 pandemic. We need to come up with a stimulus programme to revive our economy. The handshake has given us an opportunity to bring Kenyans together and enhance development across the country,” the former PM saidm
South African Minister for Human Settlement, Lindiwe Sisulu, who also graced the occasion said her country admires the way Kenyan leaders continue to work together for the benefit of their fellow countrymen.
“We celebrate with you the road Kenya has travelled, we have marvelled at the relationship between Raila Odinga and President Kenyatta, and will take home the message of what is possible when leaders like yourself work together,” she said.
Kisumu Governor Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o also spoke at the event attended by First Lady Margaret Kenyatta and her Burundi counterpart Angeline Ndayubaha Ndayishimiye among other dignitaries.