We’ve built foundations for prosperity: Now, let’s finish the job

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On Tuesday, almost 20 million Kenyans will have the opportunity to vote in the General Election.

That is the highest number of voters to ever take part in the democratic process in our nation’s history. And as you enter your local polling station to cast your vote alongside millions of our brothers and sisters, you will also be accompanied by the weight of Kenya’s destiny on your shoulders.

You will not only be casting a vote for our country’s next leader, but you will be making a crucial choice about our country’s future, our national security, our prosperity and our place in the world, for decades to come.

As you make that choice, I ask you to consider the foundations for prosperity we have built together over the last four years.

We have abolished maternity fees and granted Kenyans free access to health centres. Kenyan mothers deserve the best possible care as they bring their children into the world and we have worked tirelessly to provide that.

We have built the foundations for a thriving economy and created over 2.4 million jobs by investing in roads, rail, infrastructure and a broad based, inclusive and modern economy.

We have recruited 16,000 extra teachers, built 161 new Technical Training Institutes and enhanced the integrity of our education system by stamping out bribery and corruption in the exam system. By distributing over 900,000 digital devices to our children in the classroom, we are also preparing our children for the workplace of tomorrow.

And we have invested in modern farming techniques to lower prices and provide food security for the future, including creating an extra 100,000 acres of irrigated farmland and building over 700 new dam projects to safeguard against drought.

We provided over 500,000 tonnes of subsidized fertilizer and invested in transport and trade routes to cut costs for farmers and businesses as they move goods and produce to market, in order to lower prices for Kenyan families.

Together, we have all worked hard to build the foundations for a wealthy, modern nation where all Kenyans can share in peace and prosperity. But too many Kenyans are still struggling and there is much more work to be done.

Many of our youth who study and work hard can’t find jobs, high food prices still leave many families hungry, and our manufacturing sector has not yet delivered enough new jobs and higher wages. I am determined to finish the job we started to improve the lives of every one of our brothers and sisters.

That is why my Action Plan for the next five years will transform the progress we have made into real benefits felt by all Kenyans.

Over the next five years, we will create 6.5 million new quality jobs, especially for the youth. We will continue to invest in infrastructure, education and training, small enterprises and a 21st Century high-tech economy that will drive prosperity and job creation for all.

We will achieve this by establishing at least one job-creating industry in every county; empowering our youth to take advantage of online job opportunities using the Ajira Digital Programme, creating over 1 million online jobs in the next five years; creating an additional 110,000 jobs in the agricultural sector by doubling exports abroad, reviving our cotton sector to create over 100,000 jobs, reviving the Kenya National Shipping Line to create at least 50,000 quality jobs and building fishing ports in Shimoni, Mombasa, Kilifi and Lamu to create 12,000 jobs.

And my Action Plan means taking immediate action to reduce the cost of living, cutting the cost of food, energy and transport.

We will support farmers and businesses by constructing 57 large-scale dams to improve irrigation and prevent future drought; by doubling the farm fertilizer subsidy and expanding the programme to include all crops to increase production and lower prices.

We will build at least one ‘Farmers Market’ in every county to allow farmers to sell directly to customers to lower prices by removing the middleman; and we will invest in improving food storage and expanding the Strategic Food Reserve Programme to include other food such as sorghum, millet, beans, peas, milk powder and canned beef.

The foundations for prosperity are now built. Now I must ask all Kenyans to allow me to finish the job,

And the choice at this election could not be more important. Kenyans must now choose whether we build on the foundations we have built over the last 4 years, to secure a prosperity that every Kenyan can share, or whether we put all that progress at risk to play politics with Kenya’s future.

I am urging every one of my fellow Kenyans to choose progress for the future, over the politics of the past; peace and prosperity over division and inertia; my Action Plan to deliver more jobs and a lower cost of living, over no credible plans at all.

Because we must all remember this. No plan means no progress, and no progress means no new jobs and a higher cost of living, risking all the advancement of the last 4 years.

Together, we will unlock Kenya’s immense potential as we ensure that nobody is left behind. We will secure a peace and prosperity that we can all share and enjoy. Better days lie ahead for all Kenyans.

This is my Plan. This is my Promise. Let’s finish the job.

(Uhuru Kenyatta is President, Republic of Kenya and Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces)

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