Despite difficulties, Kenya a better place 2 years later


The Uhuru Kenyatta presidency that renewed the hopes and aspirations of all Kenyans when it was installed is now two years old. It has faced its fair share of challenged but continues to drive Kenya along the path of prosperity.

Anyone looking at the two years that President Uhuru Kenyatta has led this country is likely to look at the faults that have been highlighted locally and internationally. This is expected of any society especially after years of a slow economy characterized by pockets of conflicts and other calamities.

The Jubilee administration led by President Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto was voted in on the broad platform of Umoja (Unity), Uwezo (Empowerment) and Usalama (Security). The journey to this has been challenging but there are also reasons to celebrate and that’s what I will focus on.

Kenya is now middle-income economy with a GDP of USD 53.3 billion with GDP per capita at USD 1,246 and is one of the African economies that can boast a diversified and balanced economy. Recently, we learnt that we are the third fastest growing economy in the world and the largest non-mineral driven economy in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Under the Uhuru administration, Kenya has gone deep into mining and royalties have sharply increased from Sh21 million in 2012, to an expected Sh1.2 billion this financial year. Kenya is also among the three top investment destinations in Sub Saharan Africa, and the most preferred in East and Central Africa.

Since getting into power in 2013, the Jubilee administration has added 514.9 megawatts of electricity to our national grid bringing the total available supply to 2,125 megawatts. The number of Kenyans connected to electricity has in turn grown to 3,150,000 households.

This connection to electricity has also seen businesses expand across the country and thus creating more jobs especially for young people. In effect, this will translate in a better life for all Kenyans and help deal with other ills such as crime and drug abuse.

When President Kenyatta took office, he pledged that Jubilee would connect all public primary schools to electricity within two years. At the time, only 8,200 out of 21,500 schools had been connected and by last month, 18,424 schools had been connected.

On infrastructure, the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway is in progress with the government reporting that close to half of the 609 km track is excavated and ready for sleepers. On roads, the government is looking at the tarmacking of 10,000 kilometres using the new approach of annuity-financing model.

The Jubilee government has also continued to work on improving the quality of public service with the Huduma programmes being the most visible. The HUDUMA Kenya Programme has now helped the government deliver more than 35 services under one roof in twenty-three counties.

Last month, the government also launched the Integrated Population Register System which will introduce a comprehensive database of all registered persons – whether residents or foreigners. The implementation of the e-Citizen Government Services Portal has also seen progress in service provisions as Kenyans can now apply passports, IDs or driving licenses and register businesses online.

The recently launched Sh38 billion Managed Equipment Services Program is set to highly improve health services in the country. Ninety four hospitals in the 47 counties, plus the four national referral will received the necessary equipment starting in May this year.

Land has been a headache for the Kenyan government for years and the last two years has seen significant progress in land reform. There is significant progress in digitizing the process of land ownership and already Kenyans are able to conduct searches and payment of land rents online.

President Kenyatta committed to the full implementation of the Constitution and this has been seen with the government’s support for public participation and devolution. The government’s funding for counties has progressively increased from Sh190 billion to Sh226 billion in the current financial year, and projecting Sh258 billion allocated in the next financial year.

Jubilee government also came up with the Public Procurement and Disposal Act Regulation that provides access to 30 per cent of government procurement to women, youth and persons with disabilities. By the end of the current financial year, these groups that have remained marginalized for long will have provided government with goods and services amounting to Sh30 billion.

The work being done by the National Youth Service in helping transform the country cannot be taken for granted. From a service that was on its deathbed, the Jubilee government has seen the NYS transformed into an institution that is helping the community change its environment.

Collaboration between the NYS and the local community in Kibera has seen improved living standards and an improvement in the security and this is to be translated into other informal sectors.

Though insecurity has been a challenge over the last two years, there has been growing improvement and a renewed dedication by those involved in security matters. I do believe that with combined effort of all security agencies and all Kenyans, we can secure the country and ensure every Kenyan is safe.

A number of strategies including the setting up of an inter-agency coordination unit; the enhancement of security vigilance; and community sensitization have been implemented. The government has also increased the police operational fleet by 1,200 vehicles this year, bringing about a total of 2,400 vehicles made available in the last two years.

As President Uhuru Kenyatta told the nation, two weeks ago, “Our Beloved Nation is well on the path to greater heights. Through our collective effort, our democracy is growing and maturing while our fundamental rights and freedoms are entrenched and safe. The social, economic, and political gains that have been made are cemented and are now irreversible. While a lot of hard work still remains to be done we have a lot to be proud of, a lot to be grateful for.”

(The writer is a political and communications consultant. Twitter @MachelWaikenda)

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