, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 1 – President Uhuru Kenyatta will unveil his new cabinet before the end of January, he said Sunday.
In his New Year message from State House Nairobi on Sunday night, the Head of State said the new team will be tasked with the delivery of his Big Four agenda which includes food security, affordable housing, manufacturing and affordable healthcare.
“In the next few weeks, I will unveil the men and women to whom I will entrust delivery of the Big Four, and other programmes that will transform this country,” President Kenyatta hinted.
“I will expect these men and women to serve Kenyans without partiality and with the very highest standard of integrity and efficiency,” Kenyatta, who was sworn in for a second term on November 28 said adding that Cabinet Secretaries must prove worthy of the trust bestowed on them by Kenyans.
He insisted that the men and women selected to the various cabinet slots must commit to service delivery and improving the livelihood of Kenyans.
Kenyatta noted the urgency with which Kenyans yearn for development saying that leaders must like never before dedicate themselves to servicing the development needs of the nation.
“Whether you are the leader of a family or of a small community, an MCA, an MP, a Senator, a Governor or a Cabinet Secretary, your job is to serve, to work hard every single day to confirm that the choice in you as leader was the right choice,” said the President.
Pledging to lead by example, President Kenyatta assured to commit his energy and passion to tireless service to the nation.
“I will work every single day in 2018 to deliver. I urge you to include in your New Year resolutions a pledge to greet every new day with a renewed dedication to add value in your job, and to become your neighbour’s minder and protector,” he promised.
In his New Year address, the Head of State took time to highlight achievements of his government in the past five years among them the expansion of the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) coverage and acquisition of modern diagnostic equipment for county hospitals.
The rollout of free maternal care was described as a great success by President Kenyatta even as he promised to continue enhancing service delivery in health centers proving free maternal care.
Reforms in the health sector, the President said, have resulted in a healthier nation.
Kenyatta explained that improved healthcare had been identified as a key pillar upon which his government shall further propel the nation’s economy saying good health was key to a productive Kenya.
“The days of hospital costs bankrupting families will end. Healthier Kenyans will be more productive Kenyans; and our economy will benefit immensely.”
On infrastructure, President Kenyatta announced the commencement of cargo transportation on the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) on January 2.
The freight service kicks off about six months after the operationalization of the passenger train service on the newly build Mombasa-Nairobi on May 31, President Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto taking an inaugural ride from the port city to the capital at the time.
He said the delivery of the Mombasa-Nairobi SGR line within his first term was particularly important in as far as stimulating the country’s economy was concerned.
“We delivered on this promise because we knew that to attract world-class manufacturing and value-addition investments, which are critical to creating jobs, we would need world-class infrastructure,” President Kenyatta said.
The Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) has been running trials for cargo trains which will facilitate delivery of goods from Mombasa to Nairobi within eight hours.
According to KRC, the maximum cost of transporting a fully loaded 20ft container will be Sh 49,500 for the full distance between the port of Mombasa and the Nairobi Inland Container Depot (ICD) in Embakasi launched by Kenyatta on December 16.
“Agricultural inputs will so enjoy a lower rate at a minimum cost of Sh 16,500 for a minimum distance of 200 km and a maximum cost of Sh 41,250 for the full distance,” reads a publication on the KRC website.
“The minimum chargeable weight for non-containerized cargo is 70 tones while that of light down traffic such as foodstuffs, steel, animal feeds and paper is set at 43 tones per bogie wagon,” it further states.
The construction of new roads was also a key achievement highlighted by the President.
Also mentioned in the speech was the enhanced capability of the security services which President Kenyatta attributed to increased numbers of security officers and procurement of modern equipment.
Members of the National Police Service have also been provided with health insurance.
“Today, the terrorists who threaten our people and our country have a far harder time succeeding in their evil plans, thanks to our brave, empowered and supported security officers,” said Kenyatta.
“The impact of crime in the daily lives of Kenyans has dropped in response to the sharp increase in the number of police officers whose equipment is enhanced,” he pointed out.
Other highlights of the speech were improvements in the education sector as a result of the introduction of digital learning devices and connection of public schools to the national power grid.
“With the rapid growth of connections to electricity, millions of Kenyan homes are now lit up. Many of us celebrating this New Year under light bulbs celebrated the last one under candles and lamps,” Kenyatta elaborated.
“Children in these homes can now study into the night, and do better academically. The success of the last mile project for power is being studied all over the region and the world because it is one of the fastest such expansions globally,” he noted.
The President also reiterated his commitment to creating at least half a million housing units to working Kenyans in his second term.
Affordable housing, he said, will be achieved in partnership with the private sector.
Deputy President William Ruto in his New Year message acknowledged the country’s sportsmen who conquered the world in various tournaments particularly athletics.
“We pay tribute to our sportsmen and women for their exemplary performances and raising our flag high; to patriots for their selfless acts and each citizen for playing their part in making Kenya great,” he said.
Ruto called upon every Kenyan to dedicate himself to country and be mindful of the welfare of others.