By PSCU/Beth Nyaga
President Uhuru Kenyatta Wednesday asked Kenyans to vote for him for a second time as he described how Kenya has made leaps in development during his first term.
The President, during his fourth State of the Nation Address to a joint sitting of parliament, said his administration has kept its promise to develop Kenya by establishing a strong foundation for rapid growth and shared prosperity.
He said the country is on the road to industrialisation, and he promised to ensure to enact more measures to guarantee a safe and prosperous nation for decades to come.
President Kenyatta said he tirelessly worked every single day for a prosperous Kenya that resonates with the dreams of the founding fathers.
“I have worked every day of my first term to put us in position to make this leap. The Kenyan people have driven this process every step of the way.”
He said the Jubilee Government represents the collective vision of Kenyans for transformation, rooted in the daily need for good jobs and rising incomes
“I urge all Kenyans to join me in delivering another term of people-focused governance, boldness of vision and hard work as we rise even higher,” said the President.
Free and fair elections
Even as he urged Kenyans to rally behind him for a second term, President Kenyatta promised that his Administration will ensure free and fair elections.
He said elections are nothing new to Kenyans since the country has been an icon of democracy, a bastion of freedoms and a haven where freedom of expression has flourished.
The President called on Kenyans to uphold the peace and to remain united as the country approaches the polls.
“Elections are a one-time event but Kenya is larger than all of us and we shall, and must remain. Those seeking political office must desist from any utterances that may divide Kenyans along ethnic, religious or other lines,” said the President.
Kenyans should proudly remain united and not dishonour the achievement of those who won freedoms for the country, the President said.
“Go and vote, and then let us return to building the house we have inherited from our fathers,” said the President.
The President said his administration has been able to put Kenya on the trajectory of rising prosperity and resilient economy.
He said he campaigned on a ticket of transformation because he knew that it was not enough to continue at the pace the country has been on for the past 50 years.
The President said revival of industries like Pan Paper Mills in Webuye, Rift Valley Textiles Company in Eldoret , the re-establishment of new motor vehicle assembly lines by Volkswagen, Peugeot and Toyota demonstrate that country is on the way to accelerated growth.
“I believe that history will remember this period as the turning point when Kenya became a leading investment destination in the world, and the newest entrant into large-scale manufacturing,” said the President.
He said his Administration has established a firm foundation which can now be used as a spring board to accelerate economic growth and provide jobs for our youth.
He said, at the macro level, all indicators of Kenya’s economy are healthy.
“Our gross domestic product has expanded at strong average annual growth rate of 5.9 percent since 2013 this against a global average of 3 percent,” said the President.
The President said Kenya’s Foreign Exchange reserves have increased from 4.3 months of import cover in 2013 to 5.1 months of cover at the start of 2017.
He said the revenue from tax collections have increased from 847 billion shillings in 2013 to 1.2 trillion shillings at the end of 2016.
The stable economic environment over the last 4 years has seen the cumulative addition of 2.3 million new jobs. From this perspective, the state of our economy is robust, said the President.
But he acknowledged that ordinary Kenyans still faced daily struggle, with difficulty in finding jobs or making ends meet. These were matters that concerned him, and he was committed to resolving, he said.
Companies set up shop
He said that his Administration was also proud of the fact that an unprecedented number of companies have set up shop in Kenyan since 2013.
“Since 2013, over 1532 major companies from across the globe have set up shop here in Kenya, from VW in Thika to Wrigleys who have invested more than 6 Billion shillings in Machakos and are set to open in May of this year and GZI who have invested over 12 Billion shillings in an aluminium can manufacturing plant at Sultan Hamud,” said the President
Kenya’s international profile
The Head of State also asserted that Kenya’s international profile has been on the rise with the leaders of the world’s most prosperous and powerful countries having come to visit the country.
“They came to witness a country on the rise, and to engage with an administration that they believe shares in their vision for a stable and prospering global community,” said the President.
He cited examples of how collaboration with leading nations of the globe is contributing to Kenya’s growth.
“From India, we have secured equipment and the expertise to establish a new cancer centre at Kenyatta Hospital,” said the President, adding that India has also provided a market for produce from Embu, Kitui, Mwingi, Makueni and Tharaka.
The President said Kenya has also strengthened its security and development relations with the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Japan and Jordan.
“China has been a key partner in the transformation of our infrastructure. Significantly, the SGR has been completed in record time,” said the President.
The President also said his focus on regional integration had seen accelerated development in the last four years, with initiatives within the East African Community (EAC) and the Northern Corridor progressing apace.