Uhuru assures Kenyan workers of support as pandemic continues

President Uhuru Kenyatta has assured workers in the country of support as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be the biggest challenge to the economy.

The President who led Kenyans in celebrating this year’s Labour Day at State House, Nairobi said his administration has rolled out both fiscal and monetary policy measures to help cushion workers from the adverse effects of the pandemic.

” Businesses have closed down abruptly, working hours have reduced and opportunities have been lost.  Sadly, result is job losses for our people; and I feel the loss. The hardest hit, in our economy are workers in the informal sector, the self-employed and casual labourers.  Majority of these are young people who may not have any savings to cushion themselves from this pandemic. In sum, we cannot relax in our efforts to conquer this invisible enemy and to put our economy on a strong growth path. Because, if we do not, we could lose upwards of half a million jobs over the next 6 months.  We must do whatever it takes to minimize, if not to fully contain such loss in jobs.” He said.

The Head of State said he had already announced the accelerated disbursement to the elderly and the vulnerable people from the Social Safety Net Fund. The President assured Kenyans that the government will continue to improve on measures to protect them against the disease.

” I have also announced the direct weekly cash stipends to thousands of vulnerable households in informal settlements and fragile rural areas.” He added.

The President also said he will be convening a stakeholders meeting to deliberate on how to revive the economy post COVID-19 pandemic. He called on all leaders to support the government efforts to defeat the Coronavirus epidemic.

The Industry works because of the worker. Without the worker it is nothing but dead capital. If the worker becomes the industry, economic growth is assured.  And this is the opportunity that the Corona virus is placing before us. It is inviting us to think differently and change our lot if we focus on the opportunity and not the danger.  If we are 47 Million Strong, the labour movement must claim their space.  Not as trend followers, but as trend-setters.  And they must use this moment, as they did in our history, to organize themselves for the renewal of our economy. “

He praised the labour movement in Kenya saying it has done well under the leadership of COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli.

However, he appealed to the labor movement to set the pace and reclaim their space by organizing themselves for the renewal of the economy.

” Let me recognize the steady leadership of the labour movement under Comrade Francis Atwoli.He has done well in steering our relationship as workers, unions and government and the unions.  And you have been instrumental in defining who the true friends of the workers are. Mine is to assure you and all Kenyans that the government is owned by the workers.  Without the workers, government has no shareholders.  And that is why today I am happy to be a worker amongst you.”

President Kenyatta appealed to the media to be patriotic and set the agenda towards the revival of the economy post the pandemic.

To survive in this pandemic, we must look inwards.  We must protect what makes Kenya Kenyan.  And as media dominates our living rooms and mobile phones, I appeal to them to think only of our country.  Play Kenyan history, Kenyan music, Kenyan soap operas, Kenyan news and Kenyan everything. If media plays Kenyan content, Kenyan content will build media after Corona.  We have a peculiar opportunity to promote our film makers, and artists during this time of confinement.  Let us use it to create a Kenyan culture of nationalism.”

Meanwhile, President Uhuru Kenyatta has warned against politicizing the fight against coronavirus. President Kenyatta said all the money spent during this time shall be audited in broad day light so that Kenyans know what the money did.

The Head of State was responding to an uproar on social media on how the money was being used.

A document tabled before the Health Committee of the National Assembly chaired by Murang’a Woman Representative Sabina Chege indicates the ministry used 42 million shillings to lease 15 ambulances. But speaking at State House Friday, Kenyatta said these kind of talk should come to an end.



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