By PSCU/Beth Nyaga
The Jubilee Government has fulfilled the promises it made to the people of Kenya, President Uhuru Kenyatta said as he highlighted the progress the country has made in the last four years.
He said the pledge to build a new railway from Mombasa to Malaba through Kisumu has been delivered with the first phase from Mombasa to Nairobi set for completion by June.
On roads, the President said the promise to undertake the most aggressive road construction program ever seen in Kenya has been kept, with 1,950 kilometres of new roads completed and another 7000 kilometres under different phases of construction.
Key among these roads are the 51 kilometre Bamba – Mariakani road in Kilifi county that is immortalized by the Giriama Song ‘Safari ya Bamba ni Machero’, the Mwatate-Taveta road in Taita Taveta and the Isiolo-Moyale road that residents had waited for many years.
In Parliament, President Kenyatta sent MPs into fits of laughter when he said the song should now be recomposed to “Safari ya Bamba ni Rero’.
The President was speaking when he addressed a joint sitting of Parliament to deliver his 4th State of the Nation Address.
In line with the Jubilee’s promise on fibre optic technology to ease access to information, President Kenyatta said today every county headquarters is connected to fibre while 50 percent of all sub-county headquarters are also connected.
On electricity, the President said his Administration has connected an additional 3.7 million new homes to electricity, which is more than double the total number of connections made since independence.
“In 2013, we promised to connect electricity to all public primary schools by 2017. Today, having connected an additional 14,045 schools representing over 98 percent of all public primary schools in the country,” President Kenyatta said.
In the health sector, the President said 92 hospitals have been upgraded across all counties and have been equipped with modern diagnostic equipment.
“In 2013, we guaranteed the provision of free primary healthcare for expectant mothers. Today, we have doubled the numbers of expectant mothers delivering under the care of skilled medical attendants to over 1.2 million by the end of 2016,” the President said.
Citing the successful implementation of devolution as one of the pledges fulfilled, President Kenyatta said his Administration has gone beyond the Constitutional requirement by increasing the percentage of shareable revenues from 15 to 34 percent.
“My administration’s championing of Devolution goes beyond the legal processes of implementation. By making the timely transfer of funds, far above the constitutional threshold, and our smooth implementation of the transfer of functions, a welcome economic dynamism has emerged in the counties,” President Kenyatta said.
He added: “This has been a historic undertaking that has few peers anywhere in the world. One of my proudest achievements as President has been to chaperone the implementation of a devolved system of government.”
The President – who was speaking from Parliament buildings where he delivered his State of the Nation address – said his Administration has also supplemented the development agenda of County governments through conditional grants in areas such as health and water.
“To manage what has been a complex transformation, my administration has engaged at the highest level through the Intergovernmental Budget and Economic Council chaired by the Deputy President,” the President said.
He said the support for devolution has seen a partnership between the national and county governments that has led to the implementation of projects that have a real and positive impact on county residents.
He cited projects like the first ever tarmac roads in Wajir and the installation of modern medical equipment like dialysis and X-Ray at county hospitals that were previously unheard of at grassroots levels.
“Our joint effort with the County Government of Turkana has led to the successful implementation of a government-driven livestock insurance and compensation program. A first in Kenyan and African history,” President Kenyatta pointed out.
On Security, President Kenyatta said the Government has built a well-coordinated multi-agency approach to ensure public safety and security.
President Kenyatta pointed out that under his Administration, there has been heavy investment in better equipment, training and working tools as well as an increase in the numbers of police officers.
“In the Jubilee Manifesto, we promised to push the ratio of police officers below one officer for every 800 citizens. Today, I am pleased to report that we have kept our promise. Our ratio of police to the population is one officer for 380 citizens, better than the prescribed UN ratio of one officer for every 450 citizens,” he said.
He said the Government’s counter terrorism effort has also delivered a sharp reduction in the number of fatalities, attacks and attempts by terrorist entities.
“Our National Strategy to Counter Violent Extremism is bearing fruit. This strategy is addressing radicalization by combining the efforts of diverse actors including the state, civil society, the private sector, and religious organizations to protect our democracy,” he said.
On regional security, President Kenyatta said his administration has been actively involved in the peace process in South Sudan and Somalia on a bilateral and multi-lateral basis.
The President said the Government’s efforts have led to the establishment of successive civilian governments in Somalia, including the recently concluded successful and peaceful election of President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed.
“Our engagement as part of AMISOM has yielded significant success. We have degraded the capacity of Al-Shabaab to carry out large-scale attacks in Kenya and elsewhere,” President Kenyatta said.
He added: “Our engagement in the search for security in the region is critical. Failure to do this would translate to insecurity within our borders.”
President Kenyatta also cited the improved delivery of services facilitated by the Huduma Centres and the social protection of vulnerable members of society among the successes of the Jubilee Government.