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Uhuru: My year in power

resident Uhuru Kenyatta inspects a guard of honour at Parliament Buildings before addressing a joint National Assembly and Senate session on the State of the Nation

resident Uhuru Kenyatta inspects a guard of honour at Parliament Buildings before addressing a joint National Assembly and Senate session on the State of the Nation

President Kenyatta on Thursday outlined the Jubilee administration’s achievements after one year in office and gave a raft of promises that could radically change the quality of life for the citizens if implemented.

In one of the promises, he said his government would supply affordable electricity to 80 per cent of homes and institute measures to generate an extra 5,000 megawatts of power.

He said the Olkaria Geothermal power project, expected to generate 800 MW, will start working soon.

“More immediately, every primary school in the republic will be connected to the national grid by the end of the next financial year. This is in tandem with my Administration’s ICT initiative,” he said.

The President also backed devolution, saying, he had kept faith with the public’s choice by setting up a fully-fledged two-tier state.

In his 45-minutes speech, he said his government had established 47 counties, increased their funding from the 15 per cent of total national revenue as required in the Constitution to 32 per cent and transferred well-trained civil servants to the counties to deliver services.

“All (counties) are now operational, disproving the doubts of the faint-hearted,” he said in his address to a joint session of the National Assembly and the Senate at Parliament Buildings in Nairobi.

President Kenyatta, whose administration has been accused of trying to kill devolution, said the Jubilee government had even transferred all functions to county governments in one year instead of the three provided for in the Constitution.

“The framers of our new law expected the devolution of functions to proceed over three years.  Boldness proved better: ahead of time, and as a sign of my government’s commitment to devolution, we have passed on nearly all the county functions, and the resources to support them,” he said.

ACCEPT THE REALITY

He dampened nurses and doctors hopes of re-absorption by the national government by asking them to accept the reality that had been presented by the Constitution.

“Professionals who have opposed the transfer of their functions and remuneration to the counties had better learn to cope with the new dispensation,” he said.

On security, Mr Kenyatta sharply criticised the criminal justice system over its role in the war against terrorism and urged all arms of government to co-ordinate their activities. He accused the police, the Judiciary, prosecutors and prisons of failing to deter and punish criminals and terrorists.

“Too many crimes have been improperly processed, leaving suspects and culprits at large in our communities. The public frustration and anger that followed occasionally boiled over into mob injustice. It serves as a stark reminder of the unacceptable lack of coordination in our handling of crime,” he said.

He also addressed the question of security along Kenya’s borders and Kenya’s military intervention in Somalia where its soldiers are engaged in a campaign against Al-Shabaab, the Al-Qaeda linked militant group that has been blamed for carrying out terrorist activities on Kenyan soil.

TACKLE FAMINE

On the internally displaced persons, Mr Kenyatta said out of 942 households of IDPs, 777 had been resettled at a cost of Sh310 million. Each household, received Sh400,000 to start afresh, away from the effects of the 2007/8 post-election violence.

“The exercise continues. This settlement was followed by a concerted effort by government that focused on peace building among communities,” he said.

To tackle famine, he said, the government had started its project of bringing one million acres under irrigation by implementing the 10,000 acre Galana Kulalu-Scheme in Tana River County.

The project will also bring on board Bura and Mwea schemes to end the era of dependence on rain-fed agriculture.

“We will not only double our country’s maize production, but will also shift our dependence from rain-fed agriculture to a more dependable form of agriculture, enhancing food security and ultimately lowering food prices for ordinary wananchi,” he said.

The President said his government had broken ground for the Standard Gauge Railway from Mombasa to Nairobi and the construction of the Greenfiled hub at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

He promised that a pipeline linking Lamu to Lokichar to transport oil and a road from Lamu to Moyale, linking Kenya to Ethiopia, expected to reach 10,000 kilometres will be completed within three years.

President Kenyatta said free maternal care in public hospitals had started bearing fruit with deliveries increasing from 44 per cent last year to 66 per cent this year.

MASTER DATABASE

“The consequences for new mothers and children, and the republic, are incalculable,” he said.

On Jubilee’s flagship poll pledge of giving free laptops to children joining Standard One, Mr Kenyatta only said reforms involving the education sector, digitisation of payments, automation of government procurement and national master database about Kenya will be implemented.

Not once did he mention the word laptop in his speech

-nation

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