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Uhuru speech did not address key challenges, say Cord MPs

Friday April 1 2016

Ruaraka MP Tom Kajwang. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Ruaraka MP Tom Kajwang protests at Parliament Buildings after he was ejected for creating chaos inside the chamber where President Uhuru Kenyatta was giving the State of the Nation address. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

JEREMIAH KIPLANG'AT
By JEREMIAH KIPLANG'AT
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MPs sharply differed on President Uhuru Kenyatta’s address, which the opposition said did not address key challenges facing the country as their government-affiliated counterparts praised it.

However, the MPs agreed that the speech should not have been disrupted, but only criticised in a debate later. 

Opposition MPs said challenges such as ethnicity, corruption and lack of accountability were not addressed.

They took issue with President Kenyatta’s plea to MPs to unite the country, saying his government was doing the opposite through skewed public appointments.

“It was a fair address but he should not talk about inclusivity because most of those given positions in his recent appointments are from his tribe and that of his deputy. He should walk the talk,” said Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa.

They also faulted the figure the Head of State gave that the economy is growing, arguing it did not reflect in the living standards of most citizens.

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Ugenya MP David Ochieng said: “He missed it by a wide mile. He started by telling us the economy is strong. I don’t think so. We are at the weakest point ever. He has taken time to blame counties for the ills the nation is facing yet the national government could have done better. He also failed to address  ethnicity.”  

Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr said senators had not been given adequate resources to look after devolution.

“We have been tasked to protect counties. He has not said anything about the war waged on the Senate by the governors and MPs. He has also refused to sign laws from the Senate. I sat there asking myself why we were invited,” said the senator.

But Jubilee MPs said the President had performed his constitutional duty by addressing them and setting the agenda for the country.

“What impressed me most  was the President calling for accountability in counties. We are missing accountability and public participation,” said Elgeyo-Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen.  Nominated Senator Martha Wangari said Jubilee had done well in providing health services.

Meanwhile, Cord leader Raila Odinga has criticised the government for failing to fight corruption and deliver on its pledges to Kenyans.

Speaking in Maralal, Samburu, on Thursday, Mr Odinga said Jubilee was “poisonous to the economy”, accusing it of doing nothing but giving empty promises.