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Key points from President Kenyatta's State of the Nation address

Thursday April 4 2019

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President Uhuru Kenyatta issued strong statements on matters including the war on graft, the Big Four agenda and the need to unite for national development in his much awaited State of the Nation address at Parliament on Thursday.

The President vowed to carry on with the war on corruption, reiterating that it is just and aimed at protecting the resources the country needs to grow.

"[There will be] no turning back in the war against corruption as it is a just war, a war to prevent misuse of public resources for selfish interests by those we have entrusted to manage them," he said.

The Big Four agenda is a major part of the legacy that President Kenyatta intends to leave when his second and final terms ends in 2022.

The four pillars are Universal Health Coverage (UHC), affordable housing, food security and manufacturing.

Mr Kenyatta said he will not slow down in the achievement of these goals as well as those under the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), which was one of the key results of his handshake with Orange Democratic Movement Leader Raila Odinga on march 9, 2018.


The following are the other key points from the President's address:


President Kenyatta said he will not relent in the fight against graft, the goal being to ensure a prosperous Kenya for posterity, supported by integrity and respect for the rule of law.

He told Kenyans who love their country that they must reject the vice and its perpetrators for the war to be successful.

President Kenyatta had been expected to announce drastic actions against ministers and other public officials implicated in graft.

In line with this, he said this sustained war on graft will be conducted strictly within the remits of the law, "not through vigilante justice and pitchfork protest".


On devolution, the head of State said the programme has his administration's full support and that with Parliament's help, it has changed the people's lives.

"We have seen it transform lives, revive local economies and bring service delivery closer to the people. The system is sound and has proven its value and contribution to national development," he said.


President Kenyatta spoke confidently of Kenya's economy, his remarks coming after analysts said the rise in the cost of living is expected to moderate further due to continued fall in food prices that should cancel out any inflationary effects of higher fuel prices.

He described the economy as strong and said it is expected to grow by 6.3 per cent in 2019 with improvements in the execution of the Big Four.


To ensure the success of the four pillars, President Kenyatta urged Parliament to fast-track mediation of the Land Value Index Laws (Amendment) Bill , the Physical Planning Bill, the Irrigation Bill, the Warehouse Receipt System Bill and the Kenya Roads Bill.

He added that the government's focus is on socio-economic interventions in critical sectors that will enhance the quality of life for all Kenyans in ways that are tangible and measurable.

Regarding manufacturing, he noted prioritisation of motor vehicle assembly and the manufacture of spare parts, initiatives which he pointed out have seen Peugeot and Volkswagen set up assembly lines in Kenya.


Our the UHC programme, Mr Kenyatta reported the successful roll-out of the pilot phase in Isiolo, Machakos, Nyeri and Kisumu counties.

He reported better access to essential health services, with an average increase of 39 per cent reported in these counties.

"We are on course for the full roll-out of the universal health coverage in the year 2019/20 in the remaining 43 counties," he said.


The head of state noted that agriculture is the largest employer in the economy and that it accounts for 60 per cent of total employment.

"In recognition of its central role, my administration earmarked the sector as a key pillar of the Big Four, as we seek to ensure food security and nutrition for all Kenyans," he said.

He also addressed the challenges in the sugar and maize sub-sectors, which have been plagued by corruption scandals over years, promising that the government will decisively act on the recommendations of the two sectoral taskforces that will submit their reports later in April.


President Kenyatta stated his plans for the Affordable Housing Programme, including the promulgation of the Affordable Housing Development Framework Guidelines.

"Kenyans have shown that they are ready for this despite court cases and initial delays," he told the nation.

"Over 175,000 Kenyans have already registered under the voluntary scheme known as Boma Yangu. These Kenyans will undoubtedly be first in line for the allocation of houses."


On reforms in the coffee sector, the product being a key foreign exchange earner, the President reported the implementation of interventions that arose from the recommendations of the Coffee Taskforce.

He said the government had rehabilitated 500 pulping stations in 31 coffee-growing counties and announced that to end the problem of delays in the payment cycle, a Sh3 billion Cherry Advance Revolving Fund will be operational from July 1.

"All coffee farmers across the country will be able to access the cherry advance at a modest interest rate of three per cent."


On the grand goal of uniting the country following the prolonged 2017 elections season, the President said there will soon be an opportunity for Kenyans to comment on the findings and recommendations.

"I reaffirm a commitment previously made to this House of designating Sh10 billion to heal the wounds of historical grievance which have long poisoned by our politics and strained communal relations," he said.

"With Parliament’s help, and through the affected communities, we will be applying the fund towards establishing symbols of hope across the country through the construction of heritage sites and community information centers."


The Jubilee administration, through Deputy President William Ruto, has been pushing for the supply of electricity to rural Kenya and other parts.

On this project, the President said that for reliable and cost-effective electricity that meets demand, steps have been taken to accelerate the development of power generation, electricity transmission and supply infrastructure.

The goal, he said, is universal access to electricity by 2022.

"I am happy to report that the installed capacity has increased from 1,768 MW in March 2013 to the current 2,712 MW, with Lake Turkana Wind, Ngong Wind and Garissa Solar Power Plants joining the grid within the last year," he said.


On the National Housing and Population Census set to take place in August, Mr Kenyatta noted that it will "facilitate inclusivity and enable appropriate planning for the needs of all persons".

He said that the exercise, alongside the National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS), will ensure that all the people living in Kenya are enumerated in order to provide accurate data for proper planning at all levels of government.

The goal is a comprehensive one-stop shop for all population and national identity records.

NIIMs, also dubbed Huduma Namba, will use integrated data systems to manage citizens’ information.

President Kenyatta launched the system on Tuesday, signed for his own Huduma Namba and flagged off the distribution of NIIMS registration kits to all the 47 counties.

But there have been challenges - the exercise was yet to begin in Kisumu, Tana River, Kwale and Lamu counties by Thursday. Interior PS Karanja Kibicho said that in these counties, there weren't enough forms and that registration assistants were yet to familiarise themselves with the kits.


President Kenyatta also spoke of Pan Africanism and thanked the African Union for appointing Mr Odinga to spearhead infrastructural connectivity across the continent.

He said, "This is key to actualising the shared prosperity of the African people through promoting trade and strengthening the bond of unity."

As such, he said, he and other leaders will carry on with their quest to unite East Africa and Africa.


Al-Shabaab terrorists have staged many attacks in Kenya, targeting both civilians and police, followings the start of the country's mission to Somalia in 2011.

The latest attack took place at the dusistD2 office complex on 14 Riverside Drive in Nairobi on January 15. Twenty people were killed and more than 700 rescued in an operation that Kenyan police officers were praised for, both locally and internationally.

Amid the war on terror has been the question of amnesty and whether those who escape from the terror group and return to Kenya stand the chance of living normal lives devoid of crime.

Regarding this kind of reforms, President Kenyatta said Kenya is "a country that believes in giving second chances to those who are genuinely seeking to return to a path of legal conduct and to embrace our constitutional values".

Therefore, he said, the government will undertake initiatives to "disengage, rehabilitate and reintegrate returnees who had been members of listed terrorist groups".

He noted that "we will continue to press on with the war against terrorist groups and networks, and their facilitators", a key aspect being strengthening legal tools to ensure militants do not take advantage of Kenya's democratic and open society.