Top Stories / 2017 Elections
Saturday, 17 Dec 2016 16:56 EATnewsdesk@kenyafreepress.com
President Uhuru Kenyatta believes that his performance in the last four years is good enough to earn him re-election. In a number of public statements over the last week, the president has urged Kenyans to judge him by his record, of which he gives a rosy assessment. The broad outline of the president's re-election pitch emerged on Jamhuri Day when he gave a catalogue of his government's achievements, a theme he has backed up during the tour of Western Kenya.
In his official speech to the nation on December 12, President Uhuru named his achievements in rural electrification, the primary school laptop project, devolution, improvement of health services and economic stability enjoyed in Kenya over the period, notwithsnading the robust inflation rate and increased debt burden. According to political experts, the picture has emerged in the president's pronouncements of a re-election campaign theme premised on accomplishments rather than challenges.
"As we promised, we are rolling out the digital learning project: eighty thousand teachers have been trained, and the digital content has been finalised. By next year, every child from Standard 1 to Standard 3 will have access to the digital devices, bringing digital learning to every corner of this Republic. Our children will take their place alongside those from the richest nations, ready to compete with them," he said in his Jamhuri Day speech, speaking to the achievements rather than the problems that have marked the project from 2013.
He also addressed the cash-transfer programme, known as Inua Jamii, that he said "now reaches more than 700,000 elderly and disabled Kenyans." Coupled with the social fund is the Presidential Bursary Scheme for orphans and vulnerable children which he said had changed the lives of more than 49,000 such children.
He also touted the projects rolled under the National Youth Service transformation that was recently beset by financial scandals. "As we seek to empower our youth, I will not shy away from making reference to the NYS. Despite the challenges that our National Youth Service Programme has faced, it has delivered some very clear and tangible successes," said the president.
He outlined the accomplishments of NYS: the employment of over 91,334 cohorts spread over 21 constituencies across the country, expending Sh5.4 billion of which Sh3.4 billion was paid out as direct wages, while the balance went towards savings. He said that these youth has organized themselves into 300 Saccos and mobilized Sh1.4 billion in savings
Other gains highlighted by president include establishment of two fertilizer-blending plants with an annual capacity of 300,000 tons and giving a debt waiver of Sh2.4 billion for coffee farmers. However, the most significant gain so far is the roll-out of devolution. "Over a trillion Kenya shillings has been transferred to the counties, both directly and in the form of conditional grants. Essential functions, once delivered by national government, have been devolved," the president emphasised.
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