Live: What President Uhuru Kenyatta is telling Kenyans

President Uhuru Kenyatta is this afternoon making his second-last State of the Nation address before a joint sitting of the National Assembly and Senate on the back of gripping national challenges that have recast his priorities.

The address – an annual constitutional requirement – was initially meant for the first quarter of the year but was put off by the coronavirus pandemic. Uhuru’s last address was on April 4, 2019.

Only 114 from the 416 MPs will follow the address from Parliament chambers as social distancing guidelines, placed to curb the virus spread, are adhered to.

The other legislators, much more like most Kenyans, will watch a televised speech as the president gives his scorecard and chart the way forward for the country.

This is what the president is saying:

  • President Uhuru starts his address by acknowledging that it has come at a time of ” extraordinary global economic, social, and health disruptions” that has not spared Kenya.

“Those disruptions necessitated the rescheduling of this Address for about Six Months, ” he tells Parliament.

  • On legislation: Mr Kenyatta says he notes “with satisfaction” the critical role the House plays in facilitating and driving the realisation of the national vision by “appropriating resources; and by oversighting the Executive, the Judiciary and the County Governments.” The president commends Parliament for supporting measures initiated by the National Emergency Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic.

“I also convey my gratitude to the National Assembly for the expeditious consideration of my nominees to various state offices including Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Permanent Representatives to Kenya’s mission abroad.”

  • President Uhuru Kenyatta says the roll-out of unique personal identification number, popularly known as Huduma Number is on course.
  • On Pending Bills: Mr Kenyatta calls on Parliament to consider pending Bills such as the National Aviation Management Bill which he says once enacted, will turn around the fortunes of troubled national carrier Kenya Airways.  He also takes note of the Statute Law Miscellaneous (Amendments) Bill, Business (Amendment) Bill No. 2 of 2020 and proposed legislation on the administration of referenda and on enhancing governance and on deepening anti-corruption efforts.
  • Covid:19 cases: While recognising that the pandemic has disrupted lives, President Uhuru Kenyatta says Kenya has reported a total of 66,723 confirmed cases of the Covid-19 while some 1,203 patients dying. Some twenty-three patients have died in the past 24 hours, he adds.
  • On pandemic effect on development agendas: He says his administration’s focus is on implementing the Kenya Vision 2030 and its medium term plan dubbed the Big Four Agenda, noting that “most of the major economic sectors evidenced impressive growth last year; including manufacturing, agriculture, tourism, and financial services.” Mr Kenyatta adds that the pandemic has underscored the need to upscale the implementation of the Universal Health Coverage pillar of the Big Four Agenda.

“I am pleased to report to you that the pilot programme for Universal Health Care was successfully implemented, and out of it we have isolated critical learning points that have informed enhancements to my Administration’s health policy priorities, going forward,” he says.

  • On Education: Notes that Kenya successfully started the roll-out of the Competency Based Curriculum in January 2019, explaining that it has been embraced by all stakeholders as refinements are being made to the programme.

Mr Kenyatta instructs the Ministry of Education to announce the 2021 academic calendar within 14 days, announcing that all classes that are still at home due to the pandemic are expected to resume learning in January 2021.

He says that for the second-year running, his administration has achieved a transition rate of 100% from primary to secondary school.

For the infrastructure needed during the resumption of school, he says the Ministry of Education and the Ministry Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development will by December 1 issue a new set of building guidelines for school infrastructure.

  • Nairobi Metropolitan Service: Says the NMS is achieving its mandate in ensuring city dwellers do not live in a ‘dignity poor’ environment has been the case for nearly sixty years since independence.
  • Title deeds: Mr Kenyatta says he has issued 4.5 million titles since 2013 when he first won the presidency.
  • Plight of the youth: Notes his administration has been endearing to shift young people from being ‘earners of wages’ to ‘owners of capital’.

“If the youth are given a sense of national importance, they will own the country and guard it jealously as active shareholders,” he tells Parliament.

Ease of doing businessMr Kenyatta says the Transit Shed at the Kenya Railways he commissioned earlier in the week is dedicated as the clearing point for cargo imported into the country by small traders and will save them the “agony of delayed clearing of their trade wares” and “considerable financial cost.”

“We have recorded many milestones thus far, such as Kenya’s 80-slot improvement since 2014, with our nation currently ranking at 56th globally and ranking third in Sub-Saharan Africa on the Ease of Doing Business Global Ranking Report, from a low of 136th globally in 2014,” Mr Kenyatta says.

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