President maintains Jubilee deserves second term, lists reasons
President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto this week marked four years since they won the 2013 elections.
On Friday, the President presided over the passing out parade of General Service Unit officers at the GSU Training School in Nairobi.
Earlier in the week, documents prepared by State House to analyse the ruling Jubilee Party’s performance showed an administration happy with its progress, and buoyed by the plans that its leaders intend to complete in President Kenyatta’s second term should he be re-elected in August.
“We are significantly better off than we were in 2013 and have major development and infrastructure,” State House Spokesman Manoah Esipisu said of President Kenyatta’s administration.
He argued that the government had achieved a lot and deserved a second term.
“There is more road network done by this administration than any other in Kenya, and we have improved electricity connection to homes from 27 per cent to 60 per cent in 2017,” Mr Esipisu added.
Despite this positive self-assessment, the biggest thorn in Jubilee’s flesh remains the continued accusations by the Opposition that it has no new ideas and that the projects the government was launching were initiated by the Grand Coalition government, in which ODM leader Raila Odinga was Prime Minister.
However, Mr Esipisu said the criticism by the Opposition is misplaced.
“No administration tears apart a nation’s blueprint, and ours is the Vision 2030. Governments work on long-term projects. Even then, these are things President Kenyatta participated in building, and he was an integral part of the vision as Finance minister,” the State House spokesman said of his boss.
Mr Kenyatta also served as Deputy Prime Minister in the Grand Coalition.
President Kenyatta will have the chance to enumerate his achievements since he was elected when he addresses a joint sitting of both Houses on Wednesday next week.
This will be the last during his first term. In the past, he has insisted that he has done the job he was elected to do.
The Head of State has often castigated the Opposition over what he said was “choosing to be blind” to what he had done.
“When they say I have not done anything, I ask myself if they are even Kenyans in the first place. We have transformed this country. Are these roads you see coming up snakes?” an infuriated President Kenyatta asked during his Nakuru tour late last month.
Mr Ruto has been more robust in enumerating the government’s success.
A good orator, the DP has gone round the country listing what he says are Jubilee’s biggest achievements: scrapping of exam fees for all primary and secondary school students, offering free maternity services for all mothers (now 1.2 million mothers up from 600,000 receive the service), increasing dialysis machines from 44 in 2013 to 289 and bringing in 58 new ICU beds to bring the total number to 116.
The government has also bought 90 ultrasound machines, compared to 10 in 2013, bringing the total to 100.
He also says Jubilee has built 2,302km of roads, with work ongoing in another 2,327km in 30 counties and a planned 2,500 others planned for this year.
One of Jubilee’s biggest achievements has been connecting electricity to homes and schools.
From 2013, the Government has connected 12.4 million Kenyans to the national grid, almost double the number since independence.
It is seeking to have 70 per cent of the population connected by end of 2017.
The Government has also connected 22,245 schools to electricity, up from 8,200 between independence and 2013, with only 1,166 schools yet to be connected, according to government data.
“We are doing the big things and the little ones that support welfare: maternity, exam fees and the likes. This might not be the big things, but they are impacting Kenyan lives in a way never seen before,” Mr Esipisu said.
It is worth noting that the Jubilee administration has also presided over one of the largest borrowing sprees in Kenya’s history, with the government debt as a percentage of GDP rising from Sh800 billion to Sh2.5 trillion by end of 2016.
Last weekend, the Saturday Nation reported that the Government had signed nine loan agreements worth Sh90.2 billion in foreign debt in the three months to January 2017.
The Jubilee tenure has also been marred by industrial unrests with the strike by doctors now approaching its 100th day.
Lecturers in public universities are also on strike. Teachers have had strikes almost every year since 2013.
The government has also delayed the promised laptops for Standard One pupils, which have since morphed into tablets.
It is also yet to build the five stadiums it had promised, and has broken the dream of the Galana Kulalu project (which was to produce one million bags of maize, but only managed 75,000 bags in the 2,500 acres tilled).
The administration’s critics also say that corruption has become more rampant.
“Corruption and tribalism are entrenched, and the only concept left is tyranny of numbers. If the elections were premised solely on the basis of their manifesto, they would not get a second term,” said Wiper National Vice-Chairman Mutula Kilonzo Junior.
However, Mukurweini MP Kabando wa Kabando, an ally of the President, said that the Jubilee administration had done “exceptionally well”.
“Jubilee has starred exceptionally in electrification,” he said. He also singled out tablets for schools and national exam fees waiver some of the Government’s achievements.