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January 16, 2019

Here’s why I say Uhuru tena 2017

President Uhuru Kenyatta toasting./PSCU
President Uhuru Kenyatta toasting./PSCU

There has been a lot of discussion about whether President Uhuru Kenyatta deserves a second term or not. Unfortunately, political discussions in Kenya are about hardline positions, which means often we get a lot more heat than light.

Uhuru promised he would provide free primary healthcare for pregnant women. Four years later the numbers tell their own story. More than 1.2 million women are delivering in hospitals each year – at no cost – as compared to less than 600,000 women who used to pay for these services in 2013.

Uhuru also promised he would improve access to healthcare. Again, the numbers tell the story. On outpatient services alone 5.8 million Kenyans are using NHIF, up from 3.8 million in 2013.

I also remember Uhuru promising to bring public service delivery closer to the people. First there is the Huduma Centre concept. Today 40,000 Kenyans access 66 different government services daily at 45 Huduma Centres in 41 counties.

Then there is the E-Citizen platform. Kenyans can access more than 190 public services from their desks, including apply for passports, renew driving licences, register businesses, transfer vehicle ownership, conduct company searches, etc.

Uhuru has ensured the economy is expanding at an average of 5.9 per cent since 2013, against the global average of three per cent. We have also improved our tax collection regime to Sh1.2 trillion, up from Sh847 billion in 2013, which means we rely less on loans. Due to such a strong economy we are now taking care of more vulnerable people in our society; 720,000 people, up from 220,000 in 2013.

Uhuru has developed a solid communications and transport infrastructure to support manufacturing. The flagship project for this, of course, is the SGR from Mombasa to Malaba through Kisumu.

The first phase — Mombasa to Nairobi — will be completed in a few months. Over 1,950km of new road are complete and another 7,000km are under various phases of construction. Every county has fibre-optic technology and over half of all subcounty headquarters are connected. Doing business with government has never been easier.

Uhuru has increased electricity provision to a point where we are looking at over 70 per cent of households covered by the end of this year; 3.7 million new homes now have electricity.

Some 14,045, about 98 per cent of all public primary schools, are now connected to the national grid. Incidentally, in four years Uhuru has connected twice as many homes to electricity than the number of homes connected since Independence.

Uhuru took over when the ratio of police officers to members of the public was 1:800. Today it is 1:380, which is even better than the UN standard of 1:450. Building up our security capacity has made Kenya a country worth visiting.

Today we have ordinary tourists from developed and developing countries visiting our tourism sites. World leaders have also been here. In the process, we have earned from tourism and signed multiple economic deals with far-flung effects.

But beyond this impressive performance is Uhuru the man, himself. Like Obama, Uhuru has shown us that Presidents are also human. They love to have a nice time, get angry sometimes, can do a jig, and sometimes they make mistakes.

This humanity has reflected as humility and distinguished him from every other person who wants to be President this year. This humility has also helped him be accepted in places that were not his political ‘strongholds’, which has united Kenyans and helped us move closer to genuine national unity.

There are many more reasons I could put down, and I will do so in coming days, but on the last reason alone I know many who did not vote for him in 2013 will vote for him in 2017. Plus, somehow we are now the 13th happiest nation in Africa. So, Uhuru Tena 2017!

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