•President Ruto is unstoppable because he has this charisma and organisational ability to engage internationally and also locally.
•Kenya is the only country in the East African region that has now signed the Economic Partnership Agreements with the European Union, aimed at benefiting the country.
I hope you are well and fine as we gear up to the festive season. Traffic in Nairobi has really reduced, as many Kenyans seem to have already closed business, or travelled for the holidays.
This is a good thing, since it’s become our culture. However, government doesn’t go on holiday. Services can only slow down but the state must remain functional at all times.
On Wednesday, Mercy Wanjau, who is the Secretary to the Cabinet, Idris Dokota, Principal Secretary for Cabinet Affairs, and I led a delegation to Wajir county, to assess the situation on the ground regarding the El Niño emergency response.
At some point, Wajir county was the most affected by the floods, leading to seven people drowning and more than 80 schools destroyed in the process. About 1,000 households have been affected by this emergency situation.
The Cabinet under the leadership of its chairman President William Ruto made a deliberate effort to deploy its members together with other senior government officials to 18 of the affected counties to provide leadership by coordinating government support to the affected Kenyans.
Interestingly, it was the first time that many of us were visiting Wajir, a massive county that is the size of 26 other counties combined, including Nairobi. It has 13 subcounties and six constituencies, since it borders Ethiopia and Somalia, with the latter’s border stretch being more than 500km.
The administration of Governor Ahmed Abdullahi who was also the first governor in 2013, has done a lot in developing the county, by among others, giving it the first tarmacked road since independence. What was interesting was the governor won a second term due his track record. He has since flagged out more than Sh6.9 billion worth of fictitious pending bills, bringing down this debt stock from Sh8.5 to Sh1.6 billion.
This is a county with its own cash transfer programme for persons with disabilities, with 635 households receiving Sh4,000 each month. The bursary programme provides Sh50,000 to more than 20,000 beneficiaries annually! Wajir airport is the fifth busiest in Kenya, with up to 20 cargo flights a day and three passenger flights.
The collaboration between the national and county government is evident since, as Deputy Governor Ahmend Muktar briefed us, they are glad they are now getting their disbursements from the national government on time, the first to, in more than seven years ever since devolution took place.
Our visit alone brought more than two tonnes of medicine and other non-food items to the county, over and above another 2.5 tonnes airlifted by a plane donated by the World Food Programme. Another consignment from the Kenya Red Cross, which is supported by the government of Kenya and the US Embassy, is on the way to the county.
Such collaborations between the national and county governments will go a long way in restoring the dignity, welfare and progress of our country. President Ruto is unstoppable, in his quest to transform Kenya. For a man who against all odds rose from being practically a ‘sacked’ Deputy President by Uhuru Kenyatta, nothing pushes him on these ambitions to transform the country.
At the inaugural diaspora investment conference held last week in Nairobi, he came out clearly stating, “In 10 years’ time, people will not recognise our country. The recent remarks by his political competitors that they are going to stop him are only aimed at hoodwinking the public in order to distract them from the President’s focus.
For a man who has never lost any election, his clarity of mind and focus have enabled him to fully focus on the implementation of ‘The Plan’, something that hasn’t happened in the recent past. When the same competitors threw him out of ODM, he was able to form URP that became the third largest political party in the 2013 general election.
In fact, when Jubilee was pulled out from under him, he still went ahead to form the United Democratic Alliance party that is currently the biggest in the country.
The same naysayers predicted the Hustler Fund wouldn’t take off. One year down the line, more than 19 million Kenyans have benefited from the fund, with 7.7 million being regular customers. The monies in circulation are also more than 39 billion, out of only Sh12 billion. It is also true that under his leadership, Kenya has been ranked as the 29th fastest growing economy.
President Ruto is unstoppable because he has this charisma and organisational ability to engage internationally and also locally. This he has harnessed so well, that he was at a function in Lafaale, Tarbaj constituency today, and tomorrow he will be in Paris, France, addressing a youth climate summit, only to come back the day after to attend to a church function, in faraway Kithyoko, in Kitui county.
For example, Kenya is the only country in the East African region that has now signed the Economic Partnership Agreements with the European Union, aimed at benefiting the country. That is why the African Leadership Magazine has recognised him as the best African leader of 2023.
Our competitors should therefore understand that the President is very committed to transforming the country since in his own words, he wasn’t elected to win a second term, but rather to transform Kenya.
The writer is the government spokesperson