Lesson from UhuRuto: Promise what's possible

EDITORIAL |
President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto meet their supporters during Jubilee rally held in Nairobi on May 29, 2017. [Willis Awandu, Standard]

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday gave his eighth State of the Nation Address in which he outlined his government's achievements during his two-terms.

There is no disputing that the country has witnessed remarkable progress under his stewardship. The Jubilee government has lived up to its pre-election promise on road construction. Construction of tarmac roads has been witnessed in all corners of the country.

Indeed, the president says his government has surpassed the 10,000-kilometre target that he promised. This is more than double what the previous administrations, including the colonial governments, managed to build.

Under Uhuru's leadership, we have witnessed the construction of the SGR and issuance of more than five million title deeds under the National Titling Programme.

In addition, in the past eight years, 6.3 million households have been connected to the national grid. These are gigantic steps by any measure. There is no doubt that Kenyans will remember Uhuru over these milestones.

Notably, the president achieved these by pursuing his pre-election pledges aggressively. But not all of them. There are promises that the president and his deputy made that have not been fully followed through. They include providing all pupils with laptops, building nine stadia across the country, creating one million jobs annually and launching a robust fight against graft. On these, they clearly bit more than they could chew.

There is a lesson here for those aspiring to take the mantle from Uhuru: Promise only what is possible. Unfortunately, the various aspirants for the country's top job seem to have taken Jubilee's game a notch higher and are now promising pies in the sky.

They may as well win Kenyans' hearts and get their votes, but if they fail to deliver on their lofty promises, Kenyans will never forget. Just as that they will never forget that the Jubilee government never fulfilled its promise on stadia.

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