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Despite hiccups, there are gains and more that can be achieved

By The Standard | Updated Wed, March 15th 2017 at 00:00 GMT +3
President Uhuru Kenyatta PHOTO:COURTESY

President Uhuru Kenyatta will give his fourth annual ‘State of the Nation’ address as the country prepares for the August 2017 General Election.

The President will apprise the nation of the progress the Government has made in development. He will also highlight progress in realising national values, principles of governance, international obligations and national security, as outlined in article 132 of the Kenya Constitution 2010.

The President will expectedly hold up major infrastructural undertakings such as the Standard Gauge Railway project, tarmacking of roads and building of port container terminals. The construction of two new terminals at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport has also boosted passenger volumes from 5 million to 7 million per year.

Other areas of progress include the Last Mile electricity programme, which has seen people who could only dream of electricity, getting connected to the national grid. Nearly all primary schools in the country have also been connected to electricity.

 Despite the false start to the school laptop project, amends were made and to date, several primary schools have effected e-learning after acquiring tablets in lieu of the laptops.

These markers of progress notwithstanding, the country must not lose sight of the fact that the Jubilee administration has not acquitted itself well on its stated war on corruption. The vice remains the biggest blot on the Uhuru administration.

From the Sh5 billion Afya House scam to the Sh1 billion lost in the Devolution ministry, the tough talk by the President and relevant anti-corruption institutions has not translated into prosecution of those hell-bent on bleeding public coffers.

Security is another challenge challenge. The situation in the counties of Laikipia, Turkana, West Pokot and Baringo is precarious. Bandits roam the area freely, completely undeterred by an ongoing security operation to flush them out. There is need for the Government to up its game, especially now that we are headed into a politically heated period.

In the looming electioneering period, politicians might seek to capitalise on insecurity, pitting people against each other to gain advantage in the ensuing melee. Efforts made towards enhancing police efficiency, including the latest acquisition of 535 police vehicles and armoured personnel carriers are laudable, though their impact in improving patrols and security is yet to be felt.

Still related to security, lack of preparedness for disaster has left more than 23 counties in the midst of ravaging drought and severe food shortages that have occasioned deaths.

To be fair, the county administrations should have played a role in the fight against hunger, but it must be pointed out that the Government's assistance came in late and in insufficient quantities.

Food distribution in some areas faces logistical challenges. Going forward, no effort should be spared in ensuring no Kenyan dies from starvation.

And while the menace of Al Shabaab has been brought under control, pockets of the insurgents still make small incursions into remote border villages and kill. 
The upshot is that while there may have been hiccups and teething issues with implementation of the 2010 supreme law, a lot more needs to be done to align Kenya with Vision 2030.

 



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