SECTIONS

Uhuru deserves kudos; he has made his mark

President Uhuru Kenyatta when he cast his ballot in the 2022 General Election. [PSCU, Standard]

Outgoing presidents are usually pilloried and even publicly humiliated. They are accused of all manner of ills by an angry public dissatisfied with their perfomance - their anger driven up a notch by divisive succession politics.

To President Daniel arap Moi, the public sang yote yawezekana bila Moi as he prepared to leave State House for his Kabarak home in December 2002. In the case of Mwai Kibaki, there was a collective sigh of relief when he left State House from an exasperated public that felt money had dwindled in their pockets after he tightened the management of the public purse.

After the two retired, however, the same public saw their value and reminisced about the good things they had done, but had gone unappreciated for long. Moi and Kibaki were revered by the public during their retirement.

Uhuru's looming exit is following a similar trajectory. It would be surprising if it didn't. He has been heavily censured during the campaigns and a visitor from Mars would wonder whether he has done anything good during his tenure.

But the truth is that when he steps out of the main State House's door for the last time in the next few weeks, the president will leave behind a solid legacy. For that, he will be remembered by many generations.

His leadership has delivered perhaps more development projects than any of his predecessors did. The most outstanding of these include the Standard Gauge Railway, the iconic Nairobi Expressway and an upgrade of major roads across the country. In fact, at 11,000km, his government has built more roads than the three previous administrations combined.

The Last Mile electricity project that was rolled out in 2017 targeting to connect at least 47 per cent of low income and rural Kenyans to the national power grid has been largely successful. The Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport Corridor project and modernisation of ports are indisputable milestones.

Through the National Titling Programme, Uhuru's administration has given out more than one million title deeds. Moreover, his government has also delivered many water projects across, including the recently unveiled Sh8.2 billion Thiba Dam that would boost rice production. His administration also midwifed devolution. These are major achievements but most Kenyans cannot appreciate them now due to the 'curse' that dogs our retiring presidents. But they will with the passage of time.

We are not trying to say that Uhuru's presidency has been perfect. There have been many downsides. For instance, although our infrastructure is superior today, it has not come cheap. The country incurred huge debts to put up the infrastructure. Second, corruption reached a crescendo under Uhuru's watch, and he was honest enough to admit the magnitude of the problem. By his own admission, Sh2 billion is lost to corruption daily. His government ought to have done better.

But all said and done, he leaves behind an admirable legacy of development that the incoming government should build on. There is there is a lot to celebrate about Uhuru. Let's stop seeing only the negative.