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Queries over Jubilee’s failed promises six years later

COUNTIES
By Jacob Ng’etich | March 3rd 2019

President Uhuru Kenyatta assumed power in 2013 with a raft of promises that were expected to ride Kenyans into the ‘promised land.’

Six years down the line, the Jubilee administration has little to write home about - which would impact negatively on the President’s legacy if the trend is anything to go by.

The ruling coalition romped into power with a barrage of colourful promises ranging from a digital shift with free laptops for Standard One pupils, a food secure country and jobs for millions of unemployed youth, but little has been achieved.

Hard questions

After ensuring a well-fed nation, free of ethnic division, safe and secure from terrorists as they promised, they would then ensure a sporty country complete with five new national sports stadia in Kisumu, Mombasa, Nakuru, Eldoret and Garissa.

Today, the disillusionment for those who voted two terms for the President is real and the anger, palpable.

The provision of laptops for school children one of Jubilee’sflagship pledges in the 2013 campaigns which was frustrated by hiccups finally came to naught this week after the Ministry of Education came to terms with its impracticability.

In the sixth year into power, hard questions are abound on whether Jubilee government has lived to its expectations. The big question is did the Jubilee ‘dynamic duo’ lie to Kenyans? Or it has been a series of false starts that have roundly described the dismal performance.

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The ire and frustration among the public was ironically captured by President Kenyatta when he said that Kenyans could turn to revolution to resolve their issues.

Procument processes

The Head of State’s insinuation was that citizenry were angered by corruption that had spread in his own government.

The comments could serve as a self assessment of a government that has been dodged with graft in procument processes.

The provision of laptops to pupils, exposed the soft underbelly of Jubilee and until Education Principal Secretary Kipsang Belio announced its collapse, the project had been mired in scandals.

The one-laptop-per-child idea in Jubilee’s Digital Learning Programme was meant, ostensibly, to entrench ICT in teaching and learning in primary schools.

During roll-out in May 2016, however, the policy shifted from laptops to tablets due to cost implications. An ambitious project that would have improved the digital literacy of the Kenyan children, walked into a scandal in September 2013 less than six months after Jubilee’s inauguration.

At stake was Sh17 billion tender awarded to a company that did not manufacture laptops at the expense of firms including one that had promised to put up a processing plant in Kenya.

As it came a cropper, the laptops project could have been a poisoned chalice in the Jubilee administration.

“The public was increasingly getting frustrated by the swirl of corruption, Kenyans are reading and seeing what is happening and if we don’t act to stop corruption, the people themselves will act,” a resigned Kenyatta told a Judiciary meeting in Nairobi early in the week.

According to economist David Ndii, Jubilee is the worst regime Kenya. He says from the level of debts and scandals that have dodged it, it is clear Kenyans will take years to recover from the administration’s blunders.

Just late last year, the other administration’s ambitious multi-billion shilling Galana-Kulalu project that was supposed to be the silver bullet for food security, also collapsed.

With its death was a waste of Sh7 billion that it had gobbled. Today, where Jubilee promised food security is uncertainity and despair by farmers who now will be forced to buy fertiliser at high prices after enjoying the subsidy programme for over a decade.

“The government is fast deteriorating, how would you fail to provide subsidy on fertiliser and still hope to ensure food security,” said Moiben MP Silas Tiren. Inability by the government to provide for the subsidy could point to another bigger problem the administration is battling with, that of cash flow as it emerges that the books could be in the red.

Last month the government floated a syndicated loan of Sh100 billion to repay debts and it is projected that they will have paid Sh1.4 trillion in debts-by December.

But all is not lost according Jubilee leaders. National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale insists that a lot has been achieved but the doomsayers have deicided to focus on challenges facing the government.

“From the Standard Gauge Railways (SGR), to power connections and social protections, the gains are many and touching on the common man up to far in the village,” said Mr Duale who insists that the Jubilee government has transformed the country.

He admits that the challenges are common in governments globally. The 490km SGR has been hailed as one of the success stories in the country given that it not only replaced the over 100 years Lunatic Express but has also improved movement of goods.

But Ndii disagrees with its benefits. “It is the most expensive and obsolete thing Kenya acquired,” he said.

On sports, the arts and culture, Jubilee had promised to establish a National Lottery Scheme, boosted by national Budget allocations to fund and support the professionalisation of local sporting leagues across the major disciplines. 

Apart from pledging to pursue tax incentives for individual and private sector investors in the sports, arts and entertainment sectors, the President and his deputy William Ruto also promised to boost sports through introduction of professional coaches in schools.

National academies

Another unfulfilled promise was establishment of youth development centres in the counties that would house a fully equipped library, an ICT hub, five sports pitches (football, swimming, basketball, netball and volleyball) and a social hall as well as upgrading existing sporting facilities at the county level to accommodate swimming, tennis, basketball and rugby.

They had also promised to support the Kenya Motorsport Federation to ensure the return of the Safari Rally to the WRC (World Rally Championships) calendar and to roll-out a network of national academies for young people, each one specialising in a particular sport or branch of the creative arts.

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