President William Ruto presides over Jamhuri Day celebration

President William Ruto during 59th Jamhuri Day celebrations at the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi on Monday, December 12 2022. [Kelly Ayodi,Standard]

President William Ruto has presided over his first Jamhuri Day celebrations since ascending to power.

During the national celebrations, the president promised to fulfil all the Kenya Kwanza promises made during the campaign period.

Among his flagship project, the Hustler Fund, President Ruto disclosed that the fund had as of Monday, December 12, disbursed Sh7.5b and at the same time, 15.4m Kenyans had registered for the Fund.

"Before the expiry of the 14-day repayment period, Sh1.1b has since been repaid and nearly Sh400m mobilized in savings. Under this programme, Kenyans have found a platform to save. Clearly, Kenyans know the value of borrowing and paying contrary to the rhetoric of skeptics. By all accounts, this is revolutionary," Ruto said.

The President also revealed that any Kenyan can now access a free scholarship at the Arizona State University on global entrepreneurship.

"Everyone present in this stadium will get a free scholarship on global entrepreneurship and innovation from the Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University. There is a QR Code near you. Scan and access the scholarship now. A 16 unit course that would have cost you Sh100,000, is now accessible to you for free, courtesy of the Innovation Jamhuri," Ruto said amid jubilation from the crowds.

On food pricing, Ruto said the government in conjunction with the private sector has engaged suppliers to import 6 million bags of fertilizer urging farmers to prepare for a bumper harvest by using the affordable fertilizer and certified seeds.

"A consignment of 2 million bags has already landed at the port of Mombasa, and the remaining 4 million will arrive in the first week of January in time for the long rains. Government will continue to subsidize the price of fertilizer and farmers will buy at KSh. 3,500 a bag," Ruto emphasised.

At the same time, the Kenya Kwanza government promised to fulfil its campaign promise of digitizing all the government services. To make this a reality, the Head of State said his government will build 100,000km of internet superhighway of internet across cities, and towns.

On innovation, Ruto also congratulated the founder of Techlit Africa, 29-year-old Nelly Cheboi who was on Monday declared the CNN hero of the year for her role in creating computer labs for Kenyan children and enabling them the opportunity in the digital world.

On matters police reforms, the government promised to unveil a task force to look into issues of salaries, uniforms, allowances and housing of police officers.

"I'm going to form a task force that will look into the welfare of the police officers across the ranks in the police force," he said.

Ruto also urged stakeholders in the sports fraternity through the 'Talanta Hela' plan to help build the Kenyan football from grassroots to the grand stage of the World Cup.

"Arrangements are at an advanced stage to launch a Bottom-up football tournament to be contested by under-19 teams from all 47 Counties.

"We will work with our governors for each County to build a team right from the ward level. This is the first step in our Football Vision 2030 where we target to see Harambee Stars play at the 2030 World Cup and Kenya host the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations," he added.

Ruto announced that in line with the new focus of National Celebrations, Embu County will host the 2023 Madaraka Day celebrations, under the theme of Universal Healthcare.