Leaders spell out plans as Kenyans keep hope alive while ushering in New Year

Traders at a market in Kisii County, October 2022. [Sammy Omingo, Standard]

Kenyans have expressed optimism that the new year will bring good tidings as compared to 2022 where households were hit by hard economic times due to runaway inflation.

Political leaders, religious leaders, businessmen and wananchi are hoping that come 2023, the economy will recover from recession which will in turn reduce the cost of living. Kenyans have also exuded confidence that the Kenya Kwanza government will fulfill promises they made during the campaigns and create job opportunities, lower taxes on prices of basic commodities and ensure the country holds together after a divisive poll.

“On behalf of the Judiciary, I wish all Kenyans and people living within our country a very blessed, peaceful and prosperous new year.  I join everyone to give thanks for our resilience and endurance in 2022. We overcame very difficult challenges and a very tense and difficult election year,” said Chief Justice Martha Koome. “As a judiciary we are keen on ensuring efficient delivery of justice to all especially to clear the backlog of cases and reaching out to the marginalised in far flung areas,” Chief Justice Martha Koome said.

The Chief Justice said the recruited of 20 more judges of the High Court will go a long way in ensuring justice is served on time.

“We are grateful the High court has an additional 20 Judges who will boast our capacity. I recognise that the number of Judges is still low but plead for patience from stakeholders as the JSC is painstakingly undertaking its mandate of recruitment,” said Koome

She added that more High court registries and mobile courts will be established countrywide to increase access to justice. Bungoma Governor Ken Lusaka thanked the people of Bungoma for electing him, saying he will now be embarking on delivering promises he made.

Lusaka said he is confident that 2023 will be a good year as compared to 2022 that had many challenges such as the high cost of living, drought and a tense electioneering period.

“From January 3, we will be in the field working for the people of Bungoma. Already we have given out the tender for fertilizer and we shall be distributing it out to farmers early next year in preparation for the long rains season. We will also be tarmacking 23 new roads and finish pending projects like the Brigadier – Naitiri road, Kanduyi stadium and the 300 bed maternity hospital,” said Lusaka. 

He went on: “I will employ 245 healthcare workers, ECDE and Tvet teachers. We will also be rolling out the scholarship programme for needy students who sat for 2022 KCPE exams. We want to invest more in education so that we can prepare the future of the next generation,” said Lusaka. Tharaka Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki described 2022 as an year that had bad memories but very magical moments.

“We also had the toughest political season in Kenya,” added Njuki saying he was looking forward to a 2023 that will be defining to laying the foundation for the Hustler nation.

Poll manifesto

“For us, it is all systems go. This will be the year to implement the Kenya Kwanza manifesto without excuses because we already have everything and everyone in place,” said Njuki.

He said the Council of Governors (CoG) and the Health committee which he chaired was determined to avert disruption of the Health sector by engaging the workforce on pending labour disputes.

“We continue to seek an amicable solution to an impending strike notice by the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentist Union (KMPDU) as we engage on the way forward,” said Njuki. Kiambu governor Kimani Wamatangi said his government had spent the past four months addressing the county’s wage bill. He also decried the pending bills of Sh7 billion including Sh2 billion incurred in 2021 alone.

Wamatangi has promised to prioritise county bursary allocation doubling the annual spend to Sh200 mill in in a supplementary budget in the first month of 2023.

“We are assembling two road construction equipment one covering the Kiambu East sub counties and another one for the West sub counties to fix all the roads.

“The county will install cabro block making machinery in selected polytechnics and kick off production of its own materials to fix all roads in the towns starting with the largest 10,” said Wamatangi.

He also promised to install solar street lighting in the towns in the area and use the first three months to enroll all residents for the Universal Health Coverage Scheme.

Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa thanked the residents for giving him a mandate in the last elections.

“We have seamlessly constituted a county cabinet and appointed chief officers and other senior officials who to implement his six point agenda.

“This is the year when all devolved units must maximise on identified revenue streams through automation to increase on own source revenue. Kakamega county, for example targets to raise Sh3 billion up from Sh1.2 billion to help complete ongoing projects and initiate new ones,” said Barasa.

As the chairman of the County of Governors Finance Committee, he hoped the national government would not delay disbursements of equitable share this year.

Nyambene Miraa Traders Association (Nyamita), the most vocal lobby for miraa trade issued a two-page 22-point wish list for the industry in 2023. The lobby said top on its list was to get the Ministry of Agriculture to constitute a Board for Agriculture and Food Authority (Afa) and the Crops (Miraa) Regulations 2022 and Miraa Code of Practice enforced in full. “We also wish to have a distinct budge for miraa under the Directorate including a specific allocation for the Miraa Research Institute and the Miraa Crop Revitalisation Project under the national government revived to complete infrastructure projects,” said Nyamita chairman Kimathi Munjuri.

Export market

Munjuri added that the industry wished to have a renegotiation of the trade terms with its main export market in Somalia that would see a contentious US$4.5 per kilogramme commission removed and also the removal of miraa from negative listing by Kenya Airport Authority (KAA) and Kenya Railways which prevented consumption on train and flights even within Kenya and its movement within the country allowed like any other crop.

According to Bertha Lutome, a photographer, she is looking forward to stepping into the year 2023 in style, full of energy and hope after the tough economic times that were experienced globally, due to the Covid-19 pandemic and long electioneering period.

“My expectation for the new year is to advance my career and use my photography skills to tell compelling stories through the lens. I am also optimistic that we will experience positive economic trends that will make life bearable for most Kenyans,” said Ms Lutome.

She hopes that those in authority will empower Kenyan youth to be job creators and not job seekers, by promoting Kenyan creative industry. 

Meshack Onzere Mulongo, the Vihiga County Executive in Department of Gender, Culture, Youth, Sports, Children and Social Services said that 2022 was relatively a good year for him after he achieved the resolutions he made when the year was starting.

Onzere said that being nominated as a county minister by area Governor Wilber Ottichilo, it was like a dream come true for him to serve the people of Vihiga.

“As we cross over to 2023, I am looking forward to help the governor deliver to some of the promises he made in his reelection campaigns. My department deals with the youth and I am determined to ensure all their needs are addressed,” said Onzere.

According to Truphena Itemere, a Nairobi business woman who deals with courier services said that her goal in 2023 is to make more money through her ventures, make more networks and attract more customers to her businesses.

“I also aim to interact with my clients to understand both their needs and perceptions about our brand.”