2020

 


Fellow Kenyans,

As we come to the end of the Year 2020 and we usher in the New Year - 2021, my family and I are today delighted to convey our best wishes to all Kenyans at home and abroad.

Fellow Kenyans,

The dawn of a New Year is not just a calendar event that marks the passage of time. It symbolizes transition, renewed hope, new opportunities and limitless possibilities. A New Year brings with it the chance for rebirth, renewal as well as restoration.

But we cannot experience the ‘newness’ of a new year without a renewal of minds. I say so because you cannot seize the opportunities and limitless possibilities of 2021, if we are stuck in the mind-set of the old year 2020 and the previous years.

This year just ending has tested all of us immensely – individually as well as collectively as a nation – it has tested us in ways we have never experienced before; we have experienced many individual as well as collective tragedies. But, it has also been one of numerous unstated individual as well as collective triumphs; for in the moment of adversity lay also the seeds of opportunity.

Fellow Kenyans,

As the pandemic spread across the world, our homes transformed into protective incubation capsules for those that we love. Like returning to a mother's womb, our walls became the hiding place, sheltering us from COVID-19; and we depended on this space for everything. Our homes became our places of worship, they became our schools, our playgrounds, our places of work. The pandemic has no doubt stretched us and the way we orient our families and indeed on the way we live.

Caught in the middle of this new normal were our children who missed the joy of the playground and the happiness they experience while learning together. They have been trying hard to adopt to the restricted way of living; while many have been able to adapt, survive and some even thrive, some felt trapped and unfortunately buckled.

So fellow Kenyans, in this New Year, we need to look deep into the heart of the family. We need to invest time in helping our children come out of this situation, and come out of it, stronger in character. It will take each father, each mother and each child, to truly listen to each other, and place the interest of the family front and centre. For as we do everything to make sure that the coronavirus disease doesn't damage the bodies, we must now also do everything to ensure that it doesn't ravage our souls.

And so tonight, to all our children, I speak to you as a father; I speak to you as a grandfather. To our teenagers, hold yourself together. Gather the strength, the gifts, the talents and the energy within yourself; and harness it. Do not throw away your youth, your potential to the harrowing the wind. If you will remain focused, and true to yourself and to your values, you will indeed overcome. You will, indeed, rise, be better and build better.

Fellow Kenyans,

Just like our children, the business community was also caught up in the middle of this new normal. We have had more shut downs in business and less start-ups. But, I believe that this down-turn is an opportunity to re-imagine our business models and embrace innovation. Yes, indeed, I do believe that the year 2021 is the year of rebuilding.

Therefore, in the New Year - 2021, I urge every Kenyan to adjust their mind-set and to embrace the spirit of renewal and hope, possibilities, growth as well as triumph. For in each and every Kenyan lies unimaginable depth of greatness just waiting to come to the fore.

The New Year presents a unique opportunity in the life of our nation to re-imagine our society, bring back the family to the centre of our communities, and re-build a gentler, and indeed kinder, Kenya.

And, YES it is true, we cannot wish away the woes of 2020, but if we change our perspective, there is no doubt that we can bounce back and bounce back better. I know that we cannot reverse our losses, but we can rebuild what we had before the onset of COVID-19.

But, fellow Kenyans, we must always remember that re-building requires a renewal of the mind and sheer boldness. Those who embrace the two virtues will, no doubt, prosper in 2021.

With the New Year, anticipated as the year of rebuilding, the year of re-taking lost territory and the year of bold decisions, we also call upon you, our fellow Kenyans, to also embrace it as the Year of the First Amendment.

As I said in my Madaraka Day as well as my Mashujaa and Jamhuri Day addresses this year, the country is staring at a constitutional moment. And you all know that in a constitutional moment, the Soul of the Nation is constantly in turmoil. More so over elections and the perpetual quest for regime change.

The proposed First Amendment to our Constitution in 2021, I believe, is a bold path that seeks to lay the foundation for a more just, more inclusive, more equitable and more prosperous Kenya. It also seeks to make right our politics by eliminating “Winner Takes All” and replacing it with “We All Win”.

As we close 2020, and indeed on behalf of a grateful Nation, I wish to recognize and thank our medics, our healthcare workers, our security forces for their exemplary courage and sacrifice during the continued COVID-19 pandemic. Each and every one of them is a hero in our eyes.

Fellow Kenyans,

On the 4th of January 2021, all our Learners will resume their schooling; with in-person classes and this is from inception class, all the way to those offered by tertiary learning institutions. I wish them all well and I want to assure them and their parents, as well as their guardians that my Government will do everything in its power to ensure their health and safety remains our foremost consideration.

To every farmer, teacher, artisan, artist, to every worker and entrepreneur, to every innovator and to every investor; I wish to assure you that 2021 is the year of Building Back Better, building back better for opportunity, building back better for reclaiming lost ground, and for realizing greater growth as well as opportunity and possibility.

Again, I wish every Kenyan, whether at home or abroad, a blessed and indeed prosperous New Year. In 2021, we will as individual families, and as a People, cast aside the shackles of 2020. We will overcome the hurdles that were placed in our path in 2020 and start a new leap into the New Year, a year I believe will be one of limitless opportunities.

In 2021, I am certain that we have the courage to do what we must, what is necessary; at the end of the year we will look back and remark at how 2021 was a momentous year in our nation’s history.

May the GOD of ALL CREATION Bless you all at HOME and in the DIASPORA. May He Bless our country Kenya and May He bring GOOD TIDINGS in the New Year.

I thank you.

ISSUED on this 31st Day of December, 2020

Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta, CGH

President.


Have you noticed that Kenyans have acquired a new but unfortunate culture of not telling the truth?

This is more so when they expect sympathy from well-wishers. Whenever well-wishers come out to help the needy and the vulnerable in the society, quite a big percentage of those who turn up for the food rations are never deserving. Someone will come for that unga and shout hoarse how they are dying of hunger but the truth is that they are able to feed themselves, with some even having stocked more than enough food in their houses.

This case scenario replicates itself when it comes to bursary allocation. Most of those who go for the bursaries are well to do people, people who can afford to pay school fees, denying this vital help from reaching to those who most deserve it.

Notwithstanding, ask a Kenyan to meet their obligations such as paying their bills, rent, loans or even school fees.... Over 90% of them will have a reason to justify why they should be exempted from doing so, even when they do have the money to do so.

This year, the biggest scapegoat was COVID-19. The scourge was in most cases used as an excuse to escape from meeting their obligation, even for those who lived like kings when away from their debtors.

Come January, I believe COVID-19 will still be used as an excuse to be pardoned from paying school fees, paying rent or any other obligations. This is despite the fact that yesterday (Christmas Day), very many of the same people spent fortunes to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

Entertainment joints were packed to capacity with some even seeking extra space to accommodate the never ending flow of revelers.

Supermarkets have been a beehive of activities for the last few days. The major highways were locked for the last two days as people traveled upcountry for the festivities. Majority of these vehicles were self-drive car hires, notwithstanding those travelling in PSVs, paying a fortune in fares.

In the village, these guys had a point to prove to their peers upcountry.... that they had made it life and could "chafua" the tables till morning.
Another situation where Kenyans exhibit their lying prowess is when they find themselves on the wrong side of the law... Hapo they will never admit being in the wrong and they will always have something or someone to blame and in most cases, the blame will be thrown to the enforcers of the law.

These days, it has been very hard to believe anyone.... Always forcing one to live with some benefit of doubt. Kenyans have learnt to say the opposite of what they really mean. Ukiamini Wakenya saana utajipata umewachwa kwa mataa.


I recently overheard a conversation between two elderly men in one of the eateries in Thika that really got me interested and juggled my mind.

The conversation centred around the state of the Kenyan economy and the behaviour of young people whenever they start earning a living.

According to the duo, the Kenyan economy was very healthy but the problem was really on the young people's mindset and their misplaced priorities.

They argued that whenever they started earning, young people rushed to spend their money on consumables instead of investments; They will buy big cars, rent expensive houses, spend most their money on luxuries (beer and expensive but needless trips) as well as living beyond their means so as to impress their peers and prove to them that they had already made it in life.

These wazees also pointed out how the youth exhaust all their resources trying to outdo each other during events such as dowries, weddings and visits to their folks in the village. In the end, they end up living heavily in debts and so dependent on loans so as to "maintain their status.
The stress and disappointments that follow make them lose the value of work. This is where they start blaming everyone for their own mess. They will blame their employers whom they will accuse of paying them "peanuts", the government, the leaders and everyone else that they presume is doing well.

This situation leads them into temptations and they cave into corruption or stealing. Others will turn to betting and gambling as a "quick fix" to salvage what they have lost or "to be as rich" as their peers or maintain their "class".

By bad luck, if they end up losing their jobs (or if their businesses collapse), most of them find themselves without a fallout plan; no savings, no investments .... other than big cars, expensive house rents, designer clothes and such like luxuries that eventually drag them into more depression.

The two seniors concluded that the kind of infrastructure being invested by the government were avenues to untapped opportunities and that if well taken advantage of by the people, could benefit them a lot. They argued that infrastructural development only opened up so many opportunities in the affected area.

In conclusion they said, "If you lose a step in your youth, you will eventually end up in a very miserable old age, trying up hustles that are way out of your age bracket."

Do you agree with these two gentlemen ama wanaona zao?


Starehe Foundation FC from Hospital Ward won the inaugural Thika Town NG-CDF men's football trophy by beating Destiny FC from Kamenu Ward 3-1 on post-match penalties after a 1-1 draw in regulation time in the finals played at Thika Technical Institute Grounds on Sunday.

The win saw Starehe FC pocket KES. 75,000, carry home the trophy and and a ball. This was on top of the KES. 20,000 they received for being top in their Ward.

The runners-up went home with KES. 50,000 (plus the KES. 20,000 for being top in their ward) and a ball.

The ladies trophy went to Kiambu Ladies FC from Township Ward who beat Commando Ladies FC from Kamenu Ward 2-0 in the Finals.

In volleyball men's final, Kiganjo from Kamenu Ward beat Dynamites Kisii from Kamenu Ward in straight sets while Dynamites Kisii (Kamenu) beat CBD 3-0 (Township) to emerge winners in the ladies category.

In a colourful ceremony graced by the Thika Town MP Eng. Patrick Wainaina, all the four finalists and the top four teams winners in each of the five Ward went home with cash prizes and a ball each.

All other participating teams were given a ball. 

108 teams from all the 5 wards of Thika Town Constituency, 98 for men and 10 for ladies, participated in the football tournament. Volleyball attracted 35 teams.


While speaking during the presentation of the trophies and prizes, Eng. Wainaina who is the tournament's patron urged the government to increase its allocation on the CDF sports kitty from the current KES. 1.5 million to at least KES. 10 million to help more constituencies venture in talent development.

He added that the government needed to give sporting activities a premium priority in its budgetary allocations to enable the sportsmen and women train and use quality equipment in order to march their global competitors.

"From what I've seen here it goes without a doubt that Thika has immensely talented youths. We have the potential but we've not exploited it," he said.

"Sports is a base for economic empowerment and through Jungle Foundation we want to ensure that these players can access funds to help them improve their lives and concentrate on sports. We will organise them into small saving groups and give them access to credit facilities," added Wainaina.

The legislator however challenged the youth to be innovative and come up with ideas to create their own employment. While noting that employment opportunities were very hard to find, the MP urged the youth to form groups and start small enterprises that would create employment for themselves and enable them become independent.

Wainaina also challenged the government to come up with a more sustainable and long-term plans to improve the on the "Kazi Mtaani" Programme which he said would go a long way in solving the problem of unemployment in the country if well thought of and comprehensively structured.


Prof. Deogratius Jaganyi is the new Mount Kenya University (MKU) Vice-Chancellor (VC). 

Prof Jaganyi, who reports on January 4, 2021, will be the university’s 2nd Vice-Chancellor to replace Prof Stanley Waudo, who has diligently served them since its inception in 2008. 

Prof Waudo has served two full terms of 5 years each. However, due to his sterling leadership, the university awarded him extension of service.

Prof Jaganyi will provide stewardship towards achieving the university’s Mission, Vision and strategic goals for the benefit of stakeholders.

ACADEMIC AND RESEARCH EXPERIENCE

Prof Jaganyi, a distinguished scholar and leader, is a full Professor with a PhD in Physical Chemistry obtained in 1992 from Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, University of London, England.

A National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa rated researcher, Prof Jaganyi has:

• Won over $1 million in grants for his competitive research proposals.

• Supervised 42 Honours, 31 MSc, 12 PhD students and 4 postdoctoral scholars.

• In the last 25 years been external and internal examiner of postgraduate students at PhD and Masters levels.

• Published 105 articles, 93 of them in peer-reviewed international journals, with more under review. He has written over 90 conference abstracts.

• Presented his research findings at local and international conferences. His research work has also appeared in some high impact journals, such as Nature.

• Developed and reviewed a number of research partnership agreements.

WORK EXPERIENCE

• More than 10 years’ senior leadership and management experience. He rose from Deputy Dean in the Faculty of Science and Agriculture to Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science (DVC- HoC CAES)) at the University of Kwa Zulu-Natal (UKZN).

 His responsibilities included grant mobilisation and management, research project management, data and research dissemination, and diverse training, just to mention a few.

• Served on the Boards of the UKZN affiliated institutes: The Sugar Milling Research Institute (SMRI); the Institute for Commercial Forestry Research (ICFR); and Msunduzi Innovation and Development Institute (MIDI).

• Member of various committees at college, university and national levels, on matters relating to research, teaching and learning and general university issues while at UKZN.

• A Trustee of the Msunduzi Innovation and Development Institute (MIDI) and has chaired the internationally funded Boards of African Centre for Crop Improvement (ACCI) and Centre for Water Resources Research (CWRR).

• Recipient of various awards, including the 2010 University of KwaZulu-Natal, Distinguished Teachers Award.

TASKS

• Provide strategic leadership in the implementation of the University’s teaching and learning mandate through consistent provision of relevant academic programmes delivered in innovative settings, including enhanced e-learning as supported by state-of-the-art ICT infrastructure and technologies.

• Enhance the University’s status as a premier Research and Innovation institution dedicated to the generation, dissemination and preservation of knowledge that effectively addresses the challenges facing communities, so as to transform lives. MKU is among the top 10 universities in research funding, and its research grants have grown from the internal Ksh1 million Board of Trustees’ Research grant to the current Ksh700 million won nationally and internationally.

• Plan, develop and implement strategic institutional linkages, a pillar supporting the internationalisation of the University.

• Oversee the implementation of the University’s 2020-2029 Strategic Plan.

• Consolidate the University’s campuses into Centres of Excellence and ensure the proposed Mount Kigali University


Kiambu County Government has kicked off a major crackdown against unlicensed liquor outlets, those that failed to comply with Alcoholic Drinks Act and COVID-19 protocols.

On Monday, several liquor operators were arrested for flouting these regulations in a police raid the Witeithie OCS  Martin Murimi.

Juja sub-county administrator Selina Murithii said the move was meant to contain the skyrocketing spread of covid-19 and also level the business playground.

While addressing liquor traders from Witeithie, Juja Sub-County Administrator Selina Murithii said that the move was aimed at containing the spread of COVID-19 in the region.

Among the prime targets were traders operating without 2020 license, those not adhering to COVID-19 protocols and all illegal wine and spirit joints. Others were traders who sold alcohol outside the prescribed times.

“You should prepare yourself to pay for this year's and next year's licenses plus penalty for default.” she warned those operating without valid licences.

“If you are operating a wine and spirit outlet that is selling its product in pieces, kindly stop. Only wholesale operators selling bulk products will be allowed to do business,” she added.

Among those present included the area MCA Julius Macharia Taki, Witeithie senior chief Muchui Muiruri and OCS Martin Murimi.


FELLOW KENYANS, 

HAPPY JAMHURI DAY! 

Today, we commemorate 57 years of our independence and nationhood as a People. On this day, in 1963; the Union Jack of Britain came down and we hoisted our beautiful National Flag. On the same day in 1964, the Dominion of Kenya became an independent Republic. And that same night, the British Governor of Kenya departed from our land, marking the end of 78 years of colonial rule. On that memorable day, the journey to create, build and nurture a nation commenced. 

As we celebrate our independence day today, we must also pay allegiance to the two symbols of our nationhood. Both our National Anthem and the National Flag were gifted to us by the Founding Fathers as representations of our nationhood. 

The National Anthem was composed from a Pokomo lullaby as a prayer by an expectant nation; a celebration of the fertility of our land; and a call to action whenever anything Kenyan is threatened. And this is why each time the nation gathers, our opening act is always the singing of this beautiful anthem. 

On its part, the National Flag is a symbol of our national wounds and the scars we bear from the struggle we started 100 years ago in the 1920s. It is a picture of the battles we fought; those we won and those we lost. 

It is a picture of the dreams our Founding Fathers held dear and the price they had to pay for us to realize them. Let the record reflect, therefore, that our National Flag is not just a piece of cloth decorated with ink; or a sentimental display of colours without history. 

Our National Flag is, indeed, a historical record of our nationhood, its origins and the aspirations of our Founding Fathers. Each time we salute and pay allegiance to the Black Band of our flag, we must do it as a mark of our dignity. Indeed, the struggle for independence was primarily a struggle for dignity. And dignity was not about skin colour; it was about a state of mind. 

In their documented memoires, our Founding Fathers did not define ‘blackness’ in reference to skin colour. They defined ‘blackness’ as an attitude. An attitude that rejected the elevation of one race over another. A state of mind that scorned at the thought that one human being could be termed better than the other because of race, class or gender. And this is the mantra of blackness that defines us as a people to-date; unifying us in our ethnic, racial, religious and cultural diversity. 

We also pay homage to the Red Band of our National Flag. It symbolizes the boldness of those who stepped into the arena, did a duty to country, and paid the ultimate price. Today, we salute and acclaim those Heroes of our liberation that died to give us this Jamhuri Day. 

Similarly, we salute and hail our fallen Heroes in the defence and security forces who have paid the ultimate price in order to preserve our peace, sovereignty and way of life. 3 May the God of all creation bless the departed souls of all our Heroes.

 May He give their families and descendants comfort and pride, knowing that the sacrifices they made are a badge of honour in the making of our nationhood. We salute and pay allegiance to the Green Band of our National Flag. 

It is a prayer made by our Founding Fathers; that the future of our nation will always have plenty within its borders. And that at all times, Kenya will be a bountiful, fruitful and fertile nation. But fundamentally, the Green Band on our flag is an instruction from our Founding Fathers for each generation to hold in trust the bounties of our nation and to leave a just inheritance for our children and their children. 

On this day, we also salute and pay homage to the two Bands of White on our National Flag. They are the glue that holds all the other bands together, symbolizing our unity and oneness. They remind us that, although we are 44 separate nations, we are one people; a rainbow nation of many colours. 

The two Bands of White on our National Flag are therefore a symbol of our nationhood. They remind us that whenever we hoist the National Flag, we must not see the Flag; we must only see the nation of many colours.

But our National Flag has one more image: a shield and two spears mounted in the middle. It is a symbol that instructs us to stand firm and defend our Homeland of Kenya, the “Heritage of Splendor”, against any threats internally and externally.

Fellow Kenyans, Today, the day we hoisted our independence flag 57 years ago, we are called upon to reflect on the extent to which we have delivered on the dreams and aspirations of our Founding Fathers. They taught us that our nation is not a finished work; it will always be a work in progress. 

And our nationhood is not a static idea frozen in time. It is an evolving project that needs constant 4 re-engineering. Every so often, we are called to re-imagine it and adjust it to a higher ideal. To do this, we cannot be comfortable with the allure of the status quo. If, indeed, our nationhood is good, we must strive to make it better. And when it gets better, our children must not rest until they move it from better to best. 

The making of our nation is not a destination; it is a journey. Each generation must travel this journey and leave Kenya better than they found it. And our Founding Fathers taught us this by example. In 1965, the independence government led by Mzee Jomo Kenyatta put its dreams on paper. They called it Sessional Paper No. 10 on “African Socialism and its Application to Planning in Kenya”. 

This blueprint inspired Sessional Paper No. 1 of 1986 on “Economic Management for Renewed Growth” under Mzee Daniel arap Moi. In June 2003, Mzee Mwai Kibaki improved on the previous development blueprints and came up with a national strategy paper known as Economic Recovery Strategy for Wealth and Employment Creation. 

This strategy was transitional running between 2003 and 2007. And on June 10th 2008, it gave birth to the Vision 2030. Each generation of leaders in this process understood that Kenya was a work in progress. They built and improved on the platforms left by the previous leader. They had to make better what others had done. 

And this is the logic behind the Big Four. It is not a project; it is a process. It is a framework, which I have used to organize the delivery of Government services in order to improve on what previous Presidents did. 5 And as I explained during my State of the Nation Address on November 12th 2020, the Big Four builds on the intentions of previous administrations. 

It singles out the intents that run through our history, and are relevant today. It focuses on four intents of our liberation struggle and the aspirations of our Founding Fathers. The first one is liberating our people from the poverty of dignity caused by inadequate services. 

The second is transitioning our people, especially the youth, from being ‘earners of wages’ to ‘owners of capital’ no matter how rudimentary. And this is why I am investing in the Boda Boda movement whose plan is to build capital through a ritual of daily savings they have called Kidogo Kidogo. 

The third is jump-starting the shift from being a country of net consumption to one of net production. And the fourth is building a holistic base of human capital that is food secure and health assured. On liberating our people from the poverty of dignity and making them health assured, a good example is the work of the Nairobi Metropolitan Services.

During one of my inspection visit to Mukuru kwa Reuben, an informal settlement in Nairobi, I was saddened to learn that 500,000 people were being served by a private health facility, which had only 8 maternity beds. A woman giving birth in this facility cannot be admitted for more than two hours. In fact, after giving birth, she has to get out in one or two hours in order to give way for other patients. The only time she can stay for a day is if she has complications and cannot be transferred immediately to a better facility. 

If this is not poverty of dignity, what is it? To resolve this embarrassment, I instructed the Nairobi Metropolitan Services to build 24 level 2 and level 3 hospitals in the informal settlements. I note with satisfaction that NMS is on course to deliver the facilities by end of January, 2021. The idea is to take health services as close to the people as is possible. 

And 6 with the completion of the 24 new hospitals, we will have increased the bed capacity in Nairobi’s informal settlements by 280. But nationally, and as I said during my 24th September, 2020 Address to the Nation on COVID-19, we have done more. 

When we were afflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic in March this year, we had only 8 infectious diseases ICU beds countrywide. Seven days after the first COVID case was discovered, we were able to increase this bed capacity to 60. 

Today, we have 827 infectious diseases ICU beds up from 8 beds in March this year. During my Twelfth Address on Coronavirus Pandemic on 24th September, 2020, we had 7,411 isolation beds nationally. And this was achieved in only six months. 

But three months later, in December, 2020, this number has tripled and now stands at 20,910 isolation beds. These achievements cannot be gainsaid. In fact, in a very short period, we have installed medical equipment never seen in this country since independence. 

And by March 2021, once the K.U. Hospital’s Integrated Molecular Imaging Centre is completed, there will no longer be need for any Kenyan to travel abroad in search of specialized Cancer Treatment. Our capacity will handle most medical conditions treated abroad. 

Coupled with the expanded county healthcare infrastructure, we intend to use our new capacity to promote medical tourism from neighbouring countries, and to roll out Universal Healthcare under the Big Four Programme. Although we have some challenges in the health sector, we must remember that our endeavours are a work in progress. 

Building a robust healthcare infrastructure at the county level has to go hand in hand with protecting our health workers as well. And my Government is working on it. 

 7 I will never tire of thanking our healthcare workers for their dedication and selflessness, amid the greatest public health challenge of the modern era. Their professionalism, excellence, unfailing commitment to their sacred oath and their sacrifices, must be reciprocated by Kenyans acting responsibly amid the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

On creating a robust population of ‘Owners of Capital’ who are more than the ‘Earners of Wages’, my Administration has made its attempts, especially during the COVID-19 crisis. We began by cushioning small-scale businesses through fiscal and monetary policy measures. These include the implementation of the Eight Point Economic Stimulus Programme of KSh. 56.6 billion. 

I unveiled this as part of the national response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. And, together with other fiscal policy measures, it has mitigated the adverse economic effects of the pandemic on businesses. These interventions bolstered purchasing power and increased earnings. Similarly, businesses were saved by our reduction of the corporate tax rate; incentivizing them to retain their staff establishment. But fundamentally, these fiscal measures, coupled with monetary policy measures have had a positive impact on businesses in many ways.

Lowering of Central Bank rate from 8.25% to 7.0% has made credit easily available to businesses. And, the lowering of the cash reserve ratio from 5.25% to 4.25% has provided extra liquidity to the banking sector. This has availed liquidity to the tune of KSh. 35 billion, further enhancing greater access to credit.

The dividends of these monetary policy interventions are manifest in the general reduction in the cost of credit, which now stands at its lowest rate at 11.7% compared to 1980 when it was 12%, shuttering a forty-year record. 

8 Further, my Administration recognizes the significant contributions made by micro, small and medium-sized businesses enterprises towards our economy; with the sector accounting for nearly 80% of our country’s employment and output. It is, however, evident that lack of adequate and affordable credit is a significant encumbrance for MSMEs. 

Due to their inability to raise collateral, it has been difficult for these enterprises to expand and realize their full potential. Aware of this fact, and working together with our commercial banks, the Government has established a KSh. 100 Billion Credit Guarantee Scheme to provide partial mitigation of the default risks associated with micro, small and medium-sized business enterprises. 

The aim of this initiative is to enable these business enterprises access affordable credit and protect the jobs they have created. To share in the benefits of the shared risk between the Government and the participating banks, I urge the partnering financial institutions to levy interest at single digit on all facilities extended to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises under the Credit Guarantee Scheme. 

Additionally, and to make it easier for our micro and small traders to engage in international trade, we have established a dedicated Transit Shed at the Kenya Railways, Nairobi; dedicated as the clearing point for cargo imported specifically by micro and small traders. This will not only eliminate delays in clearing of goods which lead to higher costs, but will also allow easier push to market as well as joint importations. With these interventions, micro and small traders will realize higher turnovers and have an even greater opportunity to thrive and expand.

Fellow Kenyans, Being mindful of the benefits of devolution to our people, my Administration has strived to empower the county governments. 9 Indeed, since the dawn of devolution in 2013, over KSh. 2.1 trillion has been disbursed to the county Governments in form of equitable share from revenues raised nationally, conditional allocations from the National Government share of revenue, as well as from proceeds of loans and grants from development partners. All these interventions have not only strengthened devolution, but also served to build local business enterprises.

Regarding the Big Four aspiration of shifting Kenya from a net consumer to a net producer as aspired by our Founding Fathers, we have made some good progress. To ensure that Kenyan exports continue to have access to the foreign markets, as a Government, we have successfully concluded negotiations for an Economic Partnership Agreement with United Kingdom that will secure long-term duty free and quota-free access to the UK for our products. 

To expand the frontiers and opportunities for our people, negotiations are also underway for a Free Trade Agreement with the United State of America. Once concluded, that Free Trade Agreement will be the first between US and a country in Sub-Saharan Africa. And, as testament that this is a shift in a profitable direction, earnings from Tea from January 2020 to October 2020 placed Kenya as the 3rd largest tea producer in the world. As we seek to diversify our agricultural portfolio, we have also supported new cash crops such as avocado; where we are now the 7th largest producer globally and the top country on the continent. 

But, we cannot achieve all of this if we do not have a holistic base of human capital. You cannot build a nation without building its people first. A holistic nation is one that is secure in its basic needs. Food security, safe drinking water, decent housing and quality education are basic needs that are also critical planks of the Big Four. 

10 On food security, the country is inching slowly towards sufficiency. As of this year, maize production is projected to rise by 12.7% while that of potatoes is projected to go up by 19.8%. Regarding safe drinking water, the record is even better. When we started the Nairobi Metropolitan Services, for instance, we learnt that each household in the informal settlements consumes an average of 80 litres of water per day at the average price of KSh. 40 per day. 

Water consumption alone represented about 10% of the daily earnings of the settlement dwellers. Then, I instructed the Nairobi Metropolitan Services to sink 93 boreholes in 100 days so that we can provide free water to the settlement dwellers. The demand for this service pushed us to sink an extra 100 boreholes, bringing our total boreholes in the Nairobi Metropolitan area to 193. These boreholes have a capacity to produce 41 million litres of water a day and are currently serving 2 million informal settlement dwellers with free water.

Collectively, this saves them millions of shillings liberating their finances for better use. And this is how transformative the work of NMS has been to the residents of our nation’s capital. But nationally, we are on course to foster access to safe water and by 2021, the national water coverage will stand at 80% while sewerage coverage will be at 40%. 

In 2021, the area under irrigation will be 450,000 acres; significantly boosting our agricultural output. Regarding land and housing, yesterday, I assented into law the Sectional Properties Bill, which seeks to deepen the reforms we are undertaking in the lands sector and thus improving the vibrancy of land as a factor of prosperity and development in Kenya. 

By promoting sectional ownership, we are empowering more Kenyans to own homes by reducing the unit cost of housing, 11 especially in our urban areas where land pressures are highest, further fueling a sector that continues to redefine the skyline of our cities and townships across the country. On education as a critical plank of a holistic population, we have done a lot. But because of the challenges of COVID-19, we have been slowed down. And that is why the Ministry of Education, in consultation with the Ministry of Health, has developed sector-specific protocols and guidelines to facilitate the re-opening of all learning institutions. 

We remain on course for the resumption of learning in all classes effective 4th January, 2021; with the safety of our young learners being our top priority. In that regard, and in line with the policy of the Government on universal and compulsory basic education for all children of up to 18 years, all parents and guardians are required to facilitate their children to resume learning in January 2021. To ensure compliance with this directive, and to guarantee that no child is left behind, I hereby order and direct as follows:

 (i) That the Ministry of Interior and Co-ordination of National Government shall, through all Chiefs and Assistant Chiefs, account for all children within the jurisdiction of those officers and also ensure that all children report back to school in January 2021;

 (ii) That the Ministry of Education shall receive reports from all primary and secondary schools in Kenya, regardless of the system of education they deliver, on the identity and details of any child or children who have not reported back to school as directed; and

 (iii) That the Ministry of Education shall re-issue and publicize the Education Policy on School Re-Entry; so as to facilitate the re-admission of all those who may not be able to report back due to pregnancy.

Fellow Kenyans, I have spoken about our history and our nationhood; and, I have given an account of where we are today. But now, you must allow me to talk about the future. The future of any nation is built on its history. And, this is so because history is a faithful compass to the future. As one statesman said, “…the further backward we look, the further forward we are likely to see”. 

When the Founding Fathers put together our nation, they did it by entering into a nationalist covenant. This covenant was an unwritten understanding on what they believed to be good for Kenya. It was a dream and a prayer; but above all, it was the embodiment of the spirit of the nation. It bound one to all and all to one. And, it demanded that all of us pay duty and allegiance to this informal agreement. Then at Lancaster House, in the 1960s, this unwritten covenant between the 44 nations of Kenya was put on paper as our independence Constitution. 

But our Founding Fathers cautioned us that, what was put on paper was the Letter of the Constitution. It must never become more important than the Spirit behind the Constitution. They further emphasized that, the Spirit of our Constitution was Justice. And that Justice was also the Spirit of God. The guiding light for our nationhood must, therefore always remain the Spirit of Justice. And, when the Spirit behind our Constitution disagrees with the Letter used to write it, the Letter must be changed. 

Our Founding Fathers believed that Kenya will become a great nation if we serve only the Spirit behind our Constitution. If we become prisoners to the unbending and time-bound Letter of the Constitution, we will invite discord and chaos in the midst of our nation. And this is because Kenyans are not made to serve the Constitution. The Constitution is made to serve Kenyans. 

Fellow Kenyans, If change is indeed inevitable at appointed intervals, how shall we discern the moments that call for change? How shall we know that our nationhood is in crisis and that the Letter of our Constitution is out of touch with the Spirit of our Nation? We must go back to Lessons from Lancaster and use history as our compass. 

Our Founding Fathers taught us to discern such moments. They taught us that, you know you have a constitutional moment when the soul of the nation is constantly in turmoil. If there is national ‘instability’ every five years because of an election, this is a sign that the nation is on the edge of a new constitutional frontier. 

If it takes an absurd 123 days to conduct an election or one-third of a year, like we did in 2017, this is a sign that the moment calls for change. If the country loses 1 trillion shillings during this 123 days of an election, or an equivalent of one-third of our national budget, this is a sign that a moment of reckoning is approaching. And, if every 5 years we lose life and property, including our young ones, this a pointer to constitutional decay. 

It is a sign that the Letter of our Constitution has become rigid and is not in tandem with the deep-seated aspirations of our people. My question to the nation is therefore this: What is wrong with trying to fix such anomalies? 

If Kenyans are not made to serve the Constitution; but the Constitution is made to serve Kenyans, why imprison ourselves with models that are not working? Why run an election for 123 days, with potential to have it extend to one year if the results are nullified repeatedly? And why drain 1 trillion shillings in loses or an equivalent of 1 billion shillings every working hour electing a leader for 123 days? 

Our Founding Fathers urged us to aspire for constitutions of hope and to reject constitutions of fear. A Constitution that elicits compliance by creating fear can only cause disturbance to the soul of the nation. And indeed, when we adopted the 2010 Constitution we were driven by fear. 

Our national spirit had been wounded and we were afraid of repeating the 2007 post-election violence. But, in running away from one crisis, we created another. And, now is the moment to correct this and make a shift from a constitution of fear to a constitution of hope, a constitution that ensures our nation remains stable; and therefore, attractive to both local and foreign investors. 

Fellow Kenyans, BBI proposes amendments to our Constitution to give Kenyans hope for a better nation. It seeks to align the Spirit of our nation with the Letter of our Constitution so that obedience to the Letter of the Constitution is driven by hope and not fear. BBI intends to complete what we started when we adopted the 2010 Constitution and promised to change it later. 

In fact, BBI is the driver to the First Amendment to the 2010 Constitution. And BBI is not a ‘one-size-fit-all’ that promises to settle all the constitutional questions through a singular amendment. It is a starting point to a continuous process of constitution-making for our young nation. 

Even our Founding Fathers had to freeze certain thorny questions at independence, in the hope that subsequent constitution-making processes would resolve them. Their logic then and my rationale today is that, a constitution is a living document; it cannot be rigid. And, to build our nationhood, we must embrace the ideal of a continuous process of constitution-making. 

BBI will not resolve all our constitutional grievances of the day. It is just a First Amendment to the 2010 Constitution. It only attempts to make the 2010 Constitution better. And as we improve on it, we must remember that there will be a Second Amendment, a Third Amendment and many more as our young nation continues to grow. 

We must therefore be guided by the Spirit of the First Amendment to the 2010 Constitution as we debate the BBI proposals. It is a discerning spirit that seeks to align our national aspirations with the Letter of the Constitution. And to be discerning, the Spirit of the First Amendment has to be a questioning one. 

The Spirit of the First Amendment is also a spirit of inclusion, co-creation and justice. On the spirit of inclusion, it does not augur well for our nationhood to have two occupants at the apex of the Executive in the persons of the President and Deputy President. More so, in an ethnically diverse nation as ours, this creates an environment of ‘political exclusion’ resulting in the cyclic violence we have witnessed in every election. 

But if we increase the positions at the apex of our Executive from two to five by introducing a Prime Minister and two Deputies, more communities will be accommodated at the apex. This was the Kofi Annan Consensus of February 2008 that gave us peace. And, if it worked then, it means there was something right about it. 

And yes, five positions at the apex of the Executive means that some people will be left out. This is why BBI proposes to reintroduce the position of Leader of Official Opposition, that was so successful under the former constitutional order. If the opposition carries a large portion of the country and the winner in an election carries another, isn’t there a compelling 16 national interest in giving official recognition to the opposition leader and supporting his office to form a shadow cabinet? 

An expanded Executive and constitutional recognition of the opposition will reduce the notion of ‘political scarcity’ and the propensity for electoral violence every 5 years. Similarly, it will enhance the doctrine of a constitution of hope over a constitution of fear. 

Fellow Kenyans, The Spirit of the First Amendment is also a spirit of cocreation. And this is demonstrated by the system of devolution, which is one of the brilliant designs of the 2010 Constitution. 

The devolved system was engineered by the framers of our Constitution to be a system where the National Government cocreates solutions with county governments. And the fight against COVID-19 has demonstrated the power of this partnership. The First Amendment, therefore, proposes to strengthen this model of co-creation by doing three things.

One, increasing fund allocated to counties by the National Government from 15% to 35%. More money to the counties means more money to the people. 

Two, creating a Ward Development Fund. And the intention here is to take development as close to the people as we can. 

But the third element of co-creation is probably the most compelling. We cannot co-create the devolved system if it is dominated by men. Devolution without women is like a seedless field where nothing grows. That is why the First Amendment proposes a 50:50 ‘shareholding’ of Senate by men and women. 

If 50% of Senate will be made of women, their contribution to a robust devolved system will be felt. This means that they will control half the Senate decisions, including how the upscaled 35% of national resources sent to the counties will be spent. 

And, this is why we must ask the following question here: Who loses if women control 50% of the Senate, its resources and its decisions? Is strengthening devolution through a 50:50 cocreation formula between men and women good for country? Does this formula support a constitution of fear or does it create a constitution of hope? 

Fellow Kenyans, The Spirit of the First Amendment is also a spirit of justice. And by this I mean, justice in representation and justice under the law. Justice in representation is also about inclusion. 

Every Kenyan must have a just and fair avenue for participation in the actions of government. This is not a luxury; it is at the core of our democratic ethos. And that is why the First Amendment proposes an alignment in our representation model to ensure that everyone is accommodated justly. Justice under the law is about the Judiciary as the third Arm of Government. 

To ensure that the will of justice spins fairly for all, and to reduce the distance between the disadvantaged and the law, the Judiciary must be subjected to the will of the people. It must have an oversight body that is a direct expression of the spirit of the nation. If the Executive and Parliament, which are Arms of Government, are a direct expression of the will of the people, whom is the Judiciary accountable to? Where are the Judicial checks and balances located outside of the Judicial Service Commission led and dominated by the officers of the court? 

The First Amendment proposes the setting up an independent Office of the Judiciary Ombudsman to oversight judicial action on behalf of the people. With this formula, the people win and the distance between the disadvantaged and the law is reduced. 

Fellow Kenyans, As I end my address today, I appeal to all within our nation to unshackle our nationhood from the bondage of fear; and to boldly seize this moment of hope. It is time to embrace hope.

In a triumph of hope over fear, in March 2018, I began the journey of improving our nationhood by extending a ‘handshake’ to the Right Hon. Raila Odinga. The ‘handshake’ was a temporary solution to a long-term search. Our joint intention was to have BBI provide us with a roadmap to a long-term solution. 

And even then, this solution was not to become an end in itself. It was meant to be a continuous work-in-progress. More so, because at the core of the ‘handshake’ were the words of Prophet Isaiah when he declared: “…Come, let us reason together!” This mantra of rivals reconciling and reasoning together in the interest of the nation, is what led to BBI. And if this ‘handshake’ endures, I anticipate it will become our New Normal and many future BBIs and ‘handshakes’ will continue to refine our nationhood and ensure that we dwell in unity, peace and liberty. 

In pondering this initiative of reconciliation, we were further inspired by the teachings of Saint Francis of Assisi when he said “...start by doing what is necessary, then it will lead you to what is possible and before you know it, you will find yourself doing the impossible”. The handshake was necessary as a first step to national healing and constitutional alignment. BBI was construed as the possible next step towards reinforcing our nationhood. And once we accomplish the necessary and the possible, then the impossible effortlessly becomes our reality. 

Fellow Kenyans, 19 As we come to the end of what has been an incredibly difficult year, let us exercise caution more so as we interact with family. As we seek sanctuary in family, let us remember that COVID is real. Men, women and children are dying. 

The best gift we can give to our loved ones this Christmas is the gift of life today and the promise of hope and a joyful tomorrow. 

Fellow Kenyans, Merry Christmas. Stay home. Stay Safe. And together let us pray for a new year that sees an end to COVID-19 and delivers for us a bright and prosperous 2021. 

MAY GOD BLESS YOU ALL AND MAY HE BLESS THIS OUR LAND AND NATION.


BY: JUMA HEMEDI

10/12/2020
In the Sunday Nation of 29th November 2020, Professor Peter Kagwanja opined one of the most interesting articles I have read in the recent past. The article was titled “BBI reforms and the quest for new pan-African intellectual leaders” Professor Kagwanja explains in the article, vital lessons that can be drawn from the ideas and intellectual leadership of earlier pan-African leaders. The article was part of a speech he delivered at the meeting during the launch of the pan-African Congress, Kenya Chapter at Nairobi Serena hotel. I invite you to read the ideas and insights.
Many years ago, Nigerian Writer Chinua Achebe reminded us that “the problem of Africa is simply and squarely a failure of leadership and Governance”. And Professor Kagwanja opines that without a high bar for leaders, elections will simply be safe passages to state capture by transactional leaders, including populists, Charlatans, demagogues, goons and outright thieves.
In one of the interviews ever watched, a British billionaire was asked what he looks for before hiring his employees. He answered that he only looks for three things in an individual;
1. Passion
2. Ability and;
3. Integrity
He further went on to say that in the event a candidate has the first two and lacks the last one, he would never hire such a candidate. And if a candidate only has the last one and lacks the first two, he would hire the candidate without hesitation.
In the run up to the 2010 referendum a whole chapter on leadership and integrity was ebbed into the constitution whose intention was to give criteria on what kind of leaders the people of Kenya wanted. The leadership issues were alive in the hearts and minds of Kenyans when issues to do with education qualifications were passed in parliament just before the 2013 polls. The leadership then in its wisdom decided to stay the commencement of the education qualification part for five years, to take effect in the 2017 elections.
Just before the 2017 elections amendments to the election laws were made and once again the education section was differed for another five years to be effected in 2022, interestingly enough the deferments only affected education qualification for members of parliament and members of the county assemblies. Parliament and the county assemblies are tasked with legislation, oversight and representation. Among their other roles include vetting nominees for state appointments and county executives.
Those who watched the vetting of Prof. George Magoha for the education docket, might have noted that, many in the vetting panel were actually mesmerized and marveled at his credentials and extensive resume that spanned many pages like a novel. Few of them if any would match a quarter of what the good professor had presented. Making some of them feel that they probably are not qualified to even sit in the vetting panel to vet the Professor.
What Marvell’s more is our collective sense of passiveness and complacency we have as a people. We ask that a president and his cabinet plus his appointees at bare minimum be degree holders or its equivalent, yet allow members of parliament whose duty it is to vet the president appointees be of a less education qualification than those that they will vet.
No wonder some vetting and oversight sessions ends up being lectures by the one being vetted or over sighted to those doing the vetting. Even some members are sometimes clueless on what to ask and how they can construct a sentence or a question in English or Swahili.
It gets even worse in county assemblies. Those who watched the swearing in of county assembly members in some counties must have been surprised that some could not read English or Swahili prints of the oath of allegiance. In these counties the governors and their deputies are supposed to have a university degree and members of county assemblies only come in with just a post secondary skill or certificate which could also be computer packages or driving school.
Don’t be surprised that, the courts have been declaring as unconstitutional and nullifying a number of legislation passed in Parliament and county assemblies whenever they are challenged.
Professor Peter Kagwanja concludes that “a lasting solution in the African dilemma lies in the nurturing a new generation of pan-African intellectual leaders with a capacity for critical analysis, strategic perspective, vision and imagination”. The legal reforms of the political system must set a high bar to ensure only visionary and quality leadership with integrity rises to power.
As citizens we must also be guided by the capability, passion, spirit of service, qualifications and most importantly integrity of those we are about to elect into governance positions.
Integrity is defined as the adherence to moral and ethical principles; the soundness of moral character. They are the inner values of an individual. If someone is willing to lie about his education and qualifications, he/she cannot be trusted that he will guide your children’s education.
Juma Hemedi
Sammy Kungu

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