PRESIDENT UHURU DELIVERS HIS EIGHTH ADDRESS TO PARLIAMENT
His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta this afternoon delivered his eighth State of the Nation Address to an expectant House and a hopeful nation given the contiuned fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, and a global economic recession.
The President who arrived in Parliament a few minutes after 2.30pm commenced his address by recounting his tenure as a Member of the August House, where his career in politics began after he was nominated to Parliament by the Second President of the Republic of Kenya, the Late Daniel Arap Moi. In what perhaps implies that he relishes his days as a legislator, President Kenyatta recounted his political journey in the House where he served on both sides of the Parliamentary divide at different times.
Delving into the COVID-19 pandemic, the journey the country has walked during the period and the effects, the President lauded enterprenurial Kenyans and Kenyan companies that rose to the occassion and produced vital healthcare equipent that were in short supply at the height of the pandemic. He justified his decision to lockdown the country for months following the advice of health experts.
“Specifically, I want to put on record how the power of choice on the part of our administration and supported by Parliament and indeed the county governments; turned the Covid-19 pandemic from a national crisis to what I believe is an intergenerational opportunity”, explained the President.
He however faulted the countries that have resulted to closing their borders following the outbreak of a new variant, Omicron. He urged the international community to accelerate efforts towards global vaccination rather than turning to introduce a fresh round of lockdowns which he noted are expensive.
Acknowledging that he was addressing the August House in the midst of extraordinary global economic, social, and health disruptions which necessitated several economomic interventions since the onset of the pandemic, he took time to enumerate the efforts of his government in cushioning Kenyans from adverse effects of the pandemic. He commended Parliament for making the necessary legislative interventions to make life bearable for Kenyans on the onset of the pandemic. These disruptions, he stated; were experienced in the tourisim, agricultural, education,digital finance services, banking and finance sectors that have cushioned the Small and Medium Enterprises for years.
President Kenyatta also underscored the great milestone achieved in the covid-19 vaccination programme, that was rolled out by the government with an intention of vaccinating at least ten million Kenyan adults by December 2021.
The President also apprised the House on his intentions to confer Nakuru Municipality with a city status. “I will tomorrow have the high privilege of conferring to Nakuru Municipality the City Status. This is as a result of devolution and with its reputation as East Africa's cleanest town, all of Kenya looks forward to Nakuru city.”He said.
President Kenyatta concluded his address by thanking both Houses of Parliament for their consistent support to his administration’s work in the last 10 years.
“As you are aware, there are a number of critical legislative proposals emanating from the Executive, which are pending in Parliament. To that end, I urge Parliament to expedite and conclude on the legislative processes so that we can have those urgently needed pieces of legislation in place. My Administration has submitted the Huduma Bill, so as to conclusively institutionalize the reforms on the national identity ecosystem through the establishment of the National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS),"remarked his excellency.
Noting that Parliament is set to break for the long recess this Thursday in line with its calendar, he urged legislators at the Joint Sitting to expedite crucial legislation which includes: The Political Parties (Amendment) Bill, 2021, the Political Parties (Membership) Regulations, 2021, the Government Contracts Bill; the Kenya National Blood Transfusion Bill, 2020; the Irrigation (Amendment) Bill, 2021; the Irrigation (Amendment) Bill, 2021; the Kenya National Library Service Bill, 2020; and Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundry (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
The State of the Nation Address is delivered annually in accordance with Article 132 of the Constitution, which mandates the President to report on measures taken and progress achieved in the realization of the National values set in the Article, as well as the progress made in fulfilling International Obligations.