THE STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS: WHEN REALITY CONTRADICTS NUMBERS

The third item, the Jubilee Administration, is an activity driven government, unlike the Kibaki regime that mainstreamed vision in its approach. The consequence is that Jubilee has a lot of numbers to throw around, but not actual impact on the people, and I think the greatest show of failure, is if you have to shout that this is what I am doing for people to see it.
 
The President yesterday in Parliament gave his third state of the Nation address. He outlined the various steps and strides, which in his opinion, the country was making under his leadership.
 
Unlike his second address that was inspirational, even offering hope that the President was willing to face history and the ills of corruption, the third address was a flat repetition of the everyday rhetoric that people so easily associate with the government.
 
The President dedicated the first pulse of his address to speak to the unwritten contract between the Kenyan communities. The spirit that was cultivated at Lancaster. To my surprise, he suggested that the opposition has disagreed with and was undermining this spirit.

It was a surprise, for other than Dr. David Ndii, who does not fall within the formal ranks of either CORD, AMANI or Eagle coalitions, I have not heard any opposition leader, not Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi, Peter Kenneth or Martha Karua front anti-nationalistic sentiments.
 
Still, the President went on, to refer to nationalism 25 different times within his address, reminding us that our irreducible minimum was a one to all’ and ‘all to one. He suggested that by opening up roads in all parts of the country, doubling the constitutionally minimum, by way of monetary remittance to the counties, his administration had demonstrated undying commitment to devolution and the nationalist covenant.
 
I agree with the President, that indeed the unwritten one to all’ and ‘all to one contract is the very basic unit of the fiber Kenya, but I disagree that his administration in the last three years, or his own beliefs has supported this value. The government still stands acutely accused of exclusion by through token inclusion, and at maximum, the relationship between the national government and county government, can only be a betrayal of what in his own words was the re-imagination of our nationalist covenant.
 
It is impossible to reconcile the idea of a regime that supports devolution, yet that same regime has resisted re-aligning the provincial administration structure to accord with the true intents of Devolution. The one to all’ and ‘all to one remained unwritten because it was founded on trust. Having a Marwa in Mombasa to pounce on elected leaders because of divergent opinion does not exemplify trust. Avoiding including counties in security systems, does not exemplify that trust.
 
I think this nationalist lecture emanates from a sense of vulnerability. An understanding by the President, that a case can be made against his government.
 
The President seems is fully persuaded, that certain rights, such as freedom of expression, our pursuit for security, the threat of terrorism, must necessarily qualify how Kenyans enjoy their rights. This philosophy saw his government essentially suggest legalizing detention because of terrorism. Thank God, the High Court quashed the provision.
 
The President seems to suggest that under his administration, the media can now freely function, and that article 34 has come to absolute being. The reality is different, formerly free media houses are now prisoners of the state, journalists dismissed for writing articles critical of the government. Dennis Galava, Godfrey Mwampembwa popularly Gaddo, being but examples. The President himself is on record reducing the press to meat wrappers. An about turn seems hypocritical.
 
The country was denied an opportunity for honest grief, because today, no one knows the number of Kenyan soldiers we lost in Somali recently.
 
I must however take extreme exception to Hon. Bosire for not giving our men in uniform the honor of standing. This is a new low in partisanship.
 
The President gave reference to the Grand coalition government, noting that his government has prioritized finishing the projects dreamt by the regime. Here he referred to the roads and the standard gauge Railway.
 
We must applaud his government for a speedy implementation of the SGR. Still, the project has ballooned our public debt to China disproportionately.
 
While still at this reference to the Grand Coalition; let us point out three things. The Grand Coalition government was a good example of true inclusion in government, and that is why it recorded historic successes. Secondly, even with the squabbles, they still recorded extensive results in economic growth, helped realize a new constitution and corruption perception was low than today.
 
The third item, the Jubilee Administration, is an activity driven government, unlike the Kibaki regime that mainstreamed vision in its approach. The consequence is that Jubilee has a lot of numbers to throw around, but not actual impact on the people, and I think the greatest show of failure, is if you have to shout that this is what I am doing for people to see it.
 
The Uhuru Kenyatta government has for instance chosen to scale down the ambitions of Kibaki, announcing this week the terminating the upgrade of the Green Field Terminal at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. In this financial year, the project did not receive funding within the budgetary allocations.
 
The President instead chose to commission two new terminals — 1A and 1E — by May 2016. He stated that the new terminals would increase passenger-handling capacity by 5.1 million new passengers, total capacity to JKIA to 7.5 million passengers a year. GTF was supposed to increase that capacity to 18.5 Million, making JKIA number one Airport in Africa.
 
Rwanda Air is consolidating her hold on air transport within East Africa, and performing better than Kenya Airways. Ethiopia Airlines is a show of African excellence elbowing us out. President Magufuli is keen on starting a national airline for Tanzania. To claim our position as a true hub of air travel, we do not need little upgrades, but truly ambitious commitments that communicate to the future we aspire.
The President and his deputy are now deflecting blame to the Judiciary. They seem to suggest that the non-dispensation of these corruption cases some-how has an impact on the levels of corruption. That is partly true. The other truth however is that the law guides the Judiciary and the law is enacted by parliament.
 
I would suggest to the President, to take the step that Lee Kuan Yew took, and reversed the discharged of the burden of proof in corruption cases. All the government needed to do, was establish a prima facie case, that you could reasonably be suspected to have obtained wealth through corruption, and it was the accused’s prerogative to discharge the burden, within set timelines.
 
A starting point would be to audit the legal framework and make it clear and devoid of technicalities. Ours is a common law system, the judge but an arbiter, not a prefect of the process. The true Achilles heel in this process lies with the Directorate of Public Prosecution and Investigative Agencies.
 
The presidents’ move to order the Communications Authority and the National Construction Authority to review their prohibitive levies is extremely welcome, and while Kenya has improved on the ease of doing business, a commendable work, we need to do more.
On one thing, I agree one hundred percent with the President, his acknowledgement that as a government, his work, is to walk with each individual in the path of personal transformation by ensuring that the country is transforming with you; and that as we transform one individual at a time, we will fulfil the Nationalist Promise.
 
Nations grow more sustain-ably when each individual is inspired to work for their own transformation. This can only happen in an environment, where everyone feels they have a chance at opportunity, this is where he must put his focus on. Investing further symbolically and really in pursuit of equity and equality for all.
 
I am hesitant to share in his conclusion that the state of our nation is strong, but I willingly agree, that our nation holds a promise for everyone.
 
Lone Felix