Kenyans waited for President Uhuru Kenyatta’s State of the Nation address with an abated breath. They had high expectation. They were urgent issues they wanted him to address as the Head of State.
Even before the time came, some Kenyans had already predicted what the Son of Jomo would say. It is like Kenyans are so used to President Uhuru way of talking that it is easy to predict his speech.
In the past, the President has been known for his outbursts when it came to addressing matters concerning corruption. He is known as the angry president. He knows how to warn. He knows how to threaten. He knows how to get furious. But when it comes to taking action….well… it ends there.
During the State of the Nation address, Kenyans did not want President Uhuru Kenyatta to talk about anything else but corruption. They wanted him to take action. They wanted him to start rewriting history in the fight against corruption. They expected him to ask some people in his government to quit or step aside. That is what Kenyans wanted.
The runaway corruption in Kenya is just on another level. The looting that has been overseen by the Jubilee government has never been witnessed in the history of this country.
Documented corruption scandals since President Uhuru Kenyatta took over the helm of this nation have amounted to a total of 6,652,459,800,000 shillings. With hundreds of other cases going unnoticed, the amount is estimated to be at least 10 trillion shillings.
Currently, Kenya loses at least one trillion shillings every year to corruption. That is a third of the national budget with the looting going on even at President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Statehouse.
Kenyans expected President Uhuru Kenyatta to talk about the cost of living. Stats from the Central Bank of Kenya indicate that 51 percent of Kenyans are now living from hand to mouth. The number of Kenyans slipping into poverty has more than doubled as the cost of living continues to bite.
According to CBK, the number of Kenyans facing hard economic times almost doubled. In 2016, only 34.3 percent of Kenyans were considered poor (being in the financial red zone). Currently, the number of Kenyans living from hand to mouth has increased to 51 percent (estimated).
Banks have refrained from lending to Kenyans because apparently, Kenyans are risky borrowers, which is true. Majority of Kenyans have now opted to take expensive and exploitative digital loans with stats showing that at least 500,000 Kenyan youth are listed on the CRB as a result.
Personal loans from banks dipped slightly to 4.3 percent from 4.4 percent in 2016. Microfinance institutions also saw a drop in credit uptake to 0.9 percent.
Kenyans expected the President to talk about the state of unemployment in the country. His government promised that it would create at least 500,000 jobs, annually for Kenyans. What Kenyans have seen is an increase in the unemployment rate.
Stats now show that the unemployment rate has hit 43.5 percent from the initial 39.1 percent. Kenya is among the countries in Africa where formal jobs are a luxury for the lucky few.
When the President stood to speak, he disappointed almost everyone. He crushed all the hopes that the majority of Kenyans had in him.
He ranted about the handshake and why it is important for the economy of Kenya. He even committed to releasing a 10 billion shillings a budget to support the handshake. As expected, he ranted about corruption. The usual song.
According to Professor Heman Manyora, “The State of the Nation address was an opportunity for the President to give Kenyans hope but he lost it. The people wanted him (the President) to do one or two things that were within his reach that would have restored hope but he didn’t.”
Bottom line: It was the same old speech, only adjusted to fit into the timelines.