Your Excellency, Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya and Commander-in-Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces, the Hon. Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Justin Muturi, Hon. Members of Parliament (MPs), Article 132(1) (b) of the Constitution of Kenya requires the President to address a Special Sitting of the Parliament of Kenya once every year and at any other time. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Further, Article 132(1) (c) requires the President to, among others, once every year, report, in an address to the nation, all the measures taken and the progress achieved in the realisation of the national values set out in Article 10 of the Constitution. In addition, Article 240(7) of the Constitution requires the President, in his capacity as the Chairperson of the National Security Council, to report to Parliament annually on the state of the security of the Republic. In this regard, pursuant to Article 132(1) (b) and (c) (i) and (ii) of the Constitution and Senate Standing Order No.22 (1) and (2) upon a request by His Excellency the President vide letter reference No. OP CAB 140 dated 9th April 2018, gave notice of today’s Special Sitting to the Hon. Senators by Gazette Notice No. 3551 which was published in the Kenya Gazette on 17th April 2018. Accordingly Hon. Members, this Special Sitting is properly convened.
Your Excellency, Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya and Commander-in-Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces, the Hon. Speaker of the Senate, Sen. Kenneth Lusaka, Hon. Members of Parliament, Article 132(1) of the Constitution of Kenya requires the President to address the nation once every year. In this regard, pursuant to provisions of Article 132(1)(b) and (c)(i)(ii) and (iii) of the Constitution and the provisions of Standing Order No.22 of the National Assembly Standing Orders, by Gazette Notice No.3550, which was published in the Kenya Gazette on 20th April 2018, I gave notice of this Joint Sitting of all Members of the National Assembly. Accordingly Hon. Members, this joint Sitting is properly convened.
Your Excellency, it is also a custom of Parliament to recognise invited guests seated in the Speaker’s Row. I, therefore, wish to recognise the following guests in this order: The Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya, Hon. William Ruto.
The Chief Justice of the Republic of Kenya, Hon. Justice David Maraga, the Governor of the Nairobi City County, Hon. Mike Mbuvi Sonko, Governor of the Kajiado County Government Hon. Joseph ole Lenku, Former Speakers of the House of Parliament: Hon. Francis Xavier ole Kaparo and Hon. Kenneth Otiato Marende, who are all seated in the Speaker’s Row. Your Excellency, of special mention today and also seated in the Speaker’s Row is a guest of our Parliament, His Excellency, Hon. Said Buhaja, the Speaker of the National Assembly of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria.
May I also recognise former Clerks of the National Assembly; Mr. Joseph Masya and Mr. Justin Bundi. They are all in the Speakers Gallery.
Hon. Members of Parliament and invited guests, it is now my singular honour, pleasure and privilege to invite His Excellency the President of the Republic of Kenya and Commander in Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces to address this Joint Sitting of Parliament. Your Excellency. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Hon. Speakers, and Hon. Members of Parliament, I begin by saying that today is a profound honour for me to deliver the first State of the Nation Address of my second term in office. However, I wish with your joint permission that before I proceed any further, let me, at this early juncture, pay tribute to the late Hon. Kenneth Matiba whose patriotism inspired greatly the Constitution under whose authority we meet today.
Let us all resolve to emulate the example he set and his desire for a strong prosperous and inclusive Kenya. Hon. Speakers, it is right and fitting to look back on the achievements of the 11th Parliament before setting out our plans for this Parliament. The 11th Parliament was charged with the task of implementing our new Constitution, making enabling laws to create institutions which the new constitutional order called for. There is no doubt, walking this part of the journey has not been easy but, what is encouraging is that we have made significant progress in implementing the new Constitution. The laws were passed, the counties established and, as such, the new constitutional order is in place. I take this opportunity to thank your predecessors for discharging their duty so well. Now Hon. Speakers, let me congratulate your Members, both the newly elected and the returning ones for winning the trust of the Kenyan people.
Hon. Members, you and I owe our presence here today to Kenyans who chose us to represent them. The trust they have bestowed on us is sacred. We must always remember that as leaders we do not serve only those who voted for us. We serve all Kenyans as required by our Constitution. Hon. Speakers and Members, the Constitution that brings us here for this address is a guide, an instruction and a tool to help us craft the Kenya that is freer, fairer, wealthier and well united. Indeed today, let us consider whether we have preserved, protected and honoured it. I believe we have. Our constitutional order is stable. It is secure and it is growing in strength. Devolution is no longer a baby. It is now an established framework for governing and delivering public services. Five years of establishing the county governments have taught Kenyans what they want of devolution, and how to get it. Overall, the Government, that is, both levels of the national Government as well as our new county governments, is becoming more responsive to the needs of Kenyans, as we all hoped it would when we passed the new law.
Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt there have been some challenges in the use of public resources, with some individuals fraudulently and corruptly diverting public resources to benefit The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
themselves, but we are building preventive tools and ways for citizens to become more involved in reporting graft. My administration, I must emphasise, despite these challenges, has remained committed to the implementation of devolution. We are today far above the 15 per cent threshold for resource allocations to our counties as provided for by the Constitution. From an allocation of Kshs210 billion in the Financial Year 2013/2014, we now stand at Kshs327 billion for the Financial Year 2017/2018, an increase of 56% in five years. I also recently signed the Division of Revenue Bill 2018, which sets aside Kshs372 billion for counties in the coming Financial Year 2018/2019. The national Government, also during our period, complemented county service delivery in the reporting year by injecting Kshs9.6 billion for the Managed Equipment Services, Kshs5.2 billion for free maternity and Kshs900 million for user fees.
Moreover, Kshs2 billion was distributed to 11 counties from the Equalisation Fund to improve services. In addition, and in the spirit of upholding devolution, my administration further decentralised service delivery by initiating the “Huduma Mashinani Programme”. This programme brought vital services from registration services such as identity cards to the NSSF and NHIF Services, amongst others, closer to the people. Kenyans believe in devolution, and my administration has matched that belief with strong and tangible support for it.
Mr. Speaker and Hon. Members, I now turn to the urgent matter of how we live our constitutional values as a people, before I report on their expression in governance. Kenya is a country of God-fearing and generous people. In our moments of need, we are kept going by the compassion and empathy of our countrymen and countrywomen. Indeed, it goes without saying that most of us are honest to a fault, and intolerant of the fraudulent. In our private lives, we live together, whatever corner of the country we call home, whatever language we speak, and whatever faith we subscribe to. In other words, the Kenyan people are ahead of us, their leaders. This must change. Leaders at every level of government must demonstrate a desire and commitment to serve and, in particular, we must maintain the highest degree of integrity. Those days when one could enjoy public goods without fear that action will be taken against you are gone. Indeed, to demonstrate this point, last year, ill-gotten public assets valued at approximately Kshs500 million were recovered and civil proceedings were instituted for the preservation and recovery of other assets valued at more than Kshs6 billion.
To deepen good governance, we have continued to digitise key services to seal loopholes used for fraud. I do expect that the new officials whom we have worked together to put in office both in prosecution and in investigations will bring cases against all including the powerful and privileged to show Kenyans that none of us are above the law. Through the Chief Justice who is with us today, I also urge the Judiciary to do their part to ensure that orders are not frivolously used by individuals to avoid justice. I urge you, Hon. Members, to give us the legal tools we need to win the war against the lords of graft.
Having made all these efforts, I want to repeat what every Kenyan in their heart of hearts knows – that we must all come together to fight this vice if we are to conquer it. The Government and the private sector also, must report fraud and protect whistle blowers without the slightest hesitation. Kenyans, on their part too, must report any crimes they may come across. Families must feel ashamed by one of their members becoming involved in corruption and they must insist on the upholding of their name as a family. Teachers as well as parents must explicitly teach our children the value of honesty and the concept of honour. It is only by coming together in this way as a people that the values in our Constitution will take life in the governance our country. That is how we will manage to position Kenya to join the league of prosperous nations. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Hon. Members, these constitutional advances must, of course, be paid for, so it is natural to turn our attention to the economy. Where goals are concerned, I believe all of us, irrespective of our political persuasion, are in broad agreement. Kenyans want to see lower cost of living. They want jobs for their sons and daughters, affordable food on their tables and to see broad and inclusive prosperity. Those goals are reasonable and some of them are constitutional requirements in their own right. None of us in this august House will have forgotten that last year was an election year or that our region was severely affected by drought. Despite this, it is encouraging to note that despite those challenges, our economy remained resilient. Our real gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 4.9 per cent in 2017 which was much higher than the 3.6 per cent for world real GDP and 2.6 per cent for sub-Saharan Africa. Even more encouraging was the performance of our tourism sector. Tourism earnings grew by 20 per cent, which was proof that even when our politics were at their hottest, Kenya kept its visitors’ confidence.
We remain on course to meet the test that Kenyans set for us, but we must admit that we still have a very long way to go and deeper reflection is, therefore, called for. If we were to create the jobs for which Kenyans long, we need investment. When I took office in 2013, my administration promised and delivered in many instances, the most aggressive surge of infrastructure development in Kenya’s history. We know that without radical renewal and improvement of our infrastructure and connectivity, we could not hope to attract the investment that we need to create jobs and prosperity and most of all, to beat poverty. Many of you will recall the success of that first phase of development when we started to build the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) after the 11th Parliament was sworn in. By the time Members returned home to ask voters to renew their mandate, we had brought the SGR to Nairobi. Currently, less than a year since the first train left Mombasa for Nairobi, nearly 700,000 passengers have taken the Madaraka Express.
On the cargo side, I am pleased to state that as promised, the SGR cargo services were up and running on 1st January 2018, with an initial monthly load of 22,345 metric tonnes rising to an impressive 213,559 metric tonnes per month as of the end of April 2018. That is not all. I have already launched the second phase of the SGR project which runs from Nairobi to Naivasha and negotiations are in progress for the financing of the Naivasha-Malaba line. In short, I can report that last year, we completed the most ambitious infrastructure development in Kenya’s history since the old railway was built. It is not the only ambitious work in infrastructure that we undertook last year. Hon. Members will also remember that we opened Terminal 2A at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) some time ago. We would almost certainly have earned less revenue from tourism this year had we not made that investment. You might also recall the expansion of the Last Mile Connectivity, which has brought electricity to 72 per cent of households up from 27 per cent in 2013. I am particularly proud of the success for I know its transformative power and I have seen for myself that on the day a family first switches on a bulb in their homes, their entire lives change. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
When I assumed office as President, we promised to tarmac 10,000 kilometres of road across the country. We are on target having completed 3,000 kilometres to date and with a further 5,000 kilometres under construction. Among the many roads we have completed, I just want to mention one, namely, the Isiolo-Moyale Road, which is part of the Trans-African Highway Corridor running to our border with Ethiopia. This road is transforming the economy of the people of Isiolo and Marsabit for the better.
Our people from that part of the country can now easily travel to their national capital Nairobi in a matter of hours, contrary to the past when they used to take days. They now feel that they have a reason to be part and proud to be called Kenyans. Those investments in infrastructure laid the firmest foundation for the broad and shared prosperity that Kenyans expect. This term, with your support, we must complete them. I have already spoken about the Big Four Agenda in other forums. It deserves me talking about it, not least because I will rely on you to pass the legislation upon which it depends, but most importantly to convince you to join me as agents of the desired change. I wish to speak on the reasoning that informs this agenda. If you leave the House with a clearer idea of your role as leaders in this development programme, I will be amongst the happiest of men. When we conceptualised about the Big Four from discussions that we held with Kenyans about their problems and prospects particularly, as we went about seeking their support, they were very clear on what priorities they would want us to focus on. Kenyans want their families kept safe from the catastrophic bills from medical care. They want skilled jobs, especially in manufacturing. They want to be food secure and dignified affordable homes. I believe that the Big Four serves each of those. By providing affordable universal healthcare, we will quite simply save lives. Already, extensive work has been done to bring access to quality and affordable health services. In our previous term, we increased health facilities from 9,000 in 2013 to 11,000 in 2017. Our National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) coverage widened from a membership of 3.8 million in 2013 to 7.2 million currently. We expanded NHIF coverage for expectant mothers and raised deliveries by skilled attendants from 44 per cent in 2013 to 66 per cent in 2017. Access to antiretroviral (ARV) drugs by expectant mothers has significantly increased. Currently, 94 per cent of HIV positive expectant mothers attending anti-natal clinics across the country access ARVs. Mother to child HIV transmission has consequently fallen. As a result of other various health intervention programmes, including the mosquito net programme, incidences of malaria have dropped from 11 per cent to 8 per cent. Infant mortality has fallen from 52 per 1,000 to 39 per 1,000 live births. Under five years mortality came down from 74 per 1,000 to 52 per 1,000. Maternal mortality dropped from 488 per 100,000 to 362 per 100,000. Despite the improvements we have recorded, there is no doubt that we still have a way to go. We need to, in particular, take steps to improve on immunisation through much closer collaboration between the national Government and county governments. With regards to immunisation, since devolution, it has dropped from 90 per cent to 70 per cent. After the devolution conference of last week, I am happy to inform you that county governments are keen and willing to work with the national Government towards putting together a programme to up our immunisation to where we were, if not better. During the period, we have also addressed the The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
medical needs of older persons and persons with severe disability by extending the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) coverage to 42,000 of them.
While we are working to deliver food security, we are taking steps to help Kenyans impacted by the long drought that had hit the country. The Hunger Safety Net Programme is cushioning Kenyans against hunger. Through it, cash was transferred to vulnerable households in most parts of our arid and semi-arid areas giving them the choice of where and how to spend their stipend. This method not only aids farmers and markets, but also restores the dignity of Kenyans who once upon a time were asked to stand in a line in the hot sun for a few “gorogoros” of pre-determined foods.
Hon. Members, with respect to housing, it is worth noting that demand for decent homes far outstrips supply, particularly in the low-cost and affordable segment. A decent roof over one’s head is the most tangible symbol of a decent life, and it should be a critical part of a family’s wealth. The new housing programme that we have developed has been designed to incorporate the private sector so as to properly respond to this demand. We expect hundreds of thousands of affordable homes to follow across the country, accompanied by a surge in both jobs and incomes. Indeed, Hon. Speakers, my dream is one day – hopefully in the not-too-distant future – every Kenyan will have the pride of owning a decent home that will be within the reach of every Kenyan of medium and modest incomes.
Families will have the capacity to retire in the evenings to clean, well-organised and hygienic homes, and Kenya will go to sleep knowing that all its citizens have a sound roof over their heads. This dream is going to become a reality only if we all join hands to eliminate the barriers to its realisation through legislation and new policies to incentivise, especially the private sector.
Hon. Members, turning to security, I can say without fear that we are safer and stronger as a nation than we were when I spoke to this House last. Our alliances are strong, and growing stronger. Kenya has become indispensable to the international community’s pursuit of stability and security, environmental protection, and of a global community able to respond to large-scale crises when they come. My administration continues to treat its responsibility to protect Kenyans and their property from crime, terrorism and other forms of insecurity as its core obligation. In the year under review, the country beat back challenges to security. Indeed, the general election was more secure than most in the past. Regrettably, we had to respond firmly to deliberate disruptions of the process, to the destruction of property, and to isolated attempts to chaos. In every case, the disciplined services of our Republic did their duty. I commend all of them for their dedication.
Going forward, I commit again to strengthening their capacity to keep the peace because without peace, our desire for a better Kenya will remain a mere wish. I have further empowered the National Administration Services, from the Regional Commissioner down to the Assistant Chief, to supervise security operations, coordinate the work of the national Government in the counties, and to improve our engagement with county governments as we serve Kenyans right across the country. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Hon Members, the concerted and coordinated response by our disciplined services means that terrorists have had less room to target our people. There have been fewer and less lethal attacks in Kenya today even as terrorist groups elsewhere damage democracies. I once again commend the diligent men and women from our multiple agencies, who detect and prevent attacks. They have kept Kenya safe, and sometimes paid the highest price for our safety. May God comfort the families of the men and women we have lost not just in the fight against terrorism, but in every effort to defend Kenya’s sovereignty and security. However, even as I say so, we cannot rest for the threat is ever present and all Kenyans must constantly be on the alert.
At this point and moment, I also recall with great sadness, the tragic loss of one of our Principal Secretary, Ms. Mariamu el Maawy, to the consequences of a terrorist attack. I pray that her family, friends, and colleagues may be comforted. I also pray too that this nation never forgets the selfless public service she gave to it.
Order, Hon. Members. Let all of us be upstanding. Your Excellency the President, the Rt. Hon. Speaker of the National Assembly and Hon. Members, we have come to the conclusion of business today. It is now time to adjourn. The Senate stands adjourned until Tuesday, 8th May 2018 at 2.30 p.m.
Hon. Members, we have come to the close of business for today. The National Assembly stands adjourned until 3rd May 2018 at 9.30 a.m.
Yes. It is 3rd May 2018. Are we not having a Morning Sitting? Hon. Members, you know I always keep these things close to my heart. I know the House Business Committee passed a resolution that there will be a Morning Sitting tomorrow at 9.30 a.m. Therefore, you know your Speaker always has these things at his fingertips. As you know, it is His Excellency the President to interchange between English and Kiswahili. So, he was not out of order.
Therefore, this House stands adjourned. Every Member and our guests are invited for a cocktail at the Front Yard of Parliament.