Is President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four Agenda on track?


President Uhuru Kenyatta bows to Kenyan soldiers during the Jamhuri Day celebrations at Kasarani stadium ...
President Uhuru Kenyatta bows to Kenyan soldiers during the Jamhuri Day celebrations at Kasarani stadium in Nairobi, Kenya, on December 12, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / YASUYOSHI CHIBA (Photo credit should read YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images)

In three years and eight months, President Uhuru Kenyatta’s second and final term will come to an end.

Before it does, the President hopes to have implemented the Big Four Agenda.

However, more than a year since that promise, only the universal health coverage program has been launched while a court order has put the Housing agenda in jeopardy.

When President Kenyatta spoke of his vision for the country during the Jamhuri Day celebrations in 2017, just a month after his inauguration for the second term, he sounded as one who had everything figured out.

“During the next five years I will dedicate my energies to this Big Four. The Big Four will enable us access basic needs,” he said.

More than twelve months later, the Big Four agenda is at best more detailed on paper than in fact.

By August 2022, the President still hopes to have rolled out universal healthcare across all counties.

In the second week of December last year, he launched the pilot phase for four counties: Isiolo, Machakos, Nyeri and Kisumu.

The phase is set to cost Ksh.4billion and is expected to benefit about 3.2 million people in the four counties.

But the success of the programme is dependent on improvement of health facilities in the counties and employment of more health workers. The progress on that is not clear.

The second pillar of affordable housing targets to have at least 500,000 new home-owners in the next four years.

The programme has faced hiccups already with workers unions opposed to deductions of 1.5 percent of employees salaries and an equivalent contribution by employers.

As of now, the financing of that programme is in jeopardy after the court temporarily suspended the deductions.

Kenyatta’s third pillar of food security is perhaps the least talked about. The food sector in 2018 came under sharp focus especially in maize farming.

The stalemate between maize farmers and the government on the cost of a bag of maize threatening to derail maize productivity.

While the government in 2013 embarked on an irrigation scheme of Galana-Kulalu, in an ambitious programme to put a million acres on irrigation, there’s little to talk about. But the President still has time.

For a country that faces 11 percent unemployment rate, manufacturing was Uhuru’s key focus area to offer employment opportunities for the youth.

When he unveiled his vision in December 2017, his emphasis was on textile, fishing, leather, and agricultural value addition.

“Under the Big 4 plan we will support farmers to plant cotton which we will guarantee to buy.. we have revived Rivatex and plan to revive other textile plans and we will give incentives to built more modern ginneries,” he said.

While directives to have leather boots for disciplined forces and even uniforms to be made in Kenya is already bearing fruit, the growth of manufacturing sector is yet to gain momentum.

And as the President hopes to entrench his vision for the country in 2019, politics could once again distract the country from the development agenda. In August this year the national census is expected to be conducted…it is already raising political undertones.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is also expect to begin planning for boundaries review that could see the 290 constituencies reorganised.

In the same year, the call for a constitutional referendum could gain momentum as the political class angles for supremacy. All these in a year he has set his energies on fighting graft.

How the president wades through the political waters and alternative voices on the Big Four items will surely define the degree of success on his vision and in effect his legacy.

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Story By Sam Gituku
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