SPEECH: President Uhuru Kenyatta’s New Year address to the nation
We have come to the end of what has been a truly remarkable year. A year ago when I was speaking to you in a similar occasion to usher Year 2015, I indicated that Year 2015 would be a year of possibility for Kenya. Following what we all experienced, achieved and witnessed, no one can deny this today.
We cannot, however, deny the fact that during the Year we also faced a number of challenges and setbacks. But in spite of the challenges we faced, overall we emerged stronger as a Nation.
Where we are today is different from where we were a year ago. We have travelled far along the path envisioned for us by our founding fathers, and paved by our predecessors. Together, we have worked hard towards the promise of a truly free, peaceful and prosperous Kenya. Together, we have continued to entrench the value of patriotism, integrity and hard work and to strengthen our commitment to a just, transparent, accountable and inclusive society.
In dealing with the challenges that looked insurmountable, we grew in strength, resilience and capability. This way, we have been able to endure extremely painful losses, bolstered by our courage and the strategies of confronting and defeating our enemies, as well as efficient methodologies we have adopted to solve problems.
In 2015, we completed the final phase of our effort to spread light to every village in Kenya by connecting every Government primary school to electricity. This has enabled us to lay a foundation for the delivery of our promise of modern, digital learning in primary schools. For thefirst time in our nation’s history, we are also on target to connect one million households to the national grid in a single financial year, remaining on target to connect 70 per cent of Kenyan households to electricity by 2017.
By connecting market centres and rural households to power, we have significantly enhanced the basis for strengthening productivity of the rural economy.
With regard to the environment and wildlife conservation, I wish to also report significant progress in 2015. Poaching declined a massive 80 percent. The number of elephants poached fell to 57 while the number of rhinos poached fell to 5.
With respect to the environment, 150 million seedlings were prepared for planting, improving forest cover to 7.2 per cent.
After the successful Climate Change summit in Paris, Kenya received $10 million from the Climate adaptation fund while Denmark committed to supporting Kenya with 7.5 billion shillings for the Green Growth and Employment Project. Further, the Renewable Energy Initiative pledged $10 billion in renewable energy projects for the region, and we stand to benefit significantly.
In 2015, we began to deliver the promise of effective, modern, hi-tech healthcare to all Kenyans. In addition to the national, referral hospitals, we shall have 2 hospitals in every county equipped with facilities to screen and treat conditions that have caused patients, in the past, to travel abroad at great cost. Already we have equipped 15 hospitals and our target is to complete the remainder by June 2016 to bolster access to health services. Additionally the Government has in place a programme for 100 fully fitted containerised clinics with particular focus being improved services to informal settlements.
We have successfully engaged County Governors to develop necessary conditions to attract appropriate professionals and to provide the resources required to make healthcare provision robust and sustainable.
In a bid to confront and deal with insecurity, we commenced 2015 with the passage of security laws that were absolutely necessary in supporting our security apparatus to combat crime and terrorism.
As we look back, we are proud and confident of the actions we took because, today, even our critics would agree, we are generally enjoying better security in our country. The improvement in security that we witness today has not only restored the confidence of Kenyans but also boosted their ability to go about their businesses unhindered.
In 2016, we will endeavour to make Kenya even more safer for all Kenyans and our visitors. MyGovernment will continue to reach out to all communities to strengthen National Cohesion, and Unity.
Our sons and daughters continue to make immensely heavy sacrifices to defend us from enemies within and outside our territory. Let us honour the memory of members of our disciplined forces who have given their lives in the line of duty. Let us also remember in our prayer those civilians who lost their lives during terrorist and criminal attacks. We cannot fully claim to be safe from those misguided elements who seek to harm us. So Let us resolve today to once again rededicate ourselves to our commitment to do our part in keeping ourselves, our families, communities and nation safe and secure.
Turning to matters of the national economy, in 2015, we continued to manage our economic affairs prudently to sustain development and provide resilience against myriad shocks in a volatile global environment. Given everything going on around the world, it could truly have been worse, but it wasn’t the case.
As a Government we know the value of good governance and integrity and for this reason we have prioritised promotion of integrity and the fight against corruption as a key pillar of our socio-economic development agenda. This is why in 2015 we, in a big way, enhanced our efforts to restore sanity in public life and give integrity a chance. Our multi-agency strategy against corruption has begun to bear fruits. In 2015, we drew first blood in the duel with the corruption monster and in 2016 we intend to increase these efforts.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In 2015, our relationship with our neighbours and friends abroad grew deeper and stronger. With our African siblings, we accelerated the integration agenda and intensified the pursuit of our mutual interests. In other continents, Kenya stamped its footprint, making friends and successfully fostering win-win, mutually beneficial interests which rapidly advanced our development agenda. We wooed many investors and attracted millions of dollars in foreign direct investment. We increased our exports. We helped bring peace and understanding in troubled lands. We raised our stature in the community of nations and earned the respect Kenya deserves. This is why we had the honour to host world leaders, and will be able to do so in days to come. Our diplomacy and international leadership has come of age, and it is beneficial for us all.
A number of the achievements we have made are gradual and incremental, calling for patience, persistence, investment and courage over a long period of time. Yet every passing day the transformation is underway. What is normal today – electricity, cell phones, devolution, security system improvement, digital broadcasting, internet – were figments and desires only a few years ago. This is how society evolves and transforms.
Other achievements are stark breaks from the usual, charting of new waters, paradigm shifts. They are visible to the eye, and progress can be observed effortlessly. Like the Standard Gauge Railway which will shortly go past Nairobi towards Naivasha. Like the electrification of schools and the modernisation of hospitals.
In all this, we learn that transformation requires unwavering vision, boundless imagination, constant commitment, persistence, patience and solidarity. I am proud to say that the people of Kenya have never been short of these attributes. This is the one reason I am certain that we will succeed in our endeavours and triumph on our chosen path. What we achieved in 2015, we achieved together. We encountered possibility together and confronted together our challenges as one people.
In 2016, we will launch the programme to build 8,000 kilometres of new tarmacked roads. The projects will cover every county of Kenya. The first batch totalling 1,700 kilometers will be launched this January. A second batch of 1,800 kilometers will be launched in March. I appealto Governors to fully support this programme.
As we prepare to review our education curriculum to make it more modern and relevant to the changing development needs of the 21st century we remain focused and determined to deliver digital learning devises to our schools this year. We will do a lot more that I do not wish to set out at this moment. Most importantly, we will work together as one people to build a great nation that each one of us will be proud to call home. We will remain open, democratic, transparent,united and peaceful. We will achieve our dream: happy individuals, strong families, united communities and a successful nation. The transformation will continue with greater momentum. We will keep on delivering on our promise.
As we usher in the Year 2016, I wish to appeal to every Kenyan starting with our leaders, to help restore our National Pride. For far too long we have dwelt in negative talk, criticism and hatred. Besides undermining our dignity as a Nation, this negativity has also diminished our patriotism and expected love for our Motherland. In 2016 we must rekindle the love for our dear Nation. Wemust demonstrate through actions that we are truly Kenyans by standing tall in the Community of Nations.
In 2015 Kenya was at the centre of Global spotlight, as we hosted US President Barrack Obama and the GES Conference in Nairobi. Later on Kenya played host to Pope Francis. Weclosed the year by hosting the WTO Ministerial Conference. Besides the three major events, Kenya, earlier in the year, won the World Athletic Championships in Beijing, and also sent Doctors and Paramedical staff to West Africa to combat the deadly Ebola Virus.
In this and many more ways in 2015 we were as a country able to shine. We must, therefore, enter 2016 in a spirit of standing up for Kenya and saying no to negativity, parochialism and engaging in small talk.
In this instant I would like to hail the act of bravery demonstrated by patriotic Kenyans during the recent attack on a bus in Mandera. Through sheer bravery and courage they were able to save the lives of fellow Kenyans. They truly stood up for Kenya. I salute and congratulate them for their quick and heroic action.
My call to each and every Kenyan, let us in 2016 stand up for Kenya by demonstrating true love for one another, patriotism for our Motherland and embracing and celebrating each other. Wemust learn to listen to each other, by talking to each other and not talking at one another.
We must tell each other things that help build Kenya. We must be driven by an urge to make Kenya better by providing solutions to issues and challenges that confront us. We must face the future as one United Nation, seeking a common solution to our problems.
Every Kenyan must stand up for Kenya, for this is the only way we will build a strong Nation that is respected and honoured globally.
As your President I will be steadfast and committed to standing up for Kenya. I call each one of you to stand with me in making Kenya proud. My Government is willing to listen to every Kenyan who comes forth with useful ideas to building a strong Kenya. We will listen to you and implement any good ideas geared towards improving our common destiny.
God has been gracious and generous to us. As we start 2016, let us remember to always be a nation dedicated to the service of humankind and to the glory of our Almighty Creator. I pray forevery-one of you, for your families, and for our Nation, that as we shed the old year and embrace the new one, may God see us through a year of great achievement. Let us stay true to who we are. Let us love our country and one another. Let us work together to achieve more for our Nation and people in 2016 and beyond.
I wish you a Happy and Prosperous New Year.
May God continue blessing all of us, and our great Nation.
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