15 March 2017

Kenya: President Uhuru Kenyatta to Deliver State of the Nation Address

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta is on Wednesday expected to focus on the ruling Jubilee Coalition's fulfilment of its manifesto as he makes the last State of the Nation address before the August General Election.

The Head of State will be hoping to set the stage for the continuity of his administration as well as continue, but in a different style, the campaigns whose tempo has been increasing since the start of the last year of his first term in office.

President Kenyatta is also expected to dwell on issues of national security and devolution, some of the matters that have dominated debate over the last four years because of terrorism and the advent of devolution.

The Head of State is also understood to be keen to address public concerns on access to credit, public debt as well as corruption and the wage bill.


By focusing on the Jubilee administration's fulfilment of the manifesto rolled out before the elections in 2013, he will also be hoping to set the stage for the continuity of his administration.

Ahead of the address, Parliament staff, working with the Nairobi Fire Brigade and the military, installed two new flag poles next to the main gate of Parliament.

The National Assembly will also not have a sitting this morning. Majority Leader Aden Duale said this is to facilitate the extra security measures as well as the cleaning and other arrangements necessary before the President comes in.

"There will be need for extra seats in this chamber for the extra members," said Speaker Justin Muturi.


It remains to be seen whether the Opposition lawmakers will show up for the address or protest like they did last year, taking whistles into the chamber while unfurling small placards. There were suggestions in the corridors of the House on Tuesday that the MPs would stage a walk-out as the President speaks or protest and then walk out.

On Tuesday, one of the more famous protagonists from last year, Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi, told the Nation he would not be attending the event.

"The whole idea of the state of the nation address has lost its purpose. The President has previously turned it into a platform to churn out Jubilee propaganda and to try to salvage the dwindling fortunes of his failing regime. It's a mockery of our fledgling democracy and constitutionalism," said Mr Wandayi.


"I will personally not bother listening to the coming one," he added.

Suna East MP Junet Mohammed said there are not likely to be the demonstrations on the floor that delayed the start of the State of the Nation address for 30 minutes last year.

"Tomorrow there will be no acrimony because we are planning to listen to the President keenly, attentively and obediently," said Mr Mohammed.

He said this would happen because the opposition plans to have its own address about two days after the one by the President.

Mr Mohammed said the opposition would be happy to hear a commitment from the President for free, fair and credible elections in August.

"I want to hear that from him because that is a very important day in the calendar of this country," said Mr Mohammed.

He said President Kenyatta would be expected to state the achievements of his administration rather than make the promises that are expected in an election year.


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