What will be Uhuru Kenyatta’s legacy?
KENYA’S PRESIDENT Uhuru Kenyatta will be walking a tightrope between building his legacy and fixing the immediate challenges the country is facing, having failed to deliver in key areas in his first term.
Deep divisions along tribal lines, grand corruption and failed election promises put President Kenyatta on the spot during the campaign period, which gave the opposition ammunition to galvanise support from sections of the country to give Jubilee administration a run for its money.
Unlike his predecessor Mwai Kibaki, whose legacy remains salvaging an economy that was on its knees when he took over in 2003, President Kenyatta’s pet project, tablets for schoolgoing children, barely took off during his first term. This, observers say, put more pressure on him to tread carefully in his second term to push projects that could make his legacy.
In his inauguration speech on Tuesday, President Kenyatta singled out universal access to healthcare, generation of more power, availability of lowcost houses, job creation, ensuring an enabling environment for investment and opening new international markets for Kenyan products as key areas his administration is keen on promoting.
“I have taken on board the aspirations of the people of Kenya to move forward, and as I have said before, I will dedicate all my energies and that of my administration achieving two principal objectives over the next five years,” President Kenyatta said.
Critics are poking holes in his pledges, arguing that he did not give a comprehensive plan on how he intends to achieve them.
Dr Ouma Oluga, secretary-general of the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union, noted that achieving universal health entails critical aspects, that the President did not mention.
“President Kenyatta only talked about expanding National Hospital Insurance Fund coverage, but did not address quality and access to healthcare,” said Dr Oluga.
Access, Dr Oluga said, requires availability of equipped medical facilities and enough personnel within a radius of five kilometres to achieve universal healthcare coverage.
Critics argue president Kenyatta did not give a comprehensive plan on how he intends to achieve his pledges.
“When we talk about quality, the facilities should have enough personnel to attend to patients,” added Dr Oluga. President Kenyatta has also been criticised over his administration’s attempts to muzzle civil liberties through a crackdown on civil society and the media through legislation and deregistration of non-governmental organisations.
While the president pledged in his speech to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law, his threats to take revenge against the judiciary after his victory was invalidated by the Supreme Court, with analysts wondering whether his second term could breed dictatorship.
By Erick Oduor