What will be Uhuru Keny­atta’s legacy?

The East African - - NEWS -

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kenya

© PressReader. All rights reserved.