Fellow Kenyans, the New Year is a time to reflect with immense gratitude on the accomplishments and breakthroughs of the last 12 months. It is also a time to reflect on what worked, what did not, and what we can re-imagine in the New Year.
As we bid goodbye to 2021, we rejoice in the fact that 2022 gives us an opportunity to do things better. By offering us a reset, the New Year is one for course-correction and building back better.
But there is always a challenge to every new beginning. We tend to celebrate the milestones of the past at the expense of making real our dreams of the future. And this is because the past is visible and concrete. Its victories and failures are spread out for all to see. But the future is invisible to the naked eye, and only those with the lens of faith can see it; and only the bold and the courageous can achieve it.
The past explains how we got here as a nation but the future is an empty slate. The New Year will give each and every Kenyan 365 days of blank slates upon which they will chronicle their story. As a nation, it is up to us to write our 2022 story page by page; ensuring that each day we make Kenya better than it was the day before.
My Fellow Countrymen,
Each Kenyan generation in an unbroken chain all the way from the dawn of time to the present day makes a mark on our national fabric.
Every generation that came before us made their contribution to the realization of our shared aspirations. Over the last nine years, My Administration has built on the foundations of the previous three administrations; adding our bricks to theirs so that the 2022 dream and beyond will be realised.
This last year, My Administration continued to bridge ‘the deficits that actually matter’. We bridged the infrastructure deficit, we bridged the deficit of accessibility to quality and affordable healthcare for all, and we bridged the deficit of a weak agricultural regulatory framework. We also bridged the deficit of insecurity by scaling up our security sector reforms; and we vastly improved the ease of doing business in Kenya, making it easier for Kenyans to thrive in enterprise.
In the New Year 2022, the nation will move closer to the realization of the Universal Health Coverage. Through our different programmes, health care will be available to all and affordable for all. This will be made possible because of the bold and progressive legislation we have made to support it.
Similarly, in 2022 several seminal state projects will be completed and the dividends of those public investments will be felt by Kenyans. In the early part of 2022 for instance, the CBC Infrastructure Programme will have delivered 10,000 classrooms across the country; securing our children a better environment for their studies.
Our landscape in the New Year will also be redefined by the completion of the construction of major road arteries across every part of the nation. Notably, the iconic Nairobi Expressway will be open for use in the first quarter of the New Year.
Away from Nairobi, we will also complete the Kisumu Mamboleo Road, the Eldoret Bypass; Isebania – Kisii Road; Kibwezi-Mutumo-Kitui-Migwani Road; Garsen-Witu-Road; Laisamis-Ngurunit Road; Makutano-Kachelieba-Konyao Road in West –Pokot; Ngong Suswa Road; Kenol-Marua Road; the Mombasa Roads Network; the James Gichuru- Rironi Road Expansion, and the Mau Mau Roads.
In the New Year the significant progress we have made in Affordable Housing, Food Security and the expansion of domestic Manufacturing will become more visible. Also notable will be our upgraded defence and internal security capabilities. In fact, we have laid a superlative foundation for our external and internal defence upon which future administrations can build on.
In keeping with our commitment to conservation and enhancing our heritage of splendour, in 2022 the Greening Kenya Campaign is expected to lead us closer to the realization of the goal of a minimum of 10 per cent forest cover. The Campaign will achieve this by the planting of an additional one billion trees. I urge every Kenyan to support this worthy initiative, as well as all others that target a Green Kenya.
Environmental conservation and regeneration have direct and immediate tangible benefits. For instance, in 2022 the Nairobi Metropolitan Area will significantly address the water scarcity that has plagued the metropolis through the completion of the Northern Collector Water Supply Project that is expected to double water supply to the region.
Reforms in the Energy Sector will also continue a pace, with electricity prices expected to be reviewed even further downwards by the end of the first quarter of the year 2022.
To boost tourism, trade, and social engagement; and to bolster continental integration; our national carrier Kenya Airways will join hands with our partners in South Africa to establish a Pan-African Airline with unmatched continental reach and global coverage.
In the New Year, within the Region, for greater fraternity, security, and shared prosperity; Kenya will join the other members of the East African Community in welcoming the Democratic Republic of Congo to the Community. This eagerly awaited addition to the EAC will make the community stronger and more capable of delivering the East African Dream.
Globally, Kenya’s leadership on the international stage and our advocacy for a more free, fair, and prosperous world will continue. We will continue to use our position in the United Nations Security Council to promote the cause of peace, harmony, reconciliation, and cooperation.
Although we have built a strong foundation for generations to come, we can destroy it in one stroke. And that is why this New Year’s we must reflect on the irreducible minimums required for the survival of our Nation-State.
For starters, we must choose leadership over politics. Leadership is about vision while politics is about positions. Leadership is about the next generation, whereas politics is concerned merely with the next election. Indeed, our obsession with politics has only slowed down the realization of our potential as a people.
I say so because the colonizers introduced a virus in our African political systems. They made us believe that the Political Kingdom was more desirable than the Economic Kingdom.
And because the pursuit of the Political Kingdom has only entrenched poverty in Africa, we must re-think this model. Since chasing the Political Kingdom is a relic of the colonial order, the new frontier for Kenya must be economic development not hindered by or contingent on politics. And there is empirical evidence to support this.
Despite Covid-19, the last five years have recorded the most impressive growth in our economy. And this is because we separated our development agenda from politics. When we chose the path of peace and reconciliation over that of political strife, and senseless competition, we gave the economy a chance to grow.
In the second quarter of this year, I reported that our real GDP had grown by 10.1 per cent. And the question on the lips of many was whether this unprecedented growth was sustainable. Today, I am happy to report that during the third quarter of this year, real GDP grew by an impressive 9.9 per cent.
This means that the tempo of growth, set by the second quarter, has been sustained. It also means that in the last six months, our real GDP has grown by an average of 10 per cent. And this was made possible because we separated our economic agenda from politics. If we keep this trajectory of economic development without politics, our country has a chance to reach unprecedented heights.
The Second irreducible minimum is that we must continue to uphold a justice system that restores not one that merely punishes. A system that heals, not one that deepens wounds. A system that seeks to improve the law, not one enslaved by the law. More so because “…the law, without justice is a national wound without cure”
Thirdly, and to repeat a point I have made before, Kenya must choose the bold path over the popular path. We must choose the critical few who are bold over those that are not.
Therefore, as we begin the New Year, we must remember that a leader takes the bold path and blazes a trail; while a politician takes the popular path that pleases everyone but which takes them nowhere. If we are to become a ‘break-out-nation’, we must follow the brave.
Let me end my address with two points. One, in 2021 we witnessed multiple waves of Covid-19 infections, but with our sustained controlled efforts, we achieved the targeted positivity rate of less than five per cent. But as is happening across the globe, Kenya is currently recording a surge of infections that started in mid-December, primarily fueled by the new Omicron variant.
Despite its ease of transmissibility and infectiousness, thankfully we are witnessing less severe infections; the majority of which need not be managed in our hospitals, but under our well-established home-based isolation and care system. Our critical care facilities are not strained, and we remain on high alert to ensure that this remains so.
Today 39 people are admitted in various ICU facilities countrywide with Covid-19. Of these, 19 are on ventilatory support and 20 are on supplemental oxygen. Our heightened surveillance system and continued cautious approach has so far borne fruit, and is a clear indication that we must not let our guard down, but continue to follow the health protocols we have issued.
In March 2021, we began vaccination against Covid-19 as an additional mitigation measure against the disease. To date, we have received 23 million doses of assorted vaccines and 10 million doses have been administered to our people.
This means that we have 13 Million Doses of the vaccines available country-wide. I, therefore, appeal to all Kenyans who have not been vaccinated to turn out and receive this life saving protection.
Our Government targets to vaccinate 30 million Kenyans by the end of December 2022. In the past few months, we have witnessed an increase in vaccination rates; and so far 15 per cent of the adult population is fully vaccinated. And to maintain immunity against the disease, My Administration will shortly be rolling out booster vaccine doses starting 1st January 2022 for those who have completed the primary vaccination series in the last six months.
Once again, we shall begin the booster doses by prioritizing the health care workers, security personnel, teachers, those with co-existing medical conditions and those above 50 years of age. I call upon this population to present themselves at the nearest vaccination center for this crucial shot.
The second and final thing has to do with our education system. The education calendar for the New Year will kick-off in earnest on the 3rd of January, 2022. The 2022 academic year will feature four terms and not the usual three; so as to recover the time lost as a result of the Covid-19 disruptions. Consequently, KCPE and KCSE exams will be administered in March/April 2022 and also in November and December 2022.
To our learners, we appreciate that, just like in the year 2021, the 2022 academic calendar will similarly be long and challenging. However, let 2022 be a year of destiny, of dreams becoming reality, and for laying the foundation stones for a glorious future. In that regard, I take this early opportunity to wish all our examination candidates all the best in this year’s examinations.
It is my prayer that 2022 will be a year where “…plenty will be found within our borders”. A year where leadership will reign supreme over politics. A year of bold decisions as opposed to popular decisions. And a year where ‘..justice will be our shield and defender’ and the law will only serve as its tool.
Let the first dawn of the New Year be one that brings with it bountiful blessings for us as individuals, families, communities, and as a nation. To all those who suffered loss in 2021, let 2022 be a year of healing, restoration and revival.
Whether you are in Kenya or in the Diaspora, I wish you all a Happy New Year, a safe and prosperous 2022. And remember to be your ‘brother’s keeper’.
God bless you all and God bless our beloved nation.