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Raila dismisses President Uhuru’s House speech on Jubilee achievements

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga has dismissed President Uhuru Kenyatta’s assertion that the Government has delivered on pre-election pledges.

Raila said almost all sectors in the country had deteriorated in the past four years since Jubilee took power.

In a statement sent from Washington DC yesterday, Raila cited the number of Kenyans facing starvation, massive job lay-offs and rising national debt as some of the indicators that all was not well in the country.

Raila said despite having a Sh1.9 trillion budget for development in the past four years, Uhuru was struggling to identify projects to launch.

The overarching theme of the State of the Nation address by Uhuru yesterday was that his Government had delivered on its pledges, and that the nation was in great shape, thanks to his administration.

But Raila begged to differ.

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“Millions of Kenyans are starving. As the President painted a glowing picture of its tenure and the nation yesterday, reports by the very government he heads indicate that the number of Kenyans facing starvation has risen to 2.7 million in 2017 compared to 1.7 million last year,” he said.

He cited Uhuru’s handling of the ongoing famine as one sign of failure.

“The Jubilee administration has sent appeals for food aid all over the world. The famine ravaging the land is the final repudiation of Jubilee policies on agriculture and food security. Droughts do not cause famines. Famines are caused by the failure to mitigate droughts,” he said.

The Opposition leader said Uhuru’s State of the Nation address left Kenyans wondering what nation the Head of State was talking about.

“Pension funds and other investors in the Nairobi Securities Exchange lost Sh120 billion in 2016. The slide continues. A record number of companies listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange have issued profit warnings. More than 10,000 Kenyans were laid off by big companies last year,” he said.

He said the lay-offs had a profound effect on smaller businesses that depended on big companies and sacked employees. According to Raila, a survey by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) conducted last year revealed that firms started within the past two years accounted for 61.3 per cent of the total businesses closed.

“The main reason cited for business closure was shortage of operating funds owing to increased operating expenses, declining income and losses incurred from businesses,” he said.

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On healthcare, Raila accused Uhuru’s government of valuing equipment more personnel.

“Jubilee had no qualms leasing diagnostic equipment for Sh5 billion a year, but cared less about doctors and health workers in public hospitals,” he said.

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