7 Takeaways From Kenyatta’s Inauguration Speech

Uhuru Kenyatta was sworn in as Kenya’s fourth head of state on Tuesday, 10 days after Kenya’s Supreme Count upheld his election victory, dismissing allegations that the elections was marred with fraud and irregularities.

In his 3,000-plus word inaugural speech at the Moi International Sports Centre in Kasarani, Kenyatta laid out his government’s policies.

Here are seven takeaways from his speech.

1. Implement devolution: “My government will immediately begin the process of supporting devolution and enabling county leadership to carry out their constitutional mandate and fulfill the pledges they made to the Kenyan people. Let us all be clear – supporting devolution is not a choice, as some claim it to be – it is a duty. A constitutional duty. One that I have sworn to uphold. Our constitution does not suggest devolution, it demands it. I urge all Kenyans to be persistent, pragmatic, patient and non-partisan, as we pursue the promise of devolved governance.”

2. Abolish maternity fees: In his first 100 days in office, Kenyatta promised that his administration will provide free maternity services and “that all citizens of Kenya are able to access government dispensaries and health centers free of charge.”

3. Free laptops for incoming class one students: “We made a promise to our children and we will keep it because we believe that early exposure to technology will inspire future innovation and be a catalyst for growth and prosperity.”

4. Spend money earmarked for a run-off election on job creation: Kenyatta pledged that he’ll put to use the 6 billion shillings allocated for a possible run-off elections by establishing a youth and women’s fund. He also promised that he’ll tackle unemployment by creating more jobs for the youth. “We will do this, by creating an enabling environment for the private sector,” he said.

5. Address land issue: He said his government will support the National Land Commission. “My government will strive to work with all actors to ensure that the issue of land will never again be a contentious or a divisive subject but rather that land will be seen as what it truly is, a factor of production.”

6. Ease regional trade: “My administration is therefore committed to regional trade and cooperation and will continue to strengthen ties through the free movement of people, goods and investment, including the removal of tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade within the [East African Community]. My goal is to see the continued growth of our community towards ultimate integration.”

 7. Improve regional security:  The president said his administration is committed to fighting terrorism and piracy. He said, as a president, he will “work with the international community to strengthen its support for IGAD and the AU peace process in Somalia because a stable and prosperous Somalia is in the interest of all nations.”

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