MPs expressed mixed reactions to President Kenyatta’s State of the Nation Address delivered to a joint sitting of Parliament on Tuesday.
Whereas pro-handshake lawmakers lauded the eighth address as comprehensive and giving hope to Kenyans, their counterparts in Deputy President William Ruto’s camp insisted the speech was underwhelming.
Speaking to the Star separately, DP Ruto’s allies led by former Majority Leader Aden Duale said the President avoided mentioning key areas Kenyans were expecting from his address.
The lawmakers cited the Pandora Papers leak, Kemsa heist and debt levels as some of the national concerns missing from the President’s speech.
The President and his family were named in the Pandora Papers as owning offshore accounts and assets.
Uhuru denied any wrongdoing and promised last month to give a comprehensive statement. He has not done so.
“The President does not have the luxury to give us his achievements and leave out what happened to the Pandora Papers, debt levels and what befell the Covid-19 billionaires,” Duale said.
“The people who wrote the speech were mischeavious.”
The Garissa Township MP also faulted the President for abusing privilege by walking in to address the joint sitting at 3.45pm instead of the constitutional 2.30pm.
Soy MP Caleb Kositany –another Ruto’s confidant – said Uhuru’s speech fell below expectation, noting that the head of state had nothing for the maize farmers who have been suffering over the years.
“We also expected the President to touch on the illegality of the team purporting to be preparing the 2022 elections,” Kositany said.
The same position was taken by Nandi Senator Samson Cherargey, who described the speech as that which does not inspire hope in millions of farmers especially maize growers.
However, Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga dismissed the Tangatanga team, saying Uhuru’s speech was one of the best to be delivered before the House.
The ODM MP said highlighting the President’s achievement was crucial to debunk claims by naysayers that the handshake has derailed Jubilee’s development plan.
“I think the President has not been given enough credit for the work he has done in the country,” she said.
Minority Whip Junet Mohammed said the President’s vision for a stable country coming at a time the country is headed to elections was commendable.
“It was a wonderful speech, one of the best since he came into office. The gist of the speech is his take on political stability,” the Suna East MP said.
Nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi said the President touched on all sectors of the economy and measure taken to recover from the devastating impact of the global Covid-19 pandemic.
Eldas MP Aden Keynan, who is Jubilee’s Parliamentary Affairs Joint Secretary, lauded the President’s commitment to intensify the war on corruption, terming it an incentive to accelerate the country’s economic transformation.
Among big names who attended the eighth address were Deputy President William Ruto, ODM leader Raila Odinga and Chief Justice Martha Koome.
Others were former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, ANC boss Musalia Mudavadi, Nairobi Governor Anne Kananu and NMS boss Mohammed Badi.