Uhuru pushes "big four' agenda to counties, warns on corruption


President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses the 5th Annual Devolution Conference 2018 via video link from State House, Nairobi on April 24, 2018. PHOTO | Samuel Miring'u | NMG

President Uhuru Kenyatta skipped the opening ceremony of the devolution conference in Kakamega, but vowed to support devolution in a speech delivered to the delegates through a video link.

In his speech, the president said he will support county governments but warned that he will have no mercy on officials who loot public funds.

"The only way to ensure the 'Big Four' agenda succeeds is through leadership, not politics and corruption," he said.

The President said corruption is an individual act that knows no tribe, religion or class or and declared his government will deal firmly with those who steal.

"There is no collective guilt. Those who steal should be ready to carry their individual crosses. There will be no hiding behind cocoons, whether religious or tribal because you stole alone," President Kenyatta said.

Mr Kenyatta called on governors to work together with his administration to ensure the 'Big Four' agenda succeeds.

Universal healthcare

On the 'Big Four' agenda, the President pushed for the prioritisation of universal healthcare, saying health is very important to Kenyans.

He said the government has replaced the health cover offered by the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) and replaced it with universal healthcare coverage. A pilot for the project is being carried out in four counties before its rolled out countrywide, the President said.

To hasten the process, the President ordered NHIF, the ministries of Interior and Social Protection to assign more officers in the counties to support enrollment of the ambitious programne

To achieve this, the President said the healthcare infrastructure will have to be improved, more doctors trained and the quality of drugs improved.

"We have to prioritise healthcare because health troubles Kenyans the most. Medical harambees (fundraisers) have become a permanent feature of our healthcare system."

He added: "We can deliver if we work together in the spirit of cooperation, coordination to show by example that we value the lives of Kenyans”.

Apart from universal healthcare, other issues on the 'Big Four' agenda are affordable housing, food security and manufacturing.