“This is a momentous occasion for Kenya” is how President William Ruto began his speech to the nation marking a moment that Kenyans across the globe stopped to watch. The Fifth President of the Republic of Kenya – President Ruto made his inaugural speech relaying his aims and objectives for his presidency. With an obvious aim to hit the ground running, President Ruto outlined over 10 key objectives that will have an impact on all citizens and areas of government. Within his speech, we see him touch on the Judiciary, CRBs, Mombasa port, NHIF contributions and other areas – with a majority being fulfilments of policy changes spoken about during his campaign.
To begin, the judiciary which he underlined that his “administration will respect judicial decisions while [they] cement the place of Kenya as a country anchored on democracy” – arguably forming a key part of his speech in addressing the position of the judiciary and the underlying importance they have in the political process. To further solidify this, President Ruto stated he will be appointing the six judges already nominated for appointment to the Court of Appeal three years ago by the Judicial Service Commission. This is a big move in ensuring the independence of the judiciary and solidifying his promises during the presidential campaign.
Furthermore, the conversation about the current cost of living crisis formed a key part of the speech – with President Ruto discussing how throughout his campaign he met with the people of Kenya and heard their worries. He stated that the current fuel and food subsidies “have not borne any fruit” – speaking on how the cost of living crisis is directly related to production with the solution provided being “empowering producers”. The navigation by the President through this global issue is a key part of what we will be seeing over the next few months.
The President went on and discussed reducing fertiliser prices and an aim to make credit more affordable. The ‘Hustler fund’ is a key change targetting those who are low-income earners, with the Sh50 billion annual kitty will be channelled towards supporting micro, small and medium, enterprises (MSMEs). What is clear, President Ruto is proactive in ensuring the current effects of the global pandemic and the aftereffects of the war in Ukraine.
We also bear witness to the coming together of President Ruto and former President Uhuru in chairing ongoing discussions based on regional crises in neighbouring Ethiopia, where the government is fighting Tigray forces, and in eastern Congo, where tensions exist with Rwanda. This in itself is a demonstration of how President Ruto intends to create effective leadership through relieving tensions by not creating room for troubled discourse.
Change is imminent and based on the inaugural speech the nation of Kenya is in for a positive change.