Computer errors in the State of the Nation Address?

December 10, 2021 - Reading Time: 3 minutes - By Francis Monyango

President Uhuru Kenyatta on 30th November delivered his 8th State of the Nation Address to a joint sitting of both houses of Parliament. In his address he reported on the measures taken by his government. He also reported on the status of our fulfilment of the international obligations of the Republic, the state of national security, and the general State of the Nation.

In today’s address, he emphasised on:

  • the state of economic development,
  • the state of our social structure, and
  • the state of our nationhood.

Key Highlights from his speech

  • The President stated that in the second quarter of 2021, our real GDP grew by 10.1% and a notable contributor is the ICT sector, which grew by a significant 25.1% in the second quarter of 2021. He added that the ICT sector is projected to become a prime mover of our economic growth in years to come.
  • The President stated that he directed the National Treasury to engage all digital payment providers with an aim of deepening and expanding the use of digital payment channels. This is in recognition of the importance of digital financial services especially to the small-scale traders and the household at large.
  • On the Digital Learning Programme (DLP) that was launched way back in 2013, the President said that public primary schools received teacher and learner digital devices, digital content servers, wireless routers, and projectors and a total of 94% of primary schools have benefited from these digital devices.
  • Still on education, the President stated that in this past Financial Year, they ensured that about a quarter of the National Budget was allocated to Education.
  • The President asked Parliament to prioritise the Huduma Bill, so they can conclusively institutionalize the reforms on the national identity ecosystem through the establishment of the National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS).

Another computer error?

While his speech was full of praises of the good he has done since 2013, a fact checking exercise by AFP Kenya on some of the figures mentioned in the address shows glaring disparities.

Economic growth figures

While President Uhuru Kenyatta stated that the country’s economy grew by 0.3 percent in 2020, official data retrieved from the Central Bank of Kenya and the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows that the country’s Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) declined in 2020.

KMC figures

The President stated that the Kenya Meat Commission (KMC), which is now being managed by the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF), earned a total of one million Kenyan shillings per day.

He said that KMC also launched a cashless outlet collecting Ksh1 million daily. Previously, the outlet collected a mere Ksh8,000 daily. This Ksh1 million translates to Ksh30 million every month, and Ksh3.6 billion annually. This calculation is incorrect as annual earnings should be Ksh360 million, not Ksh3.6 billion.

Power figures

In the address, the President stated that in 2013, Kenya’s total grid was 1,300 megawatts and eight years later, Kenya’s total grid had doubled and now stands at 2,600 megawatts. This translates to 325 megawatt installed every year. KNBS data on the other hand shows that Kenya’s power generation has increased in the past eight years to about 2,600 megawatts, the increment equates to 162 additional megawatts on average per year, and not 325 megawatts.

Some Kenyan journalists, economists and politicians have highlighted the misstatements in the president’s address. Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro said that the Head of State misrepresented facts while talking about tea and fertilizer prices in the country. Politician cum businessman Jimmy Wanjigi said the President’s description of the country’s affairs is not a match of what he knows in real life. Many felt it was a hyperbole designed to sell a legacy that has a mixed record.

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