It is no longer debatable that President Uhuru Kenyatta has outperformed all former Kenyan presidents in transforming the country.
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So impressive is his development track record over the past nine years that even his harshest critics are finding it hard to bend the facts: the numbers, and the many demonstratable projects across the country, simply speak for themselves.
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While it is hard to deny that Uhuru will leave Kenya a much better country than he found it in 2013, what makes this success even more remarkable is that it has been realized against all the odds.
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He has walked from one challenge to another since his first day in office but has shown remarkable resilience in the face of adversity.
Uhuru was elected to office with the “choices have consequences” tag hanging over his head after the US directly involved itself in local politics as part of a wider scheme by the international community to scuttle his State House bid.
Uhuru goes against the odds
The odds were stacked against Uhuru as he took on CORD candidate Raila Odinga in the 2013 elections.
But he took the extraordinary challenge in his stride and floored Raila to take over the reins of leadership from Mwai Kibaki.
He had effectively overcome the most daunting test, but more awaited him ahead.
First, the country was reeling from the effects of the deadly 2007/08 post-election violence, and Uhuru had to focus on the delicate pending matters of reconciling people, resettling Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), and rebuilding the economy.
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Secondly, he had to ensure the newly-promulgated Constitution was fully implemented, with devolution sufficiently funded and enhanced.
New structures and administrative policies had to be established to streamline and realign the government with the provisions of the new Constitution.
With his image tainted by the international community during the campaign period, Uhuru also had to spend a lot of time rebuilding diplomatic ties with Kenya’s partners and reassuring investors who had been scared away.
Thirdly, and most importantly, the president had to deliver on the promises he had made to the people during campaigns.
As he juggled between these issues, the dark cloud of the International Criminal Court (ICC) case was still hanging over his head, and he had to give it maximum attention since it had entered the crucial hearing stage.
At some point, Uhuru voluntarily handed over power to his deputy and physically attended the hearing at The Hague.
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Uhuru’s troubles did not end there. A vicious opposition that constantly destabilized the country with endless protests was menacingly pouncing on every small opportunity to frustrate his administration further.
Uhuru’s show of statesmanship
Uhuru’s route to securing a second presidential term in 2017 posed more unprecedented challenges.
His August 2017 victory was nullified by the Supreme Court, setting the stage for a repeat election that was boycotted in some opposition regions, leaving the country dangerously divided.
But amid the political upheavals that rocked the country, Uhuru unselfishly reached out to his political archrival, Raila Odinga, and made peace to save the country from going down the drain.
But another challenge presented itself almost instantly. His deputy, Ruto, who had started drumming up support for his very own 2022 presidential bid immediately after being sworn into the office for a second term, opposed the Handshake pact and started charting his political path.
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Brawls with the Judiciary
On the other hand, the Judiciary continued to undermine Uhuru’s administration with biased rulings aimed at frustrating and defeating the agenda of the Executive.
Some of the rulings targeted presidential appointments and mega-projects, such as the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project.
As Uhuru appeared to stabilize the boat amidst the political waves, the Covid-19 pandemic struck and threw the country into disarray.
The economy was severely battered, and the lives of Kenyans turned upside down. But Uhuru ably steered the country through the deadly pandemic that ravaged the global economy.
Surprisingly, Uhuru has ably dealt with all these quite challenges impressively and set new records in almost every sector of development.
It is for this reason that Uhuru has been giving a detailed account of the government’s achievements since 2013 with a sense of pride.
Given the circumstances he has ruled under, he has indeed exceeded all expectations.
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The writer is Olivia Chebet, a regular commentator on social, economic and political affairs.
The views expressed here are the writer’s and do not in any way represent the position of TUKO.co.ke.
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