Fact-checking President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jamhuri Day speech
The Financial Standard this week looks at three claims made by President Uhuru Kenyatta while officiating the country’s 55th Jamhuri Day at Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi celebrations last week.
“With better health and nutrition, Kenyans today are living nearly twice as long, on average, as their fathers did at independence.”
This is largely exaggerated. The World Bank puts Kenya’s average life expectancy in 1963, the year Kenya gained independence, at 48.2 years. The figure steadily increased to 58 years in 1984 before dipping to 51 years in 2000.
Over the past 16 years, average life expectancy in Kenya has gradually increased with the most recent data putting it at 67 years as at 2016.
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It is also worth noting that average life expectancy across Africa has followed a similar graph, rising from 41 years in 1963 to 61 years in 2016 and that Kenya’s average life expectancy is currently five years below the global average of 72 years.
“Our port is the busiest in the region and the fastest improving.”
This is correct. Of the East African Community member States, only Kenya and Tanzania have direct access to the sea and serve land-locked neighbours of Burundi, Uganda, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.
Kenya’s port of Mombasa is the larger and most developed of the two processing 24 million tones of dead weight cargo as at June 2017 against the port of Dar es Salaam that recorded 13.7 million tones over the same period of time according to annual reports from the respective port authorities.
At the same time, the port of Mombasa has recorded a 31 per cent increase in absolute cargo throughput over the past five years while the port of Dar es Salaam has marked a marginal 4.2 per cent increase over the same period of time.
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“…The private sector, which employs 90 per cent of our working population, must actively seek to become more regionally and globally competitive.
This is incorrect. Kenya’s statistics office segments Kenya’s working population into three main categories: wage employees, covering the private and public sector, self-employed and unpaid family workers and informal sector employees.
The latest statistics indicate that the majority of working Kenyans earn a living from the informal sector that recorded 14 million workers last year.
Wage employees in the private sector stood at 1.8 million with another 790,000 in the public sector. The private sector thus accounts for just 10.7 per cent of Kenya’s total working population and not 90 per cent as claimed by the president.