President (Dr.) William Ruto’s inaugural State of the Nation Address to parliament is scheduled for Thursday, November 9, 2023, amid an economic crisis.
Ruto is set to present the address to a combined session of the bicameral Parliament, including both the National Assembly and the Senate, in the afternoon.
Former President Uhuru Kenyatta delivered the most recent State of the Nation address on November 30, 2021.
The State of the Nation Address, as mandated by Article 132 (1) of the Constitution, requires the President to speak at a special parliamentary session annually and may do so at any other time.
This year’s address follows the ongoing bipartisan discussions between the ruling coalition Kenya Kwanza and the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition, officially supported by both Houses. Over the past months, the 10-member dialogue team has been focusing on a five-point agenda, addressing constitutional issues, electoral justice, financial integration into the Constitution, establishment and consolidation of State offices, and adherence to political parties/coalitions and multiparty democracy laws.
Another significant update that the President may address is the National Security Council’s request to Parliament for approval to send Kenyan police officers on a UN-supported security mission to Haiti in the Caribbean. Communications presented in both the National Assembly and the Senate by their Speakers indicate that the relevant security committees will review the proposed deployment and present a report to the Houses for further deliberation.
The President is expected to discuss educational changes implemented during his term, such as the hiring of instructors and a shift in university funding. Ruto is also expected to address healthcare reforms, with a particular focus on Universal Health Care.
Senator Edwin Sifuna of Nairobi has declared his decision not to attend President William Ruto’s State of the Nation Address.
The address coincides with Kenyan populace expressing concerns about the escalating cost of living under the Kenya Kwanza administration. The government has previously conveyed its approach to addressing the cost of living.
Kenyans anticipate the President addressing the soaring cost of living and potentially providing optimism regarding the reduction of prices, including basic commodities and fuel.
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Households are grappling with reduced disposable income due to a significant increase in the tax burden. The Ruto administration has justified its new taxes, although they have exacerbated the cost of living crisis and posed challenges for businesses, particularly small traders.