Deputy President William Ruto has said he is optimistic that the country’s economy will improve due to the prevailing political environment.
Mr Ruto said the recent meeting between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga will help unite the country and accelerate development.
He said the heightened political temperatures witnessed after the last General Election slowed down the country’s economic growth, saying ‘we are now headed for an economic recovery path’.
Addressing Women Representatives Caucus from across the political divide, in his Karen office, Nairobi, on Thursday, the Deputy President said the latest developments have lowered political temperatures in the country that had threatened to slow down the country’s economy.
“You all know that we can only achieve a lot as a country in terms of development if there is good political atmosphere for implantation of development projects and that the citizens go about their businesses without any fear for the improvement of the economy,” said Mr Ruto.
He told the MPs led by chairperson Fatuma Gedi (Wajir) that it was time leaders put aside their political differences and focus their energies on activities that can transform the lives of the people.
“As leaders we should work together as one and not because we are in this political party and that but because we have one common goal of serving the people at whatever level,” said Mr Ruto.
He said the maturity being demonstrated by leaders both in Jubilee and the Opposition was a clear indication that we are maturing democratically as a nation.
“As leaders we should know that elections come and go but development is there to stay. This is why we need to forget issues of the last election and forge a common development agenda for our people of this great nation called Kenya,” said Mr Ruto.
He went on: “We want a situation where as leaders, we compete on issues. We want circumstances where we compete today and tomorrow we sit together. I am optimistic we are reaching there soon.”
The Deputy President told the legislators that they were well placed to champion for a united country free from tribalism and negative ethnicity.
“For our nation to prosper, we should always concentrate on issues that help promote the unity of our people and avoid those that can tear our country apart,” said Mr Ruto.
Ms Gedi said women MPs have resolved to forget their political differences and take the lead in promoting peace and stability of the country.
Praising the recent meeting between President Kenyatta and Mr Ruto, the MPs said the move was aimed at putting an to end issues of 2017 General Election and concentrate on development.
“We commend the ongoing cooperation among leaders in the Government and those in Opposition because it will help unite the country and speed up issues of development,” said Migori Women Rep, Dr Pamela Odhiambo.
Kakamega Women Rep Elsie Muhanda said they were ready to support the Government on issues of forest conservation besides ensuring proper management of resources.
Ms Gedi and Kitui Women Rep Irene Kasalu assured the Government of their support in ensuring the implementation of its development programmes at the grassroots.
The Deputy President, at the same time, urged the MPs to help mobilize Kenyans register and acquire the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) card.
He told the MPs to be ready to support a legislation that will soon be drafted to compel employers to contribute to NHIF, saying the current contributors were only employees.
“There is also need for those who get higher pay to contribute more to NHIF compared to those at the lower cadre. What’s wrong with someone getting a monthly salary of Sh 500,000 contributing Sh 10,000 to NHIF, for example?’ asked Mr Ruto.
“We look for your support in terms of policy and legislation so that we put some things in order,” he added.
He said the Government was committed to a universal healthcare, saying the target would be achieved if all leaders supported the initiative.
Mr Ruto said the Jubilee Administration has made a significant progress on healthcare, saying pregnant mothers who were attending hospitals for safe delivery stood at 430,000 yearly but the number has since increased to 1.2million yearly.
“We are now spending Sh 6billion on maternal healthcare up from Sh 3billion. This means we are progressing well and on way to the attainment of universal healthcare,” said Mr Ruto.