Is Kenya Topping the Continent’s Green Energy Production? Fact-Checking President Kenyatta’s 8th State of the Nation Address

On Tuesday, November 30, 2021, President Uhuru Kenyatta issued his eighth state of the nation address as is his constitutional mandate, to both the Senate and National Assembly.

Piga Firimbi looked into the veracity of the declarations made in this address.

1. Energy and Electricity fallacies

President Uhuru Kenyatta stated that Kenya is leading in the continent’s renewable energy production.

CLAIM: “In fact,” he said, “Kenya is leading the African continent in the generation of green energy.”

PARTLY FALSE: While Kenya is indeed leading in the generation of renewable energy in the continent, it is not the only one. Ranked together with Morocco, the most recent data on the Global Electricity Review indicates that: “Morocco and Kenya had the highest levels of wind and solar, respectively generating 16% and 15% of their electricity from wind and solar in 2019.”

The top of the cadre position for Kenya’s green energy production as put in the state of the nation address does not come out in a different speech delivered by president Kenyatta on July 19, 2019. While commissioning the Lake Turkana wind power farm, Uhuru Kenyatta said;

“Kenya is one of the countries leading globally in the development of renewable energy especially in the geothermal sector.”

In another claim, the president said that his administration has doubled electricity coverage in the country.

CLAIM: “When I took the oath of office in 2013, Kenya’s total grid was 1,300 megawatts(MW). But 8 years later, Kenya’s total grid has doubled and it now stands at 2,600 megawatts.”

FALSE: Again contradicting his own speech delivered on July 19, 2019, Uhuru Kenyatta understates both the total grid that was in 2013 and the current power capacity.

“Kenya’s installed power capacity has increased from 1,768 MW in March 2013 to the current 2,712 MW,” he said on July 19, 2019.

Reports on the state of electricity access in the country also contradict the figures announced at the state of the nation address. A National Energy Policy report issued by the Ministry of Energy states that the electricity generation capacity as of October 2013 was at 1,664MW, the 2021 Economic Survey on the other hand caps the current electricity capacity in Kenya at 2,836.7MW.

Kenya last recorded an electricity capacity of 1300MW in 2009, as stated in this report by the Central Bank of Kenya. Similarly, the Energy Access Review published in April 2014 showed the total electricity capacity installed in 2013 to be at 1664MW (see screen-grab below).

Based on this, President Kenyatta’s statement that only 2.3 million households had been connected to power when he took office in 2013 is TRUE.

2. Forest Cover Claims

 CLAIM: “Our country is under forest cover which represents 8.83% up from 6%.”

There is no evidence showing that the forest cover in the country is at 8.86%. The 2021 Economic Survey shows that forest cover is at 7.29% (See screen-grab below)

According to this National Forest Policy document issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry in May 2020, the national forest cover is at 7.4%.

3. Linda Mama Programme achievements

CLAIM: “The Linda Mama Programme has led to the increase of birth deliveries by skilled providers from 43 per cent to 62 per cent. This has also fostered a decline in maternal mortality rates by 26 per cent. However, birth by skilled providers improved from 44% to 62%.”

FALSE: The Linda Mama programme was introduced in October 2016. However, the data presented in the state of the nation address is from the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey (KDHS) comparing maternal health trends in the period between 2008-2009 and 2014 (See screen-grab below)

It is in the KDHS 2008-2009 report when the maternal mortality rate was recorded to be at 488 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births and in the 2014 KDHS report, this rate decreased by 26% to 362 deaths per 100,000 live births. The 2014 report further states that it covers the maternal mortality rate for the period between 2007-2014, which still excludes the time when the Linda Mama programme was introduced in 2016.

Other health-related claims that the president cited were that the number of health facilities across the country stood at 4,430 when his administration came in in 2013. This is FALSE, as the 2014 Economic survey states that “the number of health institutions stood at 7,995 in 2013”.

The number of hospital beds currently available nationwide was also overstated by 200, in the state of the nation address where President Kenyatta said that there are 82,291 hospital beds, the actual figure according to the 2021 Economic survey is 82,091.

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Linda Ngari

Linda is a fact-checking and data journalist. She is currently the Piga Firimbi editor. She is passionate about acquiring and utilising OSINT tools and skills to tell stories that matter to a modern day tech-savvy audience in innovative ways.