Elect honest, visionary, hardworking leader-Pres. Kibaki

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Special correspondent

Kenya’s President Mwai Kibaki presided over his last Jamhuri (Republic) day as Head of State and called on Kenyans to elect honest, visionary and hardworking leaders ready to unite and propel the country to the next level of development.

Jamhuri marks the day the country won independence from Britain 49 years ago. Kenya hold a potentially contentious General Election on March 4 next year in which President Kibaki will not be seeking re-election.

In his speech, the President said the leaders who will be elected need to be promoters of peace, the rule of law, and justice and have track records of performance and ability to build on the country’s economic and political gains so as to bring meaningful development to Kenyans.

Kibaki made the remarks today when the he led the nation in marking this year’s Jamhuri Day celebrations at the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi.

He enumerated the country’s various development achievements in the last 10 years which, he said, have laid the foundation for the economic, social and political transformation of the country.

The President urged Kenyans to take advantage of the remaining time and register as voters in order to elect leaders the country requires to move forward.

“Registering to vote will enable you to carry out your civic duty of electing your leaders. You will also be choosing the policies by which you will be governed. Thus, registering to vote will enable you to participate in strengthening our democracy” He said.

He asked voters to choose wisely the county and national leaders ready to collaborate with them in harnessing the enormous potential of the resources and people of Kenya to maintain the growth momentum.

“We must keep our eyes on the goal of building a great Kenya for present and future generations” Kibaki said.

He said promulgation of a new Constitution after more than 20 years of waiting remained one of the most memorable moments during his ten-year tenure as the country’s President.

He exhorted Kenyans to respect the rule of law which is the foundation of the current and future development even as they enjoyed the freedoms of speech and association enshrined in the Constitution.

The President also called upon Kenyans to promote peace and national unity in all areas of influence.

“We should be free to disagree and hold divergent opinions but as we do so, we must remain both peaceful and united”, he said.

Expanded budget

President Kibaki further sent a sharp warning to elements bent on terror and criminal activities, warning that “as the Commander-in-Chief, I want to assure Kenyans that the government will not let a few individuals distract our nation from the goal of living in a peaceful and harmonious environment.”

Due to the security challenges the country recently faced from agents of international terrorist networks, The President said the government launched ‘Operation Linda Nchi’ [in southern Somalia] with the overall objective of protecting the country’s territorial integrity.

“This Operation has made significant progress and our troops are now part of the African Union Mission in Somalia” he added.

Within the country, President Kibaki said steps have also been taken to reduce incidents of crime and lawlessness, including terrorist attacks, cattle rustling and re-emergence of criminal gangs.

On the social sector, the President noted the strides made in health, water, sanitation and in the free and compulsory primary education initiated by the government in 2003.

President Kibaki noted that increased tax revenue has enabled the government to reduce dependence on donor funding and take control of the country’s economic destiny while making important decisions that will improve the citizens lives.

“You will recall that, ten years ago, our national budget was 250 billion shillings, and our tax revenues were 180 billion shillings. We depended on donor funding to finance a large part of our national budget. In the last ten years, we have been able to significantly increase our tax revenues to over 700 billion shillings” he said.


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