The first State of the Nation Speech by President Kibaki in parliament as he addresses a myriad of issues
Written by PPS
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Ladies and Gentlemen
It gives me great pleasure to join you during this special sitting of Parliament, which comes after a short, well deserved break.
During the break, I trust that my fellow legislators engaged constructively with their constituents, expounded on Government policies and sought wananchi’s views on the forthcoming agenda before this House.
In the last Session, Members of this August House were able to debate and pass crucial bills. As we commence this Session, we have a huge task ahead and I call upon each one of us to work extra hard so that we can pass all the pending bills, especially those relating to implementation of the new constitution.
Over the last four years the Grand Coalition Government has had a focused legislative agenda that has sought to improve the lives of our people. We have presented several Bills dealing with the political, socio-economic and legal affairs of our country.
On the economic front the Sacco Societies Bill which sought to regulate and license deposit-taking Savings and Credit Cooperatives was passed.
The Tourist and Limited Liability Partnership Bills were also passed.
In the area of social order, National Unity and Human Rights, the National
Cohesion and Integration Bill; the Alcoholic Drinks Control Bill; the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Bill; and the Prevention of Organised Crime Bill were passed and enacted.
Moreover, our Legal System was strengthened by the passage of: the Witness Protection Bill; and the Vetting of Judges and Magistrates Bill.
The enactment of our Constitution two years ago was an important milestone in our Nationˇs history. Our second Republic was born after many unsuccessful attempts spanning over a twenty year period. The new constitution occasioned that Parliament enacts numerous legislations within specific timelines. I wish to highly commend the various Ministries, Departments and this august House for their tireless efforts in passing the necessary legislation, on time, as required by the Constitution.
These pieces of legislation that have been enacted have formed the basis for the establishment of new institutions. Some of the Bills enacted include:
1. The Commission on Revenue Allocation Bill
2. The Contingencies and County Emergency Fund Bill
3. The National Police Service Bill
4. The Political Parties Bill
5. The Ethics and Anti-corruption Bill
6. The Elections Bill
7. The National Gender and Equality Commission Bill
8. The Kenya National Human Rights Commission Bill
9. The Transitional Authority Bill
10. The Inter-Governmental Relations Bill
One beautiful aspect of our Constitution is the creation of the 47 Counties. The Constitution clearly stipulates the role of the Central Government and the Devolved Government. The 47 Counties provide enormous opportunities and are indeed the new frontiers for socio-economic development. Modalities for making the counties operational have begun in accordance with the devolution laws. In this regard, the process of deploying resources, staff and equipment to the counties should be completed by August this year. The postings should reflect the diversity of our country.
Despite the introduction of a devolved government system, Kenya remains a Unitary State. Kenya is one Nation and any attempts or calls for secession should be rejected and shall not be tolerated. Specifically, the Coast Region has been part of, is part of and will remain part of the Republic of Kenya. Under the Devolved Government, the most successful Counties are those that will harness synergies within and between various Counties in their neighbourhood and beyond. I applaud those counties that are already formulating their strategic visions and plans.
Furthermore, the various Bills relating to devolution clearly define modalities for co-operation, collaboration and partnerships between the County Governments and National Government. This should allay fears of conflicts between the Central and County Governments.
In this regard, the Central Government will go out of its way to ensure that County Governments are empowered to effectively achieve their mandate right from day one. This is important since Counties will provide critical essential services that include health, water, agriculture and local transport. That is why wananchi have very high expectations on enhanced service delivery at the local level.
I urge voters during the General elections to elect competent leaders who will transform Counties to be economic enclaves that deliver public services professionally, create wealth and employment, improve and spread incomes across their populations as well as improve the quality of life.
In this Session of Parliament, I call upon Members of Parliament to work closely with the Executive to ensure that all necessary laws are passed on time, with specific focus on the laws laid out in the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution.
These include the three Land Bills as well as the Public Finance Management Bill, and the County Government Bills. However, Mr. Speaker, there are other Bills not listed in the Constitution but which also require very urgent attention by this August House. These include the Kenya School of Law Bill, the Legal Education Bill, the Universities Bill, Teachers Service Commission Bill, and Public Service Commission of Kenya Bill, among others.
The reforms that have been brought about by the new laws passed by this House, seek to transform our country and improve the livelihoods of our people. However, this transformation can only take place when we, as a people, embrace the national values as laid out in Article 10 of our constitution. Some of these values include Patriotism, National Unity, the Rule of Law, Social Justice, Integrity, Transparency and Accountability. We must not take our democracy and these values for granted.
We take pride that these are largely the same values that inspired our freedom fighters and founding fathers, to whom we continue to pay special tribute. All Kenyans should strive to live by these values and I urge you and all other leaders to be good role models.
Kenya is due to hold its first General Elections under the new Constitution. The Government has put in place the necessary institutions and measures to regulate free fair and credible elections. Any hindrances and obstacles of whatever nature will be dealt with decisively and promptly. We are increasing the number of security officers. Moreover, massive civic and voter education will be conducted on the New Constitution and the electoral system.
This House has also passed three crucial pieces of legislation that have laid down the legal framework for the forthcoming General Election. These are: Elections Act; Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Act; and Political Parties Act. I urge Parliament to support the Government and help to urgently harmonise the various deadlines, procedures and regulations contained in these particular legislations.
I would also like to appeal to our political parties to make an effort of having a national outlook. Our democracy has now come of age and we should discourage regionally based parties. We need parties that are ideologically driven and have a national character.
I call upon all leaders and Kenyans to embrace peace and reconciliation as we move towards the General election. As the elections draw closer, leaders must display patriotism and statesmanship. Political competition must be guided by the fact that the interests of our nation are more important than any individual or party interests. Kenyans must observe the rule of law before, during and after the elections.
The Government will be holding a National Conference on peaceful elections around August this year. I appeal to Members of Parliament and other leaders to engage in the District and County Peace Forums in the build up to the National Conference.
I am also aware of the concerns that the upcoming I.C.C. cases have caused among Kenyans. I am also cognizant of the fact that this house passed a motion that Kenya pulls out of the I.C.C. Victims of post-election violence deserve justice. The Kenyans facing trials also deserve a fair and legal hearing. In the meantime, I call on Kenyans to remain calm even as we pursue the option of having a local mechanism to deal with any international crimes. The matter of the I.C.C. must also not be politicized.
We are also embarking on the final phase of resettling internally displaced persons. We have purchased 12,900 acres of land to resettle IDPs and forest evictees. 2.9 billion shillings has been used to purchase land for IDPs and another 1 billion shillings for forest evictees. The Ministry of Special Programmes has also been allocated 4.4 billion shillings for construction of houses and purchase of food and non-food items.
Terrorist and criminal groups have over the last few years threatened our national security. Following these threats and violation of our territorial integrity, we were compelled to undertake a military
intervention in Somalia. I commend our men and women in uniform for their bravery and sacrifice as they confront these criminals and also as they seek to secure our border and keep us safe. I particularly pay a special tribute to those who have paid the ultimate price in the line of duty.
Security matters must never be politicised and government will not allow anyone to seek political capital from criminal elements.
The Kenya Defence Forces are now part of the Africa Mission in Somalia. The nation of Somalia is today at a defining moment. After 20 years of internal strife, the people of Somalia have an opportunity to embrace peace and rebuild their country. Kenya and its regional and international partners are ready to support the people of Somalia during the reconstruction period.
Ultimately, however, it is the people of Somalia and their leaders that must carry the responsibility of stabilizing their country so as to achieve the much needed socio-economic and political transformation. In the meantime, I appeal to Kenyans to remain vigilant and continue taking precautionary measures as they embark on their day to day activities.
Another regional area of great concern is the conflict between Sudan and South Sudan. Having played the role of an honest mediator to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, Kenya calls for a ceasefire and an end to the escalating hostilities. Sudan and South Sudan must not return to war.
We warmly welcome the decision of South Sudan to pull out of the HEG-LIG oil rich area. In similar ways the bombings of oil fields should stop forthwith and urge quick return to the peace agreement.
The stability of Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan are critical to the prosperity of our Region. Indeed, these three countries have applied for membership of the East African Community.
Regional integration is a major ingredient in our development. Similarly the E.A.C holds much promise for our people. As the current Chair of the East African Community, we look forward to the full economic and political integration for prosperity of the Region and its people. I acknowledge and salute members of the East African Legislative Assembly who have been holding their Sessions in Kenya. They have been at the forefront in deepening our integration process through legislative activities.
When I first addressed Parliament as President on 18th February, 2003 our country faced several challenges. Our economic growth had nearly stagnated at 0.8 percent. Working together, we have transformed our Nation. By 2007 our economic growth rate had risen to above 7 per cent and we forecast a growth of about 5.5 percent this year despite the global recession.
Today, 10 million children are enjoying our Free Primary Education, up from 5.9 million in 2003. We are paying tuition fees in secondary schools for over 2 million students. We now have over 200,000 people studying in our universities up from 60,000 in 2002.
In addition, 2,700 kilometres of new roads have been tarmacked while 4,000 kilometres have been rehabilitated countrywide. We now have 1.7 million electricity connections, up from 700,000 in 2002. Good roads have enabled our people to be connected to markets while electricity connections allow for the establishment of small scale businesses and industries in all corners of our country.
24 million Kenyans have mobile telephones. We are the world leader in mobile-phone-money transfer and home to world class ICT innovations made possible through the fibre optic cables.
One of the major national management innovations of recent times is that of Constituency Development Fund and its impact on the need for national equity and integration. Through CDF 100 billion shillings has been directly transferred to the grassroots since 2003.
Part of these funds have been used to build over 1,000 health centres and over 10,000 class rooms across the country in addition to numerous roads, security posts, hospitals, water and fish projects. The facts are that government has facilitated construction of over 50,000 fish ponds across the country. Total fish production now stands at 20,000 metric tones annually up from 4,000 metric tonnes five years ago.
On food security, it is important to point out that this Government has revived all our irrigation schemes and begun construction of dams, pans and boreholes across the country. The Government has made efforts, to avail affordable fertilizer and seeds to farmers so as to boost food production and security for our people.
Hence, milk production now stands at 5.2 billion litres annually up from below 2 billion litres 9 years ago, while we have revived critical institutions such as New K.C.C, Kenya Meat Commission and building abattoirs in Arid and Semi Arid areas. Special focus has also been on creation of value addition industries to benefit farmers.
On the social front, some 140,000 youth have benefitted with loans from the Youth fund while another 200,000 have been trained. However, much more needs to be done, to empower our youth. We must, therefore, continue to focus on projects that give greater dividends to the young people. The Women Enterprise Fund is also fully functional and has benefited over 480,000 women.
In other social sectors, over 350,000 people are on ARV drugs up from just 10,000 nine years ago. We have distributed close to 20 million mosquito nets forestalling a malaria endemic that has infected and affected our people over the years.
We have experienced tremendous growth in house construction including slum upgrading but more needs to be done. Our vibrant private sector has grown stronger and is ready to take up more complex projects singularly and in partnership with international partners.
Our informal sector including jua kali industry is more robust as they continue to develop synergies with the formal multinational counterparts.
Modern markets have been built across the country.
Today, we have engaged in the construction of our regionˇs most ambitious development project, the Lamu Port-South Sudan, Ethiopia Transport Corridor Project (LAPSSET). This will also be our second national transport corridor, one hundred years after construction of the first transport corridor from Mombasa to Malaba that is earmarked for upgrading to standard gauge railway line.
We have also lined up major transnational road projects to link Kenya with all her neighbours in addition to expanding Mombasa Port, Eldoret, Kisumu, JKIA and other Airports countrywide to ease market access and transportation. Other projects lined up are the Grand High Falls dam that will provide 350 megawatts of electricity. It entails a huge irrigation project and will provide water for millions of people in the coastal region.
We have also gathered here at a time when our country has discovered oil. I assure Kenyans that we will ensure proper use and management of this resource for the benefit of present and future generations.
All these developments have been possible because we have more than tripled our annual tax portfolio from 200 billion to 700 billion shillings. I thank the Kenyan people for paying their taxes, making it possible to transform our country into a WORKING and CARING NATION.
I wish to thank all our Development Partners who have supported Kenya’s Development Agenda. I also thank the Kenyan people for their continued good will and support and I rededicate myself to serving them in my remaining time in office.
I also assure Kenyans of a smooth transition to the new leadership that they will elect in the forthcoming general election.
That leadership must have the capacity to build and sustain on our Vision Twenty Thirty, whose foundation we have firmly laid.
Thank you, God Bless You and God Bless Kenya