Kenya better off now than it was five years ago
Published on October 1, 2007, 12:00 am
By Mwai Kibaki
Fellow Kenyans, I want to begin by thanking the Almighty God for His guidance and for enabling me to serve you in the last five years. I want to thank my family; in particular my wife, the First Lady, Lucy and our children for their love and encouragement. Let me thank all of you, the people of Kenya, for your support and prayers over the last five years.
When I addressed you in Uhuru Park at my inauguration as your President on December,30 2002, I spoke of the rays of sunlight that had bathed my room with such brilliance on that morning.
I promised to lead you into building a country that we could all be proud of, once again. I invited all of us to join hands and remain united for the good of our people, and to face the enormous tasks and challenges that lay ahead. I am proud to say that we have faced our challenges head on and together we have achieved some phenomenal milestones in our national development.
Today is as bright a day for our nation as my election to office in 2002 was. We are here today to launch the Party of National Unity, an alliance of parties assembled here and committed to staying the course I outlined in 2002 and to completing the journey we embarked on.
It is a journey that has seen us achieve economic growth of 6.1 per cent, and lift more than two million Kenyans out of poverty. It is a journey that has seen us reduce the distance walked by women in search of water in our most arid areas from 20 to seven kilometres.
It is a journey that has seen us empower communities and devolve decision making to the constituencies through the CDF and the Schools Bursary Fund. It is a journey that has seen us empower women and youth through the establishment of the Women and Youth Enterprise Funds.
Furthermore, this journey has brought electricity and light to remote rural areas; it has seen over 4,000 kilometres of roads rehabilitated; it has delivered a dramatic expansion of our democratic space. And,it is a journey that resulted in over 1,000 new health centres being built across the country, bringing affordable healthcare closer to the people.
PNU is for equality of opportunity
Fellow Kenyans, We have been driven by two principal convictions during the last five years, to serve you well, without prejudice or favour, and to invest in our nation’s welfare today for a better tomorrow.
The formation of the Party of National Unity will build on the foundations we have laid and the successes we have achieved and bring real change to the lives of every Kenyan.
The PNU alliance will mobilise Kenyans to use their resources and ingenuity to address emerging challenges and issues that confront our society, so that together we will build a prosperous future that includes each one of us, from every part of this great country.
One single conviction unites the PNU Alliance, equality of opportunity today, and hope for a better future. This means ensuring that every child growing up in Kenya will have access to food, shelter, healthcare and education, clothing, and security, the basic requirements to get ahead. We want a society in which every child has equal access to basic healthcare and education, food and shelter, no matter what their parents do, or which part of the country they live in.
We want a society where all mothers deliver safely in our public health facilities, every child is immunised, and all children are fed at school so that they can perform better. These things will be possible to achieve because in the last five years, we have worked together as the people of Kenya to lay the foundations for their realisation.
We will be guided by a principle that states ‘no matter whether you were born poor or rich, you have the right to go to school and improve your circumstances. It is a principle which says ‘‘if you fall sick, you have access to affordable healthcare for you to get back on your feet,’’ so that mothers can care for their families, children can go to school, and men and women can go to work.
We want you as farmers, pastoralists, matatu operators, artisans, business people, professionals, teachers, pastors, and Kenyans from every walk of life to go about your daily business with the confidence that your Government will provide affordable healthcare to keep you and your family healthy and productive and a good education for your children.
Symbol of progress
Fellow Kenyans, The torch that symbolised Narc in 2002 was a torch of light and hope. In 2002 we promised to expand the democratic freedoms and we have delivered; we promised to improve public service management and we have delivered; we promised to fight corruption and we are on track; we promised to strengthen accountability and public participation in public affairs and we have delivered; we promised to empower Kenyans with an economy that would create jobs and improve incomes and we have delivered on this too.
Indeed, we have kept our promises and delivered much more than we all expected five years ago. Today, the two PNU torches that are our symbol represent progress and unity of purpose by our parties in implementing fundamental changes today for a better tomorrow.
Under my leadership, we will ensure that the PNU alliance is united in one common purpose; providing equal opportunity for all Kenyans. We will build our common prosperity on the foundations we have laid.
We have reclaimed Kenya’s status as one of the most dynamic economies in the continent by implementing enlightened economic policies and investments in modernising our infrastructure. We are now rated as having one of the most improved business environments in the world. This is why the economy is as strong as it has ever been, and we promise it will be even stronger.
The challenge we now face is to expand and distribute wealth and the benefits of improved public service management to every corner of the country, so that wealth is not confined to our cities or in the hands of few, but is distributed far and wide throughout the land. We have made a good start, but the task is not yet complete. We will not rest until it is complete and until the vision we have set out for our nation is achieved.
We as the PNU will be determined to transform our country into Africa’s most competitive regional hub for manufacturing and services. We will double our investment in infrastructure to build world-class networks of roads, railways, airports and seaports, power and communications, and water supply over the next five years. We will make these investments in order to create a globally competitive environment for investments in tourism, manufacturing, communications, financial and social services as well as support growth and modernisation of the informal sector. We shall also support and encourage investment in value-adding industries in agriculture, livestock production, and fishing in various parts of the country.
The PNU’s policies will grow the economy to double its current size in five years, spreading economic benefits to all Kenyans, and creating jobs and business opportunities in every part of the country. It will generate many decent jobs that will employ our youth, and provide incomes to our urban and rural communities, enabling many more of them to own a bicycle or a small car as well as their own home or farm. The revenues generated by a larger economy will allow us to achieve our ambition of providing free secondary education and free healthcare.
With more money to invest in development, we will build a society that is cohesive, secure, and tolerant, as each part of the country receives its equitable share of economic and social development opportunities. Then it will not matter, which tribe you are from, which religion you belong to, which region you come from, and what social class you belong to; because we shall all be first and foremost, proud Kenyans.
Rights for all
Fellow Kenyans, We in the PNU will promote, protect, and conserve our national heritage. We shall recognise community rights and cultural interests, while at the same time striving to promote cohesion, tolerance, and mutual respect for the cultural diversity of our people.
We want every Kenyan to feel free, respected, and secure wherever they are in the country. No Kenyan should feel discriminated or harassed on the basis of ethnicity, religion, race, gender or social status. Neither should we allow anybody to incite and divide Kenyans along these lines. All parties in the PNU will commit themselves to implement policies and laws that bind our people together and build on benefits that our diverse cultures bring to our society.
We in the PNU know that our cardinal responsibility is to make sure that we protect and promote our country and empower our people.
As the PNU Government, we shall ensure the security of our people and their property by expanding the police force, providing them with adequate transport and equipment, and strengthening cooperation between the police, the provincial administration and the local communities for more effective policing.
Moreover, the growing economy will have done its part, by employing most of our young people, thereby reducing the incentives for committing crime.
We are for peace
Fellow Kenyans, The impending election should be about issues and not about slogans, insults, and empty promises. Nor is it about bombastic speeches to incite people into ethnic conflict and regional animosities. It is about sound, wise and proven management of public affairs that will improve the welfare of all our people and create wealth in our beloved country.
As PNU delegates, I urge you to use today’s statement as a basis of what to tell Kenyans when you tour the country and travel around your constituencies in search of votes for us and for PNU. Tell the people of Kenya the truth, that Kenya is better than it was five years ago, and will be far better off five years from now under PNU.
God Bless You
God Bless Kenya
The speech was distributed during the launch of the President’s re-election campaign