The ball is in your court, Kibaki tells voters
Published on December 17, 2007, 12:00 am
By Standard Team
President Kibaki concluded a whirlwind tour of North-Eastern Province and declared that the destiny of the country now lay in the hands of voters.
The Head of State addressed two public rallies in Ijara and Garissa on Sunday where he dished out goodies, including the creation of two more divisions in Ijara and a promise to rescind a ban on land allocation affecting the region.
Kibaki urged voters to shun his critics and instead cast their votes for development conscious leaders.
Addressing a huge crowd at Garissa Stadium, he asked residents not to be swayed by propaganda peddled by the Opposition, saying it did not have the interest of the country.
“Do not be duped by those spreading cheap propaganda. The important work for us is to educate our children and develop our country,” he told the ecstatic crowd, which at one point broke through the security cordon and surged to the dais.
Kibaki, who returned to the region for the second time in less than two weeks, said he was confident that he would be re-elected on December 27.
He reiterated that the Government would roll out free secondary education to boost the transition in the wake of high enrollment following the free primary education programme.
The President caused laughter when he told parents to direct money that they would have used to pay fees to improve housing and living standards of their children.
Kibaki hit out at the opposition, accusing them of using religion and tribalism to divide people and divert attention from his administration’s achievements in the past five years.
The Government, he said, had increased the youth fund to Sh3 billion, up from Sh1 billion, and asked residents to seek funds to improve their welfare.
Cabinet ministers, Prof Kivutha Kibwana (Lands) and Mr Muhammud Abdi (Regional Development) and Kanu Chairman, Mr Uhuru Kenyatta, accompanied Kibaki.
At Garisssa, the thorny issue of the alleged harassment of Muslims by the State emerged in the predominantly Muslim region.
Uhuru defended the Kibaki regime from the accusation, saying Kibaki had appointed the biggest number of ministers in the Cabinet since independence.
The former Gatundu South MP tore into the opposition, saying they engaged in sideshows and propaganda to discredit the President.
Kibwana said the Government could not be accused of victimising Muslims because Kibaki had rejected pressure to enact the anti-terrorism Bill.
Earlier, the President met leaders from the region at separate meetings in Balah Guest Hall in Ijara and at the Provincial Commissioner’s residence in Garissa.
In Garissa, the leaders presented the Head of State with a memorandum in which they asked him to lift a ban imposed on land allocation in 1999 to boost investment.
The leaders said the ban had promoted squatting because residents could not get title deeds.
Further, the leaders sought for the review of the provincial boundary with regard to the three kilometre strip from River Tana to change the situation where the provincial and district headquarters were in another province.
They also wanted the Garissa electrification programme upgraded to the national grid. The President said the ministries concerned would look into the issues.
The Head of State appealed to pastoral communities in northern Kenya to stop cultural practices that discriminated against girls on education.
The President urged the youth and women to borrow from the funds the Government has set aside and invest in business.
In Ijara, Kibaki created two more divisions — Qotiley and Ruqa — and a location, Gumarey — in the district. He said the creation of extra administrative areas would take Government services closer to the people.
The President also opened the Masalani-Tana River bridge which has been under construction since 1992.
The bridge, the President noted, would open up landlocked Ijara District to Coast Province.
Kibaki also opened the Coast Development Authority office in Ijara.
– Reports by Alex Ndegwa, Adow Jubat and Abdisalan Ahmed