Raila: Our priority in reforms is institutions
Published on April 18, 2008, 12:00 am
The Kenyan people spoke in very large numbers in the December elections in support of the Orange Democratic Movement.
I pay tribute to their patience, determination and solidarity. I convey my condolences to the families who have lost loved ones in the mindless violence during the election campaign and in its tragic aftermath.
My heart also goes out to the many Kenyans who have been displaced and in desperate need for resettlement. Their plight is foremost in our mind and a top priority for the Grand Coalition Government.
Dr Kofi Annan, H.E President Kufuor, H.E President Kikwete, H.E former President Benjamin Mkapa and Lady Graca Machel played unique roles in bringing the crisis to an amicable end. Kenyans will forever be indebted to these eminent Africans.
We cannot forget the efforts of British Prime Minister, Mr Gordon Brown, US Secretary of State, Ms Condoleezza Rice, EU Development Commissioner, Mr Louis Michel, UN Secretary-General, Mr Ban ki Moon, and former Commonwealth Secretary-General, Mr Don MacKinnon, who were among many others instrumental in finding a solution.
As you are all aware, I travelled many miles and visited many places on the campaign trail last year. I was privileged and humbled to meet different people, holding different beliefs, practising different customs, wearing different attire and speaking different dialects.
They all had similar hopes, similar dreams and similar ambitions. They wanted real change. And most importantly, they were all Kenyans.
The beautiful vision of our society was at a stroke shattered following the announcement of election results that lacked credibility and international acceptance.
It was unfortunate that the spark of a disputed election result ignited the time-bomb of ethnic hatred. We shockingly witnessed and experienced the reality of modern day Kenya.
Lifelong friends and neighbours turned into enemies and in a few cases assassins. We have been to hell and back. Never again in our history must we return to those times.
We must preserve the sanctity of our nation state and remain united. But our unity cannot be based on words and goodwill alone.
The tragic events we have lived through recently may have made us wiser and tolerant as a nation. But we humans pass away; others will take our place. We cannot bequeath them our personal experience. But we can leave them institutions. The life of institutions is longer than that of men.
I am, therefore, determined to provide decisive leadership and build democratic institutions that will hand on the wisdom to succeeding generations of Kenyans and — most importantly — enshrine truth and justice.
We will break with the past and create a new inclusive Kenya. We will embark on institutional transformation in our society and give Kenyans what is long overdue — a new constitution.
We will foster high and sustainable growth that is more equitably distributed. We will lay the foundation of future growth through infrastructural development and create opportunities for long-term employment. We will bring Government, power and financial resources closer to the people through devolution. We will ensure that power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of many, not a few. The Chinese proverb says: “It is not the size of the wave, but the motion of the ocean that moves the ship.” Do not please judge us by the size of the Cabinet. Judge us by what the Cabinet will deliver.
I congratulate my colleagues on their Cabinet appointments and commiserate with those equally competent and qualified members of ODM who missed out. United we have the strength to deliver prosperity with equity and accountability.
Today is a historic occasion. My swearing in as Prime Minister will go further than just an entry in our history books. We can now consign Kenya’s past failures of grand corruption and rampant tribalism to the history books.
Kenya will no longer have a ruling class. The rulers are the people. There will be not one or two centres of power — just one. Power will forever reside with the people of Kenya.
It has been said “we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give”. Fellow Kenyans, I give you myself in your service. The great responsibility and trust you have placed in me will be my life and I will not let you down.