President’s message to leaders
Published on April 18, 2008, 12:00 am
The following are excerpts from the President’s speech during the swearing-in of the Grand Coalition Cabinet at State House, on Thursday.
“Today’s ceremony is a tribute to Kenyans and leaders who made difficult and uncomfortable decisions for the good of our nation.
I thank President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and His Excellency, Dr Kofi Annan, for finding time to join us on this important occasion.
I also thank the Presidents from the East African Community for sending their representatives.
I also appreciate the support Kenya has received from the African Union, neighbouring countries, the mediating team, other friendly countries and well-wishers.
The recent General Election divided our people along regional and ethnic lines. Fortunately, the formation of a Grand Coalition Government promises to heal the rifts, which threatened to tear our nation apart.
In forming the coalition, we have all recognised and accepted that individual interests must not override the greater good of our nation, nor should personal views or opinions be allowed to undermine the people’s aspirations.
I, therefore, want to commend Honourable Raila Odinga for the initiatives we have undertaken that enabled us to form a Grand Coalition Cabinet. Each one of us must build on it in the spirit of collective responsibility, good faith, mutual trust and confidence.
I also want to emphasise to ministers and assistant ministers that they will be expected to excel in their portfolio.
Kenyans will monitor their performance and judge them by the quality and timeliness of the services that they provide.
The first task of the expanded Government will be to resettle displaced Kenyans.
We have a beautiful country and every Kenyan has a right to legally live, work, conduct business or own property anywhere in the country.
The Government is accelerating the resettlement programme and setting up the necessary security infrastructure to ensure that people returning to their farms are secure. We are also assisting displaced people to resume normal lives by providing ploughing services, seeds and fertiliser.
I appeal to all leaders to take the message of reconciliation and peace to the grassroots. On its part, the Government will draw up a policy for inter-ethnic relations, table a Bill in Parliament for the establishment of an Inter-Ethnic Relations Commission and pass laws prohibiting hate speech and crimes against humanity.
Further, the Government is now well placed to conclude the outstanding issue of constitutional review. It has, therefore, committed itself to deliver on this promise within a year. As a Government, we must ensure that our policies and the manner in which they are implemented over the next five years result in Kenyans being freed from poverty.
In conclusion, I urge Kenyans to pledge themselves to national reconciliation and healing, and living together in tolerance and harmony.”