President Mwai Kibaki Tuesday held a consultative meeting with Members of Parliament from Rift Valley Province where the Government emphasized that it would expedite the resettlement of the Internally Displaced Persons.
During the meeting, it was agreed that the national leadership should visit parts of the Rift Valley that were hardest hit by the post election violence.
The meetings will be the first in a series of nationwide peace rallies that will be to preach peace and reconciliation among all Kenyans.
A committee of representatives from various parts of the country was also established to come up with a program for the re-settling those displaced.
The committee will be chaired by the Minister for Special Programs Dr. Naomi Shaban whose ministry has already begun the resettlement process.
Speaking during the meeting at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre, President Kibaki emphasized the need for leaders to visit the displaced people now living in the camps to encourage and reassure them that their plight is being addressed.
“Let us not waste any more time. As we step up efforts to resettle the IDPs, let us visit the displaced to encourage, reassure and update them on what was being done by the Government to address their plight,” President Kibaki said.
The President, once again, called on the legislators to put aside their differences and unite in serving wananchi, adding that leaders cannot afford to sit back and wait while the country faces challenges that require their immediate attention.
President Kibaki said: ‘‘It is clear that for the initiatives to succeed, wananchi want to hear expressions of commitment and support to the displaced Kenyans from their leaders, right from the grassroots to the national level.”
President Kibaki pointed out that Kenyans and the world at large were watching the leaders to provide leadership that would restore the status of the country among the family of civilized states.
“As parliamentarians from areas worst hit by the clashes, you are better placed to galvanize this support’, the President said and urged the leaders to remain committed to the expectations of the electorate.
He reiterated that the Government has implemented various programs in areas most affected by the post election violence to encourage internally displaced people to return to their farms and resume normal life.
The President, however, noted that reconciliation and forgiveness among leaders and wananchi was essential in order to restore confidence.
He encouraged leaders to initiate dialogue at various levels in order to reach out to neighbours who had lived together peacefully.
President Kibaki cited the deployment of adequate security, construction of 34 police stations to provide security to those returning home, ploughing the farms of the displaced people for free and providing relief seeds as some of the measures the Government has taken to mitigate the effects of the post-election violence.
In this regard, the President expressed satisfaction that the initiatives have encouraged some displaced people to return to their farms.
The Head of state said a series of meetings had been agreed upon to take place in parts of Rift Valley Province to address the pressing issue of resettlement of displaced persons.
“I urge you to join hands in preaching the message of peace and reconciliation in the Rift Valley and throughout the country. Above all, let us urge communities to respect the sanctity of life and property, which is guaranteed in the constitution,” President Kibaki said.
He reminded Members of parliament that they were national leaders who should inculcate the need for all Kenyans to live, work and own property anywhere in the country without interference.
“I believe that our diversity should be a source of strength, not weakness, President Kibaki said and reminded the leaders that some of them were elected to represent multi-ethnic constituencies.
Speaking during the meeting, the Members of Parliament said they supported the Government’s resettlement of IDPs program and agreed to hold more consultative meetings geared towards addressing the challenges facing the Rift Valley region.
Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka and Prime Minister Raila Odinga also addressed the meeting.
The Vice-President noted that the journey to reconcile the people must begin with its leaders and hailed President Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga for their bold step of establishing a Grand Coalition Government bringing together all Kenyans.
The Prime Minister said Kenyans must never again be subjected to acts of violence that saw members of one community raise arms against another.
Internal Security Minister Prof. George Saitoti briefed the meeting on the security situation in the Rift Valley while his Special Programmes counterpart gave a brief on what the Government was doing to address the problem of IDPs and their resettlement.
Agriculture Minister William Ruto outlined measures his ministry was taking to help those returning to their farms including ploughing of farms for free and provision of fertilizer and seeds.
Deputy Prime Ministers Musalia Mudavadi and Uhuru Kenyatta and Education Minister Prof. Sam Ongeri also attended the meeting.