|The Grand Coalition Government is united, contrary to claims by its critics, President Kibaki said on Thursday.
|Prime Minister Raila Odinga and President Mwai Kibaki at Harambee House. Photo/FILE
The President accused those claiming that he and Prime Minister Raila Odinga were not united of spreading fitina (malice).
Mr Kibaki, who was addressing over 5,000 workers at this year’s Labour Day celebrations at Uhuru Park, appealed to Kenyans to reconcile and work together for the development of the country.
“We agreed with Raila to form one Government, and we are working together in one Government. Those saying we have two Governments are spreading fitina (malice),” said the President.
The Prime Minister did not attend the fete as he has been out of the country on a medical trip. Mr Odinga was represented by Deputy PM, Mr Musalia Mudavadi, and Agriculture minister, William Ruto.
The President told the workers to promote messages of peace and reconciliation.
He ordered employers who retrenched staff due to post-election violence to reinstate them.
Speaking in Swahili, President Kibaki said: “We had problems because of the post-election violence, which was caused by us and not by outsiders. So what is now important is for us to accept it and start living and working together as friends.”
Turning to his recent tour of Rift Valley together with the PM and Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, last week, President Kibaki said he was happy with the feedback he had received.
“We must be free to live and work anywhere in the country and also to help those people whose houses were torched to resettle,” he said.
At the same time, the President, who is the PNU leader, defended his 42-member Cabinet, saying, he would have also wished to have a leaner one, but was forced by circumstances beyond his control.
The civil society and religious bodies were calling for a 25-member Cabinet, saying, the country’s economy could not sustain a bloated cabinet.
But, in his off-the-cuff remarks, President Kibaki expressed confidence that the 42 ministers would not only deliver services to the public, but would also unite the country.
On the recently enacted welfare labour laws, the President announced that they would not be done away with despite protests and court action by the Federation of Kenya Employers and by the Law Society of Kenya.
Mr Kibaki said more new labour laws were also on the way for the good of workers.
He named them as the Labour Institutions Act, the Labour Relations Act and the Employment Act passed by Parliament last year.
Said the President: “These labour laws are further augmented by new legislation to provide for safety at the work place, namely the occupational Safety and Health Care Act, 2007, and the Work Injury Benefits Act, 2007.”
He asked Labour minister, John Munyes, who was present, to ensure that the new labour laws were implemented fully so that workers remain healthy and productive.
On retired workers, the President said the Government would undertake reforms to revitalise the National Social Security Fund to make it more responsive to the needs of workers in their old age.