JAMHURI DAY PLEDGES

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Hosting the 44th Jamhuri Day celebrations at the Nyayo Stadium yesterdayWednesday 12 December, President Kibaki addressed the crowd that was gathered to ritually celebrate the day. In the 40 minute speech Kibaki exuded confidence of winning the upcoming elections.

He also used celebrations to rule out a majimbo system of government but said he would accelerate and strengthen the basic structures of devolution that have been set up in the last five years of his Government. Kibaki also spoke of a clean, representative Cabinet, a middle level economy, war on corruption and a new constitution in a few months. He said he would appoint a clean hands Cabinet made up of men and women of integrity from among the decent men and women that the voters would elect and promised to pick a cabinet that would blend experience and youth. He asked the 14.2 million voters to elect leaders of integrity “who are fit for public office and with no record of engaging in corrupt practices”. 

President Kibaki said fighting graft did not merely involve jailing or prosecuting offenders. It also entailed changing of attitudes, values and ethics of a society among other things. It also involved adhering to rules and regulations. He said: “It is about ensuring that those who commit crimes pay for their actions.”

President Kibaki also set tough terms for his second-term Cabinet, declaring that any minister who would be suspected of corruption would have to resign immediately and remain out of office until cleared after investigations.

The 44th celebration of Kenya’s independence was spiced up by entertainment and trooping of colours by the Kenya Air Force battalion from Nanyuki Air base. The usual parade of scouts, the prison and police officers were missing.

Marking the fifth celebration in his leadership, President Kibaki revisited the thorny issue of constitutional review and promised that his next government would take “a few months” to give Kenyans a new constitution. 

“We have learnt from the past five years that we can best deliver a new constitution through a non-partisan and patriotic approach,” he said.

Highlights of his speech included rejection of the majimbo system of government. He promised to strengthen the current structure of devolution such as Constituency Development Fund (CDF) and Local Authorities Transfer Fund.

The model of devolution his Government would pursue will put responsibility and finances in local structures. “We are a greater country today because of these changes and I am determined to build on these strong foundations to bring about even greater changes,” he added.

He added by concluding: “I envision a country with well-built and maintained roads, clean and bustling cities and towns, better ports, improved and new railways and excellent communication networks.” He would also ensure a Kenya without slums, but with well planned cities and towns with tens of thousands of affordable rental houses and decent homes. Rural areas will be provided with clean water, better roads and electricity.

“It is my cherished dream… to lead this country to higher prosperity and equity so that the lives of all Kenyans are changed permanently for the better.”

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