Fellow Kenyans, I am happy to address you on this historic day one year after the promulgation of our new Constitution. The National Charter has ushered in unprecedented change in our society within a very short span of time. It has given Kenya a facelift.
Only our genius and resilience as a country made it possible for us to adopt a new Constitution in peace-time after the experience of the 2007/2008 violence. For me, the new Covenant is a guarantee that the Kenyan people shall henceforth resolve any potential conflict through the rule of law.
Fellow Kenyans, those who have watched Kenya keenly have witnessed the onset of fundamental changes in the last twelve months. New institutions have been established through which we shall deepen our democracy. The Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution is a new body whose central function is to monitor, facilitate and oversee the development of legislation and administrative procedures required to implement the Constitution.
The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights and the National Commission on Gender and Development were merged to serve as one commission charged with the task of safeguarding human rights and equality concerns.
We established the Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee of Parliament whose key mandate is to co-ordinate with the Attorney General, the Commission on the Implementation of the Constitution and relevant parliamentary committees to ensure the timely introduction and passage of the legislation required by the Constitution.
Once the Constitution was adopted at the referendum last year, all designated State officers took a fresh oath to defend and act in accordance with the Constitution.
Fellow Kenyans, we established a new Judicial Service Commission which has briskly embarked on renewing Kenya’s judiciary. It has so far recommended for my appointment the Chief Justice, the Deputy Chief Justice, Supreme Court Judges, and Judges of the High Court. We are on the road to reforming our judiciary. A new Chief Justice and his Deputy are now firmly in place to offer leadership to our independent judicial branch.
The Interim Independent Boundaries Commission was retired by the Constitution. We are in the process of recruiting members of the Independent Electoral ad Boundaries Commission. This is the Commission on whose shoulders the responsibility of managing the 2012 general elections will fall.
The Vetting of Judges and Magistrates Board has been nominated and is awaiting final approval by the National Assembly. This Board will bear monumental responsibility because it must professionally and fairly vet all serving judges and magistrates.
Other institutions that have been established include the Salaries and Remuneration Commission, and the Commission for Revenue Authority. The former commission will henceforth determine the emoluments and other benefits which accrue to public and state officers. The latter will develop recommendations to Parliament regarding the division of the national budget between national and county levels as well as inter se the counties.
The process of recruiting a new Attorney-General, Controller of Budget and Auditor-General are firmly in place.
Fellow Kenyans, Our National Assembly and all the other institutions concerned have passed 25 laws which directly impact on the implementation of the Constitution. These are the laws itemized in the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution.
I congratulate the National Assembly because it has discharged its constitutional mandate under Article 261 of the Constitution within the required time. Parliament has done Kenyans proud. The fact that more than twenty five Bills can be passed within a year is evidence of the great potential of our National Assembly. It has risen to the occasion when duty called.
The opportunity of our new Constitution has presented another opportunity. We are also renewing the ordinary laws of Kenya. Indeed we are refurbishing our legal system. Few countries in the world ever get the rare opportunity to fundamentally renew their legal system.
I wish to single out the many institutions that have collaborated to achieve the passage of the laws needed to implement the constitution. These institutions are specialist Task Forces; line ministries; the Kenya Law Reform Commission; The Commission on the Implementation of the Constitution; the Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee of the National Assembly; the Attorney General’s office; Cabinet; and the National Assembly. As Kenyans we owe a great debt to these institutions. Their exemplary work has passed the message that no stone should be left unturned in our endeavour to implement our constitution.
Fellow Kenyans, a few challenges have presented themselves in the task of implementing our constitution. We have not kept one or two deadlines in terms of appointment of officials due to unforeseen circumstances. However we overcame the initial teething problems and are now endeavouring to strictly observe the schedule in our constitutional implementation process.
Once in a while differences of opinion among the multiple actors charged with the implementation of the constitution will arise. These must be resolved amicably. Together we must focus on what is best for Kenya. Harmony is absolutely an imperative as we entrench our new constitution through legislative and other measures.
There are Bills that must be developed and passed within the time frame of one and a half years, two years, three years, four years and five years after the promulgation of the Constitution. We must embark on finalizing the next round of legislations. Time is still of the essence. There are other important Bills expected to be passed by the Constitution for which no deadline exists. We must also work on these.
The Constitution requires that we put in place all the new commissions that it has established. This is an urgent matter that the government is addressing.
I wish to emphasize that as the judiciary is renewed through the vetting process, the rules of natural justice should be strictly adhered to. Kenya needs a corrupt free and professional judiciary as well as a judiciary that is confident in the discharge of its duties.
Fellow Kenyans, I sense change all around in Kenya. We are living in exciting times. Those who come after us will envy us. They will see that we were brave to embrace change. I am clear in mind that implementing the Constitution is the other side of the coin of implementing Vision 2030. I also know my dream of transforming Kenya into a working nation will be realized as we implement our new Constitution and Vision 2030.
The enduring inheritance that we shall bequeath to the youth of our society is the new Constitution. I say so because the new Constitution has totally transformed the socio-economic and political landscape of our country for the better.
Kenyans now enjoy one of the most robust Bills Of Rights in the world. The county governments will potentially percolate investment and general development to the grassroots. Separation of powers is truly entrenched within the fabric of our governmental system.
Land and other national resources will be protected more efficaciously. Leadership will be squarely brought under constitutional spotlight. Kenyans can be citizens of the world. A new senate will supplement the current national assembly. The executive will be outside of Parliament. Cabinet and Principal Secretaries will be professionals who give all their working time to government departments. The President will be chosen by a majority of Kenyans.
The Supreme Court will be the guardian of our Constitution. National security organs will be subjected to civilian oversight. Public finance will be exposed to strict accountability. The Constitution establishes national principles and values that describe our country’s vision. We must embrace these.
Fellow Kenyans, I am proud to be your President during this momentous period of our growth as a country. I wish to once more thank Kenyans for having passed their own democratic Constitution. We preferred the route of change based on a national consensus. Many Kenyans have also been part of debating the new laws that we are making to implement our Constitution. I salute you all. This is a demonstration of commendable civic duty.
I challenge Kenyans that we henceforth follow the Constitution we have made for ourselves regardless of our station in life. We must become a country ruled by law.