Turn out in large numbers to vote, but do so peacefully

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As we reach the final few hours of this general election campaign, let me to take this opportunity to speak to you directly, today, not as a political candidate, but as your President, President of our great nation, the Republic of Kenya.

As this campaign season draws to a close, I am reminded of something my father once said.

It is something that I have been thinking about for many weeks now and throughout this campaign; and as I consider what God has planned for me and our great nation in the future.

My father did once say that “Our children may learn about the heroes of the past. Our task is to make ourselves the architects of the future.”

Well indeed, my father and those who worked closely with him to liberate our country are, indeed, my heroes. I often think about what they would say about the last four years of my Presidency; whether they would be proud of what I have done and what advice they would have given to me. But what I know without any doubt is that they would be proud of their country and us as its people.

Our forefathers would be proud of the progress we have made together; of the resilience and strength that we have shown, as the Kenyan people, when faced with hardship and adversity, and even when confronted by the very face of evil itself. Because that, ultimately, is the spirit of the Kenyan people.

I am thoroughly encouraged by the resilience of our people. We don’t run away from challenges; instead we embrace them together. Our history as a nation is defined by our ability, time and time again, to unite and achieve the impossible, not to simply complain from the sidelines. Our forefathers understood that all too well. And that same Kenyan spirit is as alive today as it was, during the struggle for our independence.

I also think about whether I live up to their call that we serve as architects of the future. I have spoken many times during the last few months about how I have worked hard day and night, over the last four years, to lay the foundation for building a strong and prosperous Kenya. But the truth is, we have worked together as a people to lay that foundation. Every single Kenyan has played his /her role as an architect of our future.

We have young entrepreneurs carving out our nation’s new job-creating 21st Century economy; we have mothers, battling the effects of drought to continue to put food on their family’s tables; and we have builders, forging thousands of miles of roads, railway and electricity to connect brother to brother, sister to sister, mother to son, farmer to market and business to consumer.

I know that many Kenyans are still struggling and we have much more work to do. But I am encouraged to see the spirit of the Kenyan people every day; the spirit of architects laying the foundation for our nation’s future prosperity- across every corner of our country. I know our forefathers would be proud of all of us as their children.

It is, indeed, this spirit that I want all of us to reflect on as the national general election campaign comes to a close. Because the job of an architect also comes with enormous responsibility. Each and every one of us is charged by God and by the legacy of every great Kenyan who has lived before us, to care for one another, to love one another, to always consider the consequences for the future over the passions and ambitions of the present.

If our fathers were here today, sitting next to us, I am certain that they would urge every Kenyan to do what I am about to implore.

We are all Kenyans. Our mothers and fathers all struggled so that we would all have a better Kenya and a better future. They gave us the greatest gift any son or daughter could ask for; they gave us a home. They gave us our beautiful nation.

They were the architects of our future and that stewardship of trust has now passed on to us. We must not, and, I repeat, we must not disappoint them. No matter the result of this election, we must stand together as one people. Above all, we must reject intimidation. We must reject violence or any attempt to divide us.

Kenya is the only home we have. It is the only home we know. Our children look to us to show them the way, to pass to them a country that is in a better state than that, that was left to us. We must not disappoint the founders of this nation and equally we must not betray our children.

My final thought is this. As we look to the future, I am confident that brighter, happier, more prosperous and peaceful days lie ahead for all Kenyans. I see a future where everyone can share in the wealth and prosperity of a modern, 21st century nation.

A nation where everyone has access to a good job; where everyone can afford to have a decent meal; and where every child is guaranteed a quality, free education so that the place where you are born will never determine the quality of life.

A nation where mothers and their babies can lead healthy and happy life; where you can travel from one corner of our country to the other in hours, not weeks; and a nation where every family feels its life is safe and its property is secure.

Fellow Kenyans,

Better days lie ahead. Yes, we have more work to do. But as Kenyans, as architects of the future, we can all be proud that we have made progress in laying the foundation for building a great nation; a stronger, safer, and prosperous country for all Kenyan citizens.

I believe our founding fathers are proud of us all.

As I conclude, mine is to ask every single eligible citizen to turn out tomorrow in great numbers to do that which our democracy entitles you to do – vote for the candidates of your choice.

But my plea is that as we do so, let us do so in peace remembering as I said yesterday, that after you cast your ballot, please go home. Go back to your neighbour. Regardless of where he/she comes from, their tribe, their colour or their religion, your neighbour is your brother.

Your neighbour is your sister. How you have voted should not in any way reflect or change the manner in which you have related to your neighbour. Shake their hand, share a meal and tell them ‘let us wait for the results’ for Kenya will be here long after this general election.

May God give us peace. May God give us tranquillity. And may God protect this great country and her people in the future.

Thank you and God bless you.

(Uhuru Kenyatta is the President and Commander in Chief of the Defence Forces of the Republic of Kenya)

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