, DUBAI, Nov 23 – President Mwai Kibaki is confident and has reassured Kenyans that the next general elections will be peaceful, free and fair.
Expressing delight and confidence with the direction the country had taken in the past few years, President Kibaki urged Kenyans including those in the Diaspora to register and exercise their democratic right and participate in shaping the destiny of their motherland.
The President noted that with the reconstitution of the electoral body, registration of voters was expected to kick off any time in preparation for the general elections.
He remarked, “We shall hold elections very soon. I am confident they shall be peaceful, fair and also deepen our democratic ideals.”
Thanking Kenyans for their determination and participation in the ongoing process of building a new country, he cautioned them against double registration adding that such behaviour is illegal and that the nation must be prepared to have a clean break from the past.
President Kibaki made the remarks at Grand Hyatt Hotel where he hosted a colourful dinner for a section of an estimated population of 40,000 Kenyans working and living in Dubai.
During the occasion, President Kibaki also appealed to Kenyans to shun tribalism and instead promote unity and harmonious coexistence.
He affirmed that most citizens were mainly pre-occupied with improving their living standards and securing the future of their families urging them to reject the schemes of a few selfish people who thrive on dividing citizens on parochial issues.
“Remain patriotic to your nation and protect the good reputation our country has earned globally. Back home we are making laudable progress in various parts of national endeavour as climaxed by the enactment of new constitution last which provides for dual citizenship and further allows Kenyans in the Diaspora to vote,” said the President.
President Kibaki exuded confidence that Kenya was headed in the right direction and had achieved many milestones in critical socio-economic spheres.
He praised Kenyan residents in the United Arab Emirates for promoting and immensely projecting their country’s image positively in the host nation.
President Kibaki told the huge and jubilant gathering of the Kenyan Community residing in the UAE that he was overjoyed by the praises heaped on Kenyan professionals by the host nation’s authorities.
The Head of State encouraged Kenyans in the Diaspora to uphold patriotism and cohesion among themselves and particularly wished the very best in all their endeavours. He urged them to continue supporting national development through their remittances back home.
Dubai ranks third in remittances behind the United States and UK.
Urging them to continue being good ambassadors of their motherland, the President said he was pleased that the work ethics and professional conduct of the Kenyan community had endeared them to the host nation as well as promoted strong relations between Kenya and the United Arab Emirates.
He declared that the visit to Dubai was indeed a memorable occasion adding that he was extremely delighted and proud of the accomplishments achieved by the Kenyan community in UAE.
He said, “I am proud of the direction the nation has taken. The government has made tremendous achievements in utilizing collected taxes for the equitable development of our country and to improve the welfare of our people. Let us remain patriotic to our beloved country and to protect the good reputation that our nation has earned globally.”
With regard to challenges faced by Kenyans in renewal of their work permits, the President assured them his government had fruitfully engaged competent UAE authorities for amicably and sustainably resolving the matter.
The Head of State assured, “I have been informed about some of the problems you have encountered while looking for employment in the United Arab Emirates. I have raised some of your concerns with the competent authorities of the United Arab Emirates during this visit.”
Expressing optimism that the government of the United Arab Emirates would listen to Kenya’s concerns, President Kibaki urged the few Kenyans who were experiencing problems in getting work permits and employment to remain patient and importantly to continue observing the laws of the host country.
He emphasised; “As we seek to sort out these outstanding issues, I wish to remind you, and other Kenyans in Diaspora, that you are our ambassadors in the countries where you live and work.”
In recognition of the important role played by the Diaspora to the growth of Kenya’s economy informed the gathering that the Government, in consultation with the Diaspora and relevant stakeholders, was developing a Diaspora Policy aimed to mainstream the Diaspora into the national development agenda.
He indicated, “This policy will go a long way in streamlining and facilitating the contribution of Kenyans in Diaspora to the development process.”
The Head of State informed the migrant workers that the Government was working on a legislation that would allow Kenyans acquire dual citizenship and encouraged them to read the new Constitution and familiarize themselves with the many positive changes with regard to the conduct of national affairs.
He stated, “I am indeed pleased to meet you all on this occasion of my official visit to the United Arab Emirates. I take this opportunity to commend you all for your initiative and hard work that has enabled you to not only earn a livelihood many miles from home, but also to contribute to development in our country.”
President Kibaki underscored that the Government recognizes and appreciates the contribution of Kenyans in the Emirates and the entire Diaspora in general, in national development adding that it is this light the Government has continued to implement measures to improve the welfare of all Kenyans in Diaspora.
He expressed joy that he had earlier in the day opened the Consulate General of Kenya office in Dubai to not only deepen the existing diplomatic ties with the Emirates but also to facilitate eased diplomatic services to the growing Kenyan community in United Arab Emirates.
The Head of State also praised cabinet ministers in his delegation for their dedication and achievements during the visit in the gulf nation.
Others who addressed the gathering included Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Uhuru Kenyatta, Cabinet Ministers Moses Wetangula, Kiraitu Murungi, John Munyes, Najib Balala and Otieno Kajwang as well as legislators Jeremiah Kioni, Adan Keynan.
In attendance were senior government officials, representatives from Kenya’s business community and hundreds of Kenyan citizens living and working in the UAE.