Honourable Speakers, Honourable Members, Fellow Kenyans,
My oath of office, decrees as my essential duty the protection of Kenyans and the preservation of our territorial integrity. This duty is all the more significant in light of our being a frontline state against global terrorism. Furthermore, our location in a fragile, conflict-prone region whose challenges are transnational, means that our ability to secure the nation is fundamental to achieving our collective aspirations.
In 2011, we made a historic decision. We sent our young men and women across the border in pursuit of an enemy dedicated to the destruction of our motherland. Since then, in collaboration with regional and international allies, we have robbed the enemy of territory, resources and control over people. Still, the threat remains. And therefore, we continue our mission in Somalia. We know that if we fight the enemy in Somalia, we won’t have to fight them here at home.
Our engagement as part of AMISOM has yielded significant success. We have degraded the capacity of Al-Shabaab to carry out large-scale attacks in Kenya and elsewhere.
Our efforts have led to the establishment of successive civilian governments in Somalia, including the recently concluded successful and peaceful election of President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed.
In defence of our motherland, and in fulfilling our international obligations to pursue peace and security, we have lost some of our gallant soldiers. These losses remind us of the threat that is upon us. I stand here today to say that these gallant sons and daughters of Kenya have not fallen in vain. Their sacrifice for our freedom and our motherland strengthens our resolve. We remain unbowed; Kenya shall prevail; and our democracy will endure.
Before I continue, I would kindly request that you all be up-standing for a minute of silence to honour our men and women in uniform who face the enemy daily, and who have pledged their lives to protect the sovereignty, freedoms and liberties espoused by our nation. **MINUTE OF SILENCE** Thank you
Even as we recognise the sacrifices that have been made so far, we appreciate that this war is not yet won.
I urge you all to stand firm in the support of our men and women as we continue our critical mission in Somalia.
As you all know, my administration has been actively involved in the peace process in South Sudan on a bilateral and multi-lateral basis. While the situation remains unresolved, it is my administration’s desire to have a stable and peaceful South Sudan because our future and prosperity is intertwined with that of our neighbours. Our efforts remain central to the search for a lasting solution. However, much more needs to be done to bridge the differences between the conflicting parties.
In this regard, during my recent meeting with the Secretary General of the United Nations, I assured him of Kenya’s unwavering commitment within the IGAD framework and other bilateral and multilateral efforts to contribute towards a durable solution.
Our engagement in the search for security in the region is critical. Failure to do this would translate to insecurity within our borders.
On the home-front, the incessant inter-communal conflicts and other criminal acts, including cattle rustling and poaching, are sustained by an inflow of illegal small arms and light weapons as well as marauding bandits operating across the border. Furthermore, threats such as terrorism feed off transnational crimes such as drug and human trafficking, as well as piracy. These risks have largely been brought under control over the last four years through a series of actions.
We have built a well-coordinated multi-agency approach to ensure public safety and security. We have invested in better equipment, training, and working tools.
We have also increased the numbers of police officers. In the Jubilee Manifesto, we promised to push the ratio of police officers below 1 officer for every 800 citizens. Today, I am pleased to report that we have kept our promise. Our ratio of police to the population is 1 officer for 380 citizens, better than the prescribed UN ratio of 1 officer for every 450 citizens.
Our counter terrorism effort has delivered a sharp reduction in the number of fatalities, attacks and attempts by terrorist entities.
Added to the strong efforts to dismantle terrorists’ operational capabilities, the government has increased its focus on preventing and reducing the motivations underlying radicalisation and recruitment into terrorism. Our National Strategy to Counter Violent Extremism is bearing fruit. This strategy is addressing radicalisation by combining the efforts of diverse actors including the state, civil society, the private sector, and religious organisations to protect our democracy. This achievement takes on even greater significance as the world learns that we are one of the few, if not the only, country that has expanded its civil liberties while on the frontlines of fighting terrorism.