, NAIROBI April 16 – The Government has reiterated its commitment to addressing negative ethnicity to ensure diverse Kenyan communities live together in harmony.
President Mwai Kibaki on Wednesday pointed out that his Government would create a new department of national cohesion to be charged with the task of developing programmes for galvanising the country’s divergent communities.
“I am also confident that the issue of constitution review that we have committed to undertake within the next 12 months will adequately address our challenges of nationhood,” said President Kibaki.
Speaking at State House Nairobi during the 49th Edition of the Kenya National Drama Festival State Concert, the President said the new department would be under Cabinet Minister Martha Karua’s Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs docket.
President Kibaki further said that the Government would table an Ethnic Relations Commission of Kenya Bill before Parliament soon aimed at creating the institutional framework to systematically address the issue of national cohesion.
He observed that some of the presentations made at the drama festival addressed the problem of tribalism and other ills that afflict the society.
The President thereby urged the youth to take the lessons from the theatrical work and cultivate positive attitudes towards each other.
He also asked all stakeholders in the education sector to uphold the spirit of harmonious co-existence and to work aggressively to ensure that ethnic sensitivities do not infiltrate learning institutions.
“Our education system should pay particular attention to educating our youth on the dangers of negative ethnicity,” President Kibaki stated.
The Head of State stressed that the focus ought to be centred on nurturing a generation that would rise above tribal identities.
Credible Examination system
In reference to last year’s Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination results, President Kibaki asked the Ministry of Education and the newly created Ministry of Higher Education and Science and Technology to derive lessons from the challenges that the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) faced in managing the results.
He underscored the fact that a credible national examinations system was a key pillar to the country’s education system.
“I would like to see that systems are put in place to ensure that the problem does not recur,” he said.
President Kibaki said his Government was committed to ensuring the all-round development of Kenyan children. He indicated that the government would this year spend Sh380 million to promote co-curricula activities.
“Over the last four and a half years, for example, my Government has spent Sh750 million on co-curricula activities, including sports, music and drama,” the President said.
He called on players in the sector to join in and support such programmes in schools and colleges for the benefit of Kenyan youth.
In another function, the Head of State received the credentials of six incoming envoys to Kenya, namely: the Ambassador of the Czech Republic Margita Fuchsova, Ana Maria Sampaio Fernandes of Brazil, Salim Levent Sahinkaya of Turkey, Premout Doongoor of Mauritius, Dr Edward G. Howard-Clinton of Liberia and Anne Barrington of Ireland.