NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 19 – Internal Security Minister Professor George Saitoti has finally been endorsed as Party of National Unity (PNU) Chairman, consolidating his long-time dream towards clinching the country’s presidency.,
Professor Saitoti was elected on Friday alongside President Mwai Kibaki who was unanimously endorsed as Party Leader, at the PNU National Delegates Conference (NDC) held at Kasarani Sports Complex in Nairobi.
The election put Prof Saitoti firmly in line for President Kibaki’s succession, capping his famous words “there comes a time when a nation is greater than an individual” which he uttered in 2002 while succumbing to machinations that ousted him from the leadership of the then powerful KANU.
In his acceptance speech, the Kajiado North Member of Parliament (MP) said his party would uphold all tenets of democracy and shun ethnic orientations in order to unify the country.
“PNU believes that all our citizens must be empowered to a decent livelihood so that no Kenyan will suffer from lack of access to basic human needs like adequate food, housing, medicine and clothing,” Professor Saitoti said.
He said PNU, led by President Kibaki, would lead the coalition government for the good of the country and called for harmony and forgiveness among Kenyans.
He further assured that the party will work towards ensuring food security and advocate for protection of human rights and freedoms.
“Our party calls for the respect of human rights and the related freedoms as enshrined in the Constitution. It will continue to respect these freedoms including freedom of the press. However these freedoms must be exercised in a responsible and accountable manner so as not to infringe on the freedoms of other Kenyans,” he said.
The Cabinet Minister held that the party, which sponsored the election of the president, would aspire to uphold honesty and root for devolution of budgetary funds so as to entrench equality among Kenyans
He however acknowledged that the party faces the greatest challenge of ensuring that the constitutional review process is completed as promised.
Speaking during the conference, President Kibaki said he would push for the full implementation of the Waki and Kriegler reports and urged Kenyans to acquire copies of the reports to familiarise themselves with their contents.
He also called on Kenyans to commit themselves to the development of the nation, further advising that the country would lag behind in terms of development unless each Kenyan puts up extra efforts in their respective endeavors.
During the elections, Forestry and Wildlife Minister Noah Wekesa who stepped down for Professor Saitoti became one of the five Vice Chairmen with the other three being Jimmy Angwenyi, Jamleck Kamau and George Nyamweya.
Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi was elected Secretary General. Former Sports Minister Maina Kamanda became the PNU Organising Secretary.
These elections come in the wake of concerted efforts among political parties to beat the December 31 deadline for compliance with the Political Parties Act. ODM held its election on Thursday where Prime Minister Raila Odinga was endorsed as Party Leader.