Kenyan President answers detractors

April 9, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya Apr 9 – President Mwai Kibaki on Thursday responded to criticism over his leadership style, saying he would not be deterred from doing his job.

Speaking in State House Nairobi, the President brushed off the increasing wrangling in the coalition, saying leaders should focus on the challenges facing Kenyans.

“I will not be side-tracked in undertaking my noble duties of serving our people and leading them in creating a better country that we will all be proud to call our home,” he said.

President Kibaki said he will not be distracted from discharging his duties by the ongoing political bickering in the country.

“We have a duty to focus on the bigger picture of overcoming the great challenges of the moment including the provision of food for our people and the fight against extreme poverty,” he said.

The Head of State who spoke after being entertained by this year’s Schools Drama finalists urged leaders to be conscious of their speech while addressing Kenyans.

“The country is bigger than any individual politician,” he said, adding that everyone must strive to bequeath the youth an orderly and disciplined nation.

This week has seen heightened wrangles in the coalition, with Prime Minister Raila Odinga openly criticising the President, and the resignation of former close allies Martha Karua and Danson Mungatana from government.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Monday castigated President Kibaki`s leadership style, describing it as ‘Jua Kali’ and ‘primitive’.

The President, in response, urged political leaders in the country to act as good role models for the youth and at all times remain conscious of the consequences of their conduct and utterances in public.

Mr Odinga accused President Kibaki of contradicting him on major government decisions and called on him to seek and respect the opinion of coalition partners before issuing any policy directive on matters pertaining to the governance of Kenya.

At the same time, the President told students to desist from acts of lawlessness as a way of airing their grievances as recently witnessed in some institutions of higher learning.

The President urged the youth in various institutions of learning to uphold high standards of discipline in order to acquire vital skills needed to build a better Kenya.

“The violence witnessed recently in some institutions of higher learning where students destroyed property is unacceptable. I urge students to use proper channels of airing grievances as acts of lawlessness will be dealt with in accordance with the law,” said Mr Kibaki.

He, at the same time directed managers of the institutions to establish clearly laid out channels of communication that would facilitate amicable and expeditious resolution institutional issues.

He allayed fears about the implementation of the Free Primary Education program despite the delay in disbursement of funds in some parts of the country.

The President said: “I wish to assure Kenyans that my Government remains committed to the success of the free primary and free secondary tuition programmes.”

Mr Kibaki told educational institutions to keenly pursue development of artistic talents among the Kenyan youth and assured them of government’s support in development of co-curricula activities.

He reaffirmed that the government will to protect artists and enable them exploit their talents fully.

“The government will ensure strict enforcement of the copyright laws in music and performing arts.”



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