, NAKURU, Kenya, Apr 14 – President Mwai Kibaki on Wednesday called on Kenyans to read and understand the proposed constitution to enable them make an informed choice during the forthcoming referendum.
President Kibaki said that Kenyans must strive to understand the contents of the document for them to have a clear understanding of various issues under public debate.
The President at the same time urged Kenyans to register in large numbers as voters so that they can exercise their constitutional right of determining future of the country.
The President made the remarks when he officially opened the upgraded Lanet-Nakuru-Njoro Turnoff Road at State House Park in Nakuru town.
During the occasion, President Kibaki declared that the Government is steadfast on improving roads that will boost regional trade and guarantee easy movement of people and goods.
Noting that there can never be any meaningful economic development in a country without good infrastructure, President Kibaki affirmed that the Government is giving priority to roads that will promote trade in the region.
“To this end, under the Medium Term Plan, priority will be given to the rehabilitation and improvement of national and regional road network, construction of bypasses and missing links in and around major towns and cities,” said the President.
The Head of State noted that the opening of the road section which forms part of the Northern Corridor is a major boost to business and the transport system within the country and in the entire East African region.
The road which has been upgraded at a cost of Sh3.27 billion has a 16km stretch of an urban standard dual carriageway, said the President.
“I am happy to note that this road project which is also an important link in the Northern Corridor route was completed within budget and on time,” said the Head of State.
During the occasion President Kibaki also disclosed that the Government will soon embark on rehabilitating the 140km Mau Summit-Kisumu section.
“Roads are an important component of this infrastructure. A good road network is essential for the movement of people and goods. I am aware roads now carry 95 percent of freight and passenger transport in our country,” said President Kibaki.
Thanking development partners for their support, the President affirmed that the Government would continue to increase resource allocation to the roads sector due to its vital contribution to the national economy.
The Head of State assured that the Government would at all times ensure transparent utilisation of funds and urged development partners to uphold their financial support.
He was delighted that various reforms instituted in the roads sector coupled by huge investments had yielded good fruits particularly completion of projects within time.
However, the President announced that the critical challenge facing the Government towards achieving an excellent infrastructure at a faster pace was inadequate funds but appreciated donor support.
Said the President; “The results from this huge investment have been most encouraging. The reforms in this sector, which yielded the creation of the three road authorities, and improved management in the sector are already bearing fruits in terms of better roads. I am pleased that we have been able to successfully deliver several projects within time, and that several other roads are either being upgraded or suitably maintained.”
President Kibaki was optimistic that apart from increased regional trade the improved road network should considerably reduce the cost of doing business and promote integration.
“This road that we are opening is an exemplary achievement in cooperation between the government and its development partners.”
On road safety the President directed traffic police and other stakeholders to deal firmly with reckless drivers and unroadworthy vehicles to eradicate loss of innocent lives on roads.
“However some of these good roads are resulting in more accidents due to over speeding and carelessness of drivers,” he observed.
President Kibaki declared that good roads are intended to ensure passengers arrive at their destinations safely adding that negative impacts on road users must be eliminated by ensuring that road users adhere to laid down traffic rules.
The President observed; “To help Kenyans realise the benefits of the good roads and to minimise the negative impacts, I hereby direct the road safety enforcement agencies in collaboration with other stakeholders such as the National Roads Safety Council and the road users to ensure there is adherence to traffic rules.”
Addressing the same forum Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka thanked President Kibaki for undertaking the most ambitious infrastructure improvement programme in the history of the country in all its corners.
The Vice-President noted that the newly launched section of the road had not only shortened that distance from Nairobi to Nakuru but had also restored the image of the town as the cleanest town in Kenya.
Mr Musyoka affirmed that the South East Asia Tigers had achieved outstanding economic development for expanding their infrastructural networks and unlocking their potential.
With regard to the proposed constitution the Vice-President declared that the nation cannot afford divisions like the ones experienced during the previous referendum.
He said that the referendum should not be allowed to consume the energies of the entire nation yet there were more critical challenges that needed to tackled.
On his part Roads Minister Franklin Bett asked local contractors to reinvest their incomes in capacity building to enable them competently compete with international contractors for major projects being implemented in the country.
Mr Bett further urged local contractors to uphold professionalism and discipline so that they can complete awarded projects within stipulated time.
With regard to clearance to road reserves the Roads Minister warned that owners of building standing on such areas will bear the cost of demolition if executed by the ministry.
He further warned that government officials who will be accomplices in allowing overloaded commercial vehicles to pass through weighbridges will be severely punished because overloading is a major contributor to road damage.
On constitution Mr Bett said that the document acts as the lifeline of a nation and all efforts should made to make a good law.
He advocated that Kenyans be allowed to read and understand the proposed constitution so that they can make an informed decision.
Others who addressed the forum included Cabinet Ministers Prof George Saitoti, William Ruto and Samuel Poghisio. Several assistant ministers and legislators also addressed the forum.