, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 18 – The recently concluded referendum calls for unity of purpose in the making of the great nation that all Kenyans aspire to have, President Mwai Kibaki has said.
President Kibaki said that the nation had evolved and made great strides in the recent past adding that Kenyans must not lose the focus of building a harmonious, prosperous nation.
The President expressed optimism that with the new constitutional dispensation, wananchi will steer the country towards a vibrant middle income economy.
“We are all marshalling our energies and resources and, coupled with the new constitutional dispensation, we will steer our country towards a vibrant middle income economy soon,” President Kibaki said.
The President was speaking on Wesdnesday at State House Nairobi during this year’s Kenya Music Festival State Concert.
The Head of State appealed to leaders to join hands and continue rallying wananchi towards greater prosperity, saying there was need for all Kenyans to uphold the harmonious co-existence in society as articulated in the many presentations by the Kenya Music Festival finalists.
Said the President: “Our children have made it clear that we all belong to one nation, the Kenyan nation, which we love and cherish. We should be able to guard against the negative vices that tend to divide us.”
President Kibaki, at the same time, assured the youth that his Government will continue to provide a conducive environment for all artists to thrive and fully exploit their potential.
The President pointed out that the Government had developed a clear youth agenda to nurture and provide the country’s youthful population with lifetime gainful opportunities.
“You are all aware that our country has a very youthful population with 15-35 year-olds accounting for 38 percent. We, therefore, have a youth bulge whose social economic needs we must urgently address as a nation,” the President said.
Noting that arts like music and drama which are part of the school curriculum play an important function of enabling the overall and holistic growth of students, the President said it is in recognition of this central role played by co-curricula activities that the Government has continued to invest in them.
He added that since the inception of the Free Primary Education in 2003 and the Free Tuition Secondary Education in 2008, his Government has continued to promote the development of co-curricula activities in public institutions of learning without burdening the parents.
In this regard, President Kibaki said in the current Financial Year alone, Sh400 million will be spent on the management of these activities from the zonal to the national level.
“As a Government, our primary responsibility is to provide services that meet the needs, desires and aspirations of our people,” President Kibaki said, adding that education is an important agent of social transformation that enables the Government fulfill this responsibility.
He expressed hope that talented students in music, dance, drama and sports will gain from the many initiatives being offered in the country’s learning institutions, saying in so doing they will be prepared to take up professional pursuits with self confidence all over the world.
The President said, as a nation, Kenya attaches a lot of importance to music which is an important tool in the advancement of the nation’s social, political and economic development.
President Kibaki noted that since time immemorial, the welfare of society has been improved through strong verbal and non-verbal messages propagated by music and dance.
In this connection, the Head of State said he was happy that through the Music Festival the country’s youth are educated on topical issues that influence and affect the Kenyan society, saying they are also trained to manage their leisure time in a gainful way.
Said the President: “Through music, the learners imbibe positive values and attitudes which are important ingredients in the creation of a cohesive society.”
The President commended the Kenya Music Festival Committee under the stewardship of the Minister for Education for the good organization, saying the festival has continued to provide a mirror for Kenyans to critically reflect on the socio-economic and even political fronts for purposes of improving the country’s social well being.
“This year’s theme ‘Embracing Vision 2030 through Music Festival’ is quite apt for us as a developing nation,” the Head of State said.
Congratulating the finalists for emerging top in their various categories and for the exemplary performances in the just concluded Kenya National Music Festival held in Kakamega, President Kibaki urged them to endeavour to live by the values and virtues learned through their experiences in the festival.
Education Minister Prof. Sam Ongeri termed the Kenya Music Festival competitions a cultural bonanza of international stature which attracted over 90,000 participants from grassroot levels.
Prof Ongeri said the quality of presentations was so high that identifying the winners was an arduous task among the adjudicators thus demonstrating the huge talent among the country’s youth.
He said that the major themes that came out clearly in many items that were presented during the competitions included unity among Kenyans and protection of the nationhood.
The minister noted that there was need to ensure students participated in co-curricula activities which not augmented but also boosted their academic performance.
Other speakers during the music state concert included Education Permanent Secretary Prof James Ole Kiyapi and the Kenya Music Festival Chairman Prof. Caleb Okumu.
Also present were Education Assistant Ministers Prof. Ayiecho Olweny and Calist Mwatela, the Head of Public Service and Secretary to the Cabinet Amb. Francis Muthaura and Internal Security Permanent Secretary Francis Kimemia and other senior government officials.