, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 1 – President Mwai Kibaki has called on Kenyans to remain steadfast and ready themselves to steer the country in overcoming any challenges that may confront the nation.
In his New Year message to the nation, President Kibaki particularly thanked Kenyans for their dedication to the country\’s wellbeing and attributed the commendable gains so far achieved by the nation to their hard work.
As a country, the President confirmed that, Kenyans had achieved important milestones in various areas of national endeavour citing the promulgation of the new Constitution.
"I thank you the Kenyan people for your dedication to our country. I salute your hard work that has enabled us make the strides we have made as a nation."
Urging Kenyans to commit the country to God\’s guidance in the years ahead, the Head of State affirmed that everyone should demonstrate genuine patriotism in overcoming tribulations that may arise in the process of implementing the new Constitution.
He said: "As the New Year begins, let us thank God for watching over our country."
Reiterating that the focus is on the implementation process, President Kibaki said that all arms of the government, public institutions and stakeholders must play their respective roles so that the country can reap maximum benefits from the new constitutional dispensation.
The Head of State said, "As the New Year commences, I urge Members of Parliament, all public institutions and other stakeholders to play their respective roles effectively, in order for us to meet the timelines laid out in the Fifth Schedule of our Constitution."
In the message the President reaffirmed the Grand Coalition Government\’s commitment to the establishment of a local judicial process to seek justice for victims of the post election violence.
However, President Kibaki called for calm, tolerance and patience among Kenyans to ensure that the process of seeking justice for the victims of the post election violence does not erode the gains the country had made in the process of national healing and reconciliation.
Observed the Head of State, "Although the Special Tribunal for Kenya Bill and the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bills were rejected by Parliament two years ago, the Grand Coalition Government remains committed to a local judicial process and will accordingly take the necessary steps. As the process of dispensing justice gets underway in the New Year, I urge Kenyans to remain calm and demonstrate tolerance and patience".
On the economic front, President Kibaki noted with appreciation that the year was closing on a positive note with a growth rate of 5 percent compared to 2.6 percent in the previous year.
Said the President, "The economy is projected to expand by 6 percent in the coming year. An expanding economy means more opportunities for our people".
Saying the government\’s sights are set on a double-digit economic growth that creates more jobs, President Kibaki reiterated that empowerment of youth will remain a priority in the New Year.
The Government, the Head of State emphasized, will continue to strengthen the Youth Enterprise Development Fund, to enable youth access affordable credit with further expansion of the Economic Stimulus programs targeted them.
On security, President Kibaki announced that the government plans to develop a policy and legal framework that provides for the participation of communities and private security providers in policing and therefore enhance security so that wananchi can freely engage in economic activities.
The President reassured that the ongoing reforms in the police force will be sustained to ensure the police service became professional and accountable to the people.
Touching on the regional integration, the Head of State called upon Kenyans to embrace the opportunities that come their way under the expanded East African Community.
"We should also embrace the opportunities that come our way, especially under the expanded East African Community," the President said.
The Head of State impressed on the people of Sudan to ensure peace prevailed during and after the January 9th National referendum when the country decides her future destiny.
Said he, "In the spirit of good neighbourliness, I wish to extend our best wishes to the government and people of the Sudan, as they prepare to vote in the January Ninth referendum".
The President wished all Kenyans a happy and prosperous new year, 2011 and urged them to commit the country to God who has mercifully been watching over its affairs over the previous years.