NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 2 – Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta has challenged leaders in the country to help rebuild the pillars of unity and patriotism that were evident in the 1950s and 60s
Mr Kenyatta who was the chief guest at the launch of the second edition of an autobiography by ex-Central Bank Governor Duncan Ndegwa, said that the unity which hit a historic low during the post election violence in 2008 must be rejuvenated for the country to achieve its social economic and political goals.
He said: “Our duty now as leaders, even as we pursue ways of salvaging Kenyans from ignominy and poverty is to nurture every possible way of restoring national unity. The roadmap – at least in part – of where our journey and walk started, the hindsight, the insight and the foresight of the place we occupy have been set out for us.”
“When the first European set foot on our land, gallant men and women of amazing foresight sensed trouble and waged war against foreign domination. That very positive spirit defied all odds to give Kenya rapid prosperity in its first decade of freedom against colonial rule with economic growth hitting a 10 percent high in the 1970s,” he added.
“Over the years however, the unity has dissipated leading our country to fragmentation whose wobbly pillars succumbed to the shameful aftermath of the 2007/2008 violence,” he said.
Mr Kenyatta, although noting that the country had made great stride in combating poverty ignorance and disease acknowledged that the country needed to change tact in the fight against poverty.
“Now is the time to become more innovative and cast our nets wider, through ICT for instance we can break the cycle of despair that poverty causes and boost our people especially young men and women to take advantage of the frontiers information technology offers,” he said.
Mr Kenyatta heaped praise on Mr Ndegwa, the first Kenyan Head of Civil Service and who later became Central Bank Governor for the role he played in shaping up independent Kenya.
“He (Ndegwa) worked hard to ensure that Kenya earned its place in the community of nations. The fruits and pride of independence would not have been possible if it were not for the effort, dedication and patriotism of Ndegwa and his contemporaries,” he said.
“We have made significant shifts that have transformed our status and prospects as a nation; we cannot afford to sit on our laurels particularly because a bigger challenge of social disintegration and death of national unity stand our way to greater destiny,” he warned.