, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 24 – President Mwai Kibaki has reiterated his pledge for a peaceful handover of power after the next General Election.
While addressing Parliament on Tuesday afternoon, he said the next president should be a visionary leader with the capacity to pursue development and sustain Vision 2030 whose foundation had been laid.
“I also assure Kenyans of a smooth transition to the new leadership that they will elect in the forthcoming general election; that leadership must have the capacity to build and sustain on our vision 2030,” the president said in his State of the Nation address.
Kibaki urged Kenyans to remain calm even as the country pursues the possibility of creating a local mechanism to deal with aspects of international crimes that occurred during the 2008 post-election violence.
The Head of State told Parliament that while post election violence victims deserved justice those accused also deserved a fair and legal hearing.
“I call on Kenyans to remain calm even as we pursue the option of having a local mechanism to deal with any international crimes,” he said adding that the matter must also not be politicised.
In March, the committee of legal experts formed to advise the government following the confirmation of charges against four Kenyans by the International Criminal Court proposed the appointment of an independent ‘special prosecutor’ for all the post-election violence cases, including those involving the four ICC accused.
Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, former head of Public Service Francis Muthaura, Eldoret North MP William Ruto and radio presenter Joshua arap Sang will be tried by the ICC for crimes committed during the 2008 post-election violence.
He said that the government had put in place the necessary institutions and measures to regulate free, fair and credible elections adding that any hindrances and obstacles will be dealt with decisively and promptly.
“We are increasing the number of security officers. Moreover, massive civic and voter education will be conducted on the New Constitution and the electoral system,” said the president.
The president said that the government had purchased 12,900 acres of land to resettle the Internally Displaced People (IDPs) and forest evictees at a cost of Sh3.9 billion.
He said that the Ministry of Special Programmes had also been allocated Sh4.4 billion for construction of houses and purchase of food and non-food items for the IDPs.
He appealed to political parties to make an effort of having a national outlook saying that the country’s democracy had come of age and needed parties that are ideologically driven and have a national character.
Kibaki whose re-election in 2007 was bitterly contested by Prime Minister Raila Odinga announced that the government will hold a national conference on peaceful elections in August and appealed to MPs and other leaders to engage in the District and County Peace Forums in the build up to the conference.
He insisted that politicians ought to be awake to the fact that political competition should be guided by the fact that the interests of the nation were more important than those of individuals or parties.
“I call upon all leaders and Kenyans to embrace peace and reconciliation as we move towards the General election. As the elections draw closer, leaders must display patriotism and statesmanship… Kenyans must observe the rule of law before, during and after the elections,” the president advised.