NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 1 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has urged Kenyans to forge a united front against problems facing the country.
The President told leaders to rise above the politics of division and instead promote peace and harmony in the country.
He said it was a betrayal of the ideals of freedom fighters and “a sin against nationhood” for politicians to engage in negative ethnicity and inter-communal conflict.
The Head of State spoke Monday when he led the nation in commemorating the 52rd Madaraka Day at the Nyayo National Stadium.
“Our freedom heroes and heroines saw that Kenya was indivisible: it could not be seen through the eyes of tribalism and other sectarian or parochial interests,” he added.
President Kenyatta said competition in politics should never be misused to whip up negative tribal emotions and baseless agitation to address imaginary wrongs.
“We all have to abide by our Constitution, which provides a fairly modern framework for conducting our political affairs in a more civilized manner,” he added.
The President said the government has mechanisms in place to deal with unemployment, inequality and poverty.
“My government is dealing with these challenges through our national institutions, and careful economic planning by both national and county governments,” President Kenyatta said.
President Kenyatta said the government is taking deliberate steps to lower the cost of doing business in the country to make Kenya a more attractive investment destination so as to create more jobs for Kenyans.
He also directed all government agencies and departments to adhere to the constitutional requirement for gender, regional and ethnic balance.
President Kenyatta said the Government will invest more in improving security of life and property.
The government is also pursuing policies that ensure growth in consumption of locally produced goods and services to secure opportunity and productivity, he said, the President said.
He said that the Jubilee administration has a target to ensure that 40 percent of all services and goods procured by government are locally produced.
President Kenyatta said the government’s development agenda was on track and enumerated the various actions the Jubilee administration has undertaken to improve the quality of life for Kenyans.
He said the government has raised its capitation to secondary schools from Sh28 billion to Sh32 billion, and for primary schools from Sh14 to Sh15 billion with the objective of making primary and secondary education truly free within the next three years.
“Indeed, from this year, parents will be freed from the burden of paying examination fees because the government will now cover this expense, he added.
The national and county governments are also partnering very strongly to ensure adequate investment in agriculture, food production and rural enterprises, the President said.
President Kenyatta assured Kenyans of the government’s commitment to the fight against institutional corruption citing the recently commenced action to bring accountability to various allegations of corruption involving government officials.
“My government is committed to follow through and take the entire initiative through the due process. It was the beginning. We are serious about this and we will succeed,” he added.
The President asked Kenyans to support the war on graft to augment the integrity-assurance and corruption prevention frameworks throughout the public service put in place by the government.
President Kenyatta said the government has also developed a major anti-radicalization programme soon to be implemented by all security organs, national and county governments, civil-society groups, as well as faith based leaders. “Radicalization does not always wear its intentions openly,” the President said.
The President appreciated Kenyans who cooperated with the government by volunteering relevant information on terrorists and other criminals to security agencies.
“I salute those who give information, who voice their suspicions and who stay vigilant for the sake of our security and safety. Together, we can meet our joint duty of vigilance against those who would harm us,” he said.
Uganda President Yoweri Museveni said Kenya and Uganda were working closely in the war against Al Shabaab terror group that has resorted to hitting soft targets.
“We are in frequent consultations with President Kenyatta on dealing with Al Shabaab. They have been defeated if they cannot face the armed forces but only attack civilians who have nothing to do with politics,” Museveni said.
Others who spoke were Deputy President William Ruto, South Africa Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero.