NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 20 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has pardoned 7,000 people whose jail term is almost complete and those who had committed petty offences under power of mercy.
Addressing Kenyans during the Mashujaa Day celebrations at Machakos, the President has pointed out that there is now enough space to jail those found culpable of engaging in corruption.
“There is now enough space for the big thieves for the Chief Justice to jail them,” he said. “There is a lot of space now to deal with those people.”
The President at the same time called on Kenyans to shun tribalism and be proud of their country.
He specifically urged politicians to only differ on ideology grounds instead of dividing Kenyans along their ethnic lines.
“Next year, Kenya holds its second General elections under the new constitution, as we all prepare to exercise our right to vote, I ask Kenyans not to be deceived by ugly and loud rhetoric that we will hear in the months to come,” he said.
“In making your choices, focus on what our heroes wanted for Kenya…and that was unity, cohesion and prosperity for all.”
The President says all Kenyans should live true to the dream of the country’s freedom fighters, of a one united Kenya, more so now that the country is headed to the electioneering period.
He said history will judge the current generation of Kenyan leaders by how well they play their role in embracing unity and entrenching the new system of Government that was ushered in by the new Constitution.
“My generation of leaders must realise the promise of this new Constitution. We must entrench devolution; we must restore the unity our fathers attained,” said the President when he addressed the national celebrations of Mashujaa Day in Machakos town.
He said unity can be achieved by building strong institutions including national political parties that are not based on tribes.
“That day will come only when we build strong national institutions — among them national political parties that truly show the face of Kenya, and which show themselves committed to the values of our national covenant,” said the President.
The President said the unity of the nation will never become complete as long as the country’s politics remains vitriolic.
The Head of State urged leaders in politics, media, business and other sectors of society to know that they have a responsibility to balance their own individual goals and the collective needs of the country to remain united.
“Kenyans rely on you to navigate this period successfully. As you pursue your own individual and collective aims, I trust that you will show the world that Kenyans can disagree politically, and yet remain a strong and united nation,” said the President.
He called on all Kenyans to aspire to be better citizens who are mindful of the interests of the whole nation.
“And as we become better Kenyans – better citizens – we become a better nation: a nation worth dying for, because only a nation worth dying for is a nation worth living in,” said the President.
President Kenyatta said the current generation of leaders should emulate the country’s liberation heroes who were always in agreement on the necessity of national unity.
He said the country’s liberation heroes came from different background – some of them born in foreign lands – but they set aside their differences for the sake of Kenya.
They united to free the country and after independence they did not always agree with each other on some issues but they always agreed on the oneness of the nation.
“They disagreed about political ideology, and they disagreed about governance; but they never disagreed about the necessity of national unity. They held dear the oneness of our motherland, and strove for ways to better attain the promise of Independence,” said the President.
President Kenyatta said all those who are motivated by the wellbeing of Kenya are heroes.
“We don’t identify our heroes by what they say; we know them by their deeds. Our heroes are the ordinary men and women who do extraordinary things every day,” said the President.
The President however cautioned citizens not to be hoodwinked into embracing the wrong types of people as heroes.
“But since heroism is so powerful, we need to be careful whom we celebrate as heroes. Heroes don’t use our diversity to divide us: they don’t use our different religions to sow intolerance, nor our different ethnicities to excite hatred,” said the President.
The national celebration of the Mashujaa Day was held in Machakos as part of President Kenyatta’s policy to allow counties to host national holidays on rotational basis.
President Kenyatta listed three generation of heroes dating to pre-independence days, thanking them for their service to the country.
Deputy President William Ruto said the decision by the Government to hold national holidays in the counties on rotational basis was a statement of confidence in County Governments.
“We have confidence in our county governments and we recognize them as centres of new ideas. We view counties as the new engines of development,” said the DP.
He said the Jubilee Government has distributed more than Sh1 trillion to county governments over the last four years.
Others who spoke at the event included opposition Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka, who is a former vice president — and host Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua.