, KIRINYAGA, Kenya, Nov 23 – President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto have urged Kenyans to join hands in building the nation, saying the season for politicking is over.
Speaking Thursday in Kirinyaga County where he launched construction of the Sh19 billion Thiba Dam, President Kenyatta said the country could not afford to engage in endless politics at the expense of development.
“We cannot continue with politics, we can’t feed on politics. Wananchi have made their choice and now it’s time to join hands and develop our great nation,” said President Kenyatta.
The President asked leaders to put aside their political differences and work together to improve the lives of Kenyans.
Singling out construction of the Thiba Dam, President Kenyatta said the project would be a game changer in rice production in the Mwea irrigation scheme. He pointed out that the water from the dam would enable farmers to have two seasons of planting annually, a move that would boost their income.
The President emphasised that the dam would buttress efforts geared towards ensuring the country is food secure, one of the key planks of the Jubilee Administration transformational agenda.
“Food security is critical to the Jubilee agenda. It will be part and parcel of my second term,” said President Kenyatta.
The President said the project, which would be complete within three years, would offer employment to over 1000 people.
On completion the dam will help rice farmers in Mwea double production from the current 80 tonnes to 160 tonnes annually.
The project will also help in stabilization of the irrigation water supply, allowing double cropping with the area under irrigation increasing from 25,000 acres to 35,000 acres. This will in turn increase revenue from Sh4.56 billion to Sh8.6 billion annually.
President Kenyatta also called on county governments to partner with the national government in coming up with projects which would improve the livelihoods of Kenyans.
“We should be able to sit and agree on value addition. We want to process our tea, coffee and milk. We want value addition so as to create jobs for our young people,” said President Kenyatta.
Deputy President Ruto asked Kenyans to build bridges of friendship and partnership that would support nation building.
“The time for competition and politics is over. We are now in a new chapter where we need to work together and transform the lives of Kenyans,” said the Deputy President.
“The period of politicking is now behind us, it’s time to unite and build together a nation that we all believe in and move on,” the Deputy President added.
He said the Jubilee Government is constructing 57 dams across the country in its effort to boost food security.
“These dams are aimed at improving food production and also allow wananchi access clean water for domestic use,” said DP Ruto.
The construction of Thiba Dam is being financed in partnership with the Japanese government through Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
The President thanked Japan Government for being a true partner in the development of Kenya.
“Since independence Japan has been a partner in our development agenda. They have helped us undertake various projects in the energy, agriculture, roads and in the expansion and modernisation of our port – making it the biggest in the East African coastline,” said President Kenyatta.
The President and his deputy thanked Kirinyaga residents for coming out in large numbers to vote in the October 26 fresh presidential election.
Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru said her County Administration would utilise water from the dam to construct a golf course and hotel to create jobs for residents.
Other speakers included Water and Irrigation Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa, Japanese Ambassador to Kenya Uesawa Toshitsugu, Kirinyaga Senator Charles Kabiru and Gichugu MP Robert Gichimu among others.