President Uhuru Kenyatta leads the nation in marking 54th Madaraka celebrations in Nyeri, June 1, 2017. PHOTO: Mose Sammy, Standard
President Uhuru Kenyatta has pledged to respect the outcome of the presidential vote in the August polls.
In a speech delivered yesterday to mark this year’s Madaraka Day, the Head of State also warned that the Government would deal ruthlessly with people out to cause chaos.
In a message delivered before his fiercest rival, Opposition NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga, Uhuru used the last Madaraka Day fete and the last national holiday before elections are held to state that he will respect the will of Kenyans and losers, too, should be ready to concede defeat.
“On Monday, I submitted my application to serve you for another term. It is you (Kenyans) who will decide and I’m ready to accept that verdict. Those defeated must wait for another chance to try again,” said Uhuru.
He said the country was more important than an individual. “We should all protect the house we have built and continue to build,” he added.
He bolstered an earlier statement by his deputy, William Ruto, who had said: “We want to do this peacefully, because this is our only country.”
“As Government, we will protect your right to exercise your choice. Our security apparatus will be vigilant and ready to deal with acts of lawlessness and disorder,” Uhuru said, adding: “All I ask of you is to reject politics of division and conflict and vote in peace.”
President Kenyatta used his speech to enumerate his achievements, two months to the August 8 General Election.
He cited the launch of the Standard Gauge Railway train services between Nairobi and Mombasa, increased electricity connections to households, scrapping of school examination fees and tarmacking of roads, as some of his met promises.
“The state of our nation is strong,” declared the President who spoke at the 54th Madaraka Day celebrations at the Kabiru-ini Showground arena in Nyeri town.
Uhuru used his 41-minute speech to underline what he termed a strong foundation for the “trans-formative” agenda of his Jubilee government.
On a day when Raila who was in attendance was conspicuously snubbed, Uhuru said: “I am happy with the progress made since we took power.” Apparently, not even Jubilee top leadership led by Uhuru and his deputy, Ruto, recognised Raila’s presence.
Raila was not even recognised by the master of ceremonies for the day.
“We should always be careful to distinguish between a legitimate desire for change and its exploitation by short-sighted and cynical leaders who use us for their own selfish ends,” Uhuru said as early as the third paragraph of his speech, which dealt with the challenges of independent Kenya including “several attempts to take power by force”.
Raila, who had arrived in a chopper and was wildly cheered every time he was beamed in the big screens at the arena, left immediately after the ceremony without speaking to the media or the public. Uhuru’s official written speech of roughly 33 minutes and off-the-cuff speech of just over eight minutes, was dominated by declarations of how well his government had helped Kenyans advance in his first term.
It read more like a campaign speech for his party’s national delegates convention but had subtle quotes here and there.
He also used a few minutes to promise peaceful elections and to issue a warning that attempts to dishonestly dispute the outcome of the polls would be answered in force.
Uhuru hailed the SGR as a milestone that would revolutionise the agricultural and industrial sectors and open up job opportunities for thousands of young Kenyans.
He said the new railway would cut delivery times, cut corruption and reduce the incidence of death and disability from road accidents involving passenger service vehicles (PSVs).
He praised his government’s record in infrastructure development, citing the over 1,000kms of tarmacked roads and the Last Mile electricity connection that he said had buried the 50 years arrogance of past governments that assumed electricity was not for citizens living in mud houses. He said infrastructure development would spur industrial take-off and the choice of Kenya as the regional hub for more multinationals on top of the 20 currently doing so.
He cited the return of car assembly plants by Peugeot and Volkswagen as an iconic emblem of an industrialising nation.
He said the 92 referral hospitals spread across the counties had transformed the health sector and that the free maternity care had enabled more women to give birth safely and with dignity.
Ruto said Jubilee wanted to see vulnerable Kenyans get affordable treatment and end the culture to hold fundraisers for the poor sick to be airlifted for treatment abroad.
The President said hundreds of Technical Training Institutes (TTIs) had been established under the Jubilee’s dream of establishing the colleges in all constituencies.
He said the Government was on course to launch the free secondary education starting next January after managing to pay national examination fees for all Standard Eight and Form Four candidates this year.