49th JAMHURI DAY CELEBRATIONS 12/12/12- PRESIDENT KIBAKI's SPEECH
|THE PRESIDENT ADDRESSES THE NATION ON HIS LAST JAMHURI DAY CELEBRATION|
|PRESIDENT KIBAKI INSPECTS A GUARD OF HONOR TO MARK THE CELEBRATIONS|
Jamhuri Day is the most significant day in our national calendar, because
it reminds us of the time in 1963 when Kenya attained her independence
from colonial rule.
As a nation, we remember and acknowledge the important role played by our
freedom fighters, some of whom paid the ultimate price in the struggle for
our independence. To them we owe the duty to ensure that their dreams of
a united, peaceful, prosperous and truly independent state are achieved.
It is therefore fitting that on such an occasion we reflect on the journey
we have traveled. We reflect on how we have overcome the challenges of
fighting poverty, ignorance and disease as envisioned by our founding
Ten years ago, when I took office, we promised to make Kenya a prosperous
and working nation. We also emphasized that nation building was not the
responsibility of the Government alone and that indeed all Kenyans had a
role to play in rebuilding our country.
When I reflect on our progress, I am happy of the achievements we have
attained together. Our development efforts have been guided by two main
blueprints, the Economic Recovery Strategy for Wealth and Employment
Creation, and the Kenya VISION TWENTY THIRTY.
In 2002, our economy was facing very serious challenges. The Economic
Recovery Strategy formed the basis for our economic revival efforts.
Through focused leadership and sheer hard work by Kenyans across our
country, in a period of five years, we were able to achieve a GDP growth
rate of seven percent by the year 2007.
Despite the global and local challenges we experienced in 2008, the Grand
Coalition Government was able to steer the country to recovery and the
economy record four and a half percent growth rate last year, with growth
being projected at five percent this year.
As a nation we can confidently say that the foundation to move Kenya into
a middle income country by TWENTY THIRTY has been firmly laid. The
journey towards the transformation of our country is on course.
On the economic front, our main achievements have been in the areas of
agriculture, infrastructure development, increased tax revenues, financial
inclusivity and ICT development.
The agricultural sector which is the backbone of our economy has seen
major developments over the last ten years. The sector has grown from a
growth rate of negative three percent to about six percent. Poverty
levels have reduced from 56 percent to 46 percent. Food security levels
have also improved.
In addition, numerous public institutions in the agricultural sector have
been revived. To reduce reliance on rain-fed production, the Government
has rehabilitated and expanded irrigation schemes such as Bura, Hola, West
Kano, Mwea, Nzoia, Ahero and Katilu. This has increased area under
irrigation by about 150,000 hectares. In addition, new schemes have been
created in the Yala Swamp, Turkana, Kibwezi, Masinga and Kiambere, among
Infrastructure development has been a key focus for the Government. We
were driven by the conviction that improved road, railway and air
transport networks as well as expansion of energy and telecommunications
facilitates the movement of goods and people across the country and our
region. This in turn increases trade and production. To this end, roads
have been constructed, expanded and rehabilitated, the railway network has
been revamped and airports have been modernized.
In addition, the capacity at our port of Mombasa has been increased and
work has begun on the construction of a new port in Lamu. The new port is
part of the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport project. LAPSSET,
as the project is commonly known, will be more than a transport corridor;
it will be a new economic development corridor that will open up vast
areas in the northern part of our country. It will also fast track our
regional integration efforts by linking us with our two neighbours, South
Sudan and Ethiopia. In the energy sector, we have increased electricity
connections from 600,000 to over 2 million connections.
Our development efforts have been made possible because an expanded
economy has enlarged the tax base. Kenyans have also heeded to my call
to pay their taxes. You will recall that ten years ago, our national
budget was 250 billion shillings, and our tax revenues were 180 billion
shillings. We depended on donor funding to finance a large part of our
national budget. In the last ten years, we have been able to
significantly increase our tax revenues to over 700 billion shillings. We
are now able to fund over 95 percent of our Government budget from local
This economic independence is a key achievement that Kenyans should be
very proud of. We are now in control of our economic destiny and able to
make important economic decisions that will improve the lives of our
people. We are also able to collaborate with our development partners to
finance additional programmes.
On financial inclusivity, when I came into office, about 1 million people
had access to financial services. Now, over 20 million Kenyans have
access to financial services, a majority through the revolutionary mobile
money solutions developed by Kenyans working with telecommunications
companies. Expansion of banking services to all parts of our country has
led to increased access to credit by our small and medium size
Kenya has made great strides in I.C.T. In 2003, there were less than a
million mobile phones in Kenya. Today, we have about 30 million Kenyans
using mobile phones. Internet users rose from 250,000 to over 14 million
today. From just a handful of broadcasters today we have 19 television
stations and 81 radio stations.
This growth of I.C.T. has been accompanied by the creation of thousands of
jobs for our people. In order to take the I.C.T. industry to the next
level, the Government will soon commence development of Konza Techno City.
Although these achievements in the economic front are commendable, much
more needs to be done in order for us to achieve the transformation that
we seek. Our farmers need to focus their attention on moving their
activities from purely subsistence to commercial. Farming must be seen as
a business with the goal of producing surplus crops and animals for sale.
This will improve our farmers’ livelihoods and increase our food
production, hence improving food security in our country.
In addition, farming activities need to be mechanized in order to improve
productivity. Kenya also needs to rapidly industrialize. No country has
achieved sustained economic growth without industrialization.
In the financial sector, I encourage Kenyans to develop a savings culture.
No matter how little you are able to start with, it is important that we
all regularly save a portion of our income. Indeed, “Haba na haba, hujaza
kibaba”. Increased domestic savings will boost our economy by providing
resources for credit as well as secure individuals and families during
In the social sector, we have made great strides in education, health,
water, and sanitation. In the area of education we initiated the free and
compulsory primary education. This programme has been a huge success with
close to 10 million of our children enjoying access to basic education.
Five years ago, we introduced free secondary school tuition. The result
of these initiatives has seen our transition rate from primary to
secondary school dramatically rise from 42 percent to over 70 percent.
Tertiary education has also expanded over the last 10 years. We now have
seven Public Universities, twenty four University Constituent Colleges and
fifteen chartered private universities. In addition, the Government now
offers free tuition for youth polytechnics to attract youth to seek
gainful technical skills.
As a nation, we have made great strides in health. HIV/AIDS transmission
rates have declined and the Government has facilitated the provision of
antiretroviral drugs. Ten years ago just 10,000 Kenyans had access to
life saving A.R.V. drugs compared to the current 500,000. Over 20 million
mosquito nets have been distributed averting a malaria endemic in the last
In the water sector, the Government has reformed the management of water
and sanitation services. Today 65 percent of the Kenyan people have
access to piped water compared to 38 percent ten years ago. Major efforts
have also been made in water conservation. Our major water towers are
being rehabilitated and future generations are assured of this valuable
resource. Indeed, tree cover in the country has improved from 2 percent in
2003 to 6 percent this year.
A secure environment is the foundation of our national development
efforts. I would like to assure Kenyans that the Government is fully
committed to providing adequate security for our people, visitors and
The ongoing reforms in the security sector will enhance the capacity of
our security agencies to provide swift and adequate services to our
people. In the recent past, we have faced security challenges from
hostile elements who are agents of international terrorist networks. This
is the reason we launched Operation Linda Nchi with the overall objective
of protecting our territorial integrity. This Operation has made
significant progress and our troops are now part of the African Union
Mission in Somalia.
Within the country, we have also taken steps to reduce incidents of crime
and lawlessness, including terrorist attacks, cattle rustling and
re-emergence of criminal gangs. This is a critical time in our nation’s
history and as the Commander-In-Chief; I wish to assure Kenyans that the
Government will deal decisively with any person or group engaging in
criminal activities. We will not let a few individuals distract our
nation from the goal of living in a peaceful and harmonious environment.
To this end, I call upon Kenyans to cooperate with all our security
agencies by giving information that will prevent crime and aid the
apprehension and prosecution of law breakers. I commend all members of
our security forces for their continued hard work in securing our country.
One of my most memorable moments during my ten year tenure as your
President was the promulgation of our new Constitution. After more than
20 years, we were able to put in place a new Constitution developed and
approved by Kenyans. The Government has faithfully implemented provisions
of the new Constitution as laid out in the Sixth Schedule.
As a result, we have seen the reform of the Judiciary and creation of
important public institutions. The executive will continue supporting the
Judiciary to enhance its capacity and entrench the ongoing reforms.
In addition, this Constitution, has paved way for devolution. As Kenyans
enjoy the freedoms enshrined in the Constitution, I urge them to respect
the rule of law as this is the foundation of our current and future
development. I also call upon each one of us to promote peace and
national unity in all our areas of influence. We should be free to
disagree and hold divergent opinions but as we do so, we must remain both
peaceful and united. Indeed, our unity in diversity is our greatest
The developments that I have enumerated which we have achieved in the last
10 years have laid the foundation for the economic, social and political
transformation of our country. Kenya is now at the edge of a take-off to
greater prosperity, equity, and unity. We must keep our eyes on the goal
of building a great Kenya for present and future generations. It will be
the responsibility of county and national leaders, working with all
citizens, to ensure that this growth momentum is maintained. They must
also harness the enormous potential of the resources and people of Kenya.
Kenyans should therefore elect honest, visionary and hardworking leaders
who have the concerns of Kenya at heart in the next General Election. In
this regard, I urge Kenyans to take advantage of the remaining one week
and register as voters in order to participate in the forthcoming General
Election. Registering to vote will enable you to carry out your civic
duty of electing your leaders. You will also be choosing the policies by
which you will be governed. Thus, registering to vote will enable you to
participate in strengthening our democracy. Most importantly, registering
to vote gives you the power to determine the future and destiny of Kenya.
Finally, I take this opportunity to wish all Kenyans peaceful and blessed
holidays, a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year. Kindly take time
to reach out to your fellow Kenyans who may be in distress and help them
share the joy of the festive season.
Today, also marks the beginning of our Golden Jubilee year which will
culminate in the celebrations of our 50 years of independence in December
next year. Let us therefore take time in the forthcoming year to focus our
attention on the Almighty God, who has graciously watched over our nation
over the years and let us also offer a helping hand to the needy.
Ahsanteni na Mungu Aibariki Kenya.