Friends of Kenya,
I welcome and appreciate every one of you for joining us today to celebrate this important occasion in our calendar. June First (1st) is one of the most memorable and inspiring days of our life as a nation. Indeed, history records this day as the beginning of our journey to sovereignty and independence.
On that first Madaraka Day, we assumed moral, legal and political responsibility for our destiny as a nation. On that day, we proclaimed that we would be totally responsible for our destiny and that we would join our compatriots in the fight for the freedom of those countries in African that remained under colonial rule. We embraced this sacred mandate, signed with the blood of our freedom fighters.
We won our freedom because we worked in unity, and shared a common vision: to be a free people, to govern ourselves and to determine our destiny.
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.
Indeed, we dishonour our fore-fathers when we engage in negative ethnicity and inter-communal conflicts. These actions are a criminal betrayal of our freedom fighters’ labours, and sins against our nationhood and God.
I call upon all Kenyans from all corners of the country, east, west, north and south, to be united. That way we are sure of conquering the challenges of social-economic development that we still face as a nation.
Let it be known that engaging in meaningless conflicts only undermines our ability to grow the national cake that would be enough for all.
At this point let me make it clear that political competition will not be allowed 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.
There is no doubt at all that unemployment, inequality and poverty are still real development challenges that as a nation we continue to face. But my government is dealing with these challenges through our national institutions, and careful economic planning by both national and county governments. Our institutions charged with the responsibility to allocate resources, identify development projects and process appointments in public offices, are expected always to bear in mind the constitutional requirement for gender, regional and ethnic balance.
This mandate is to make Kenya better every day, and to make every Kenyan count. To the freedom fighters, this nation and its people were important enough to fight for, to suffer for, and even die for. To us, Kenya and its people deserve all our sacrifice, struggle, effort and resources.
Madaraka is a charge on all Kenyans to make Kenya freer, safer, healthier, wealthier and happier but also to enable more and more Kenyans play their part.
Madaraka is our continuing struggle to crown our sacrifices with meaningful achievement, and to adorn our freedom with wholesome values. We give our best tribute to our heroes and heroines when we live up to their ideals, and honour their struggle.
Since its inception, my Administration has been committed to safeguarding this legacy and advancing the mandate of Madaraka in thought and word, and in deed.
We are working hard every day to make Kenya a country we all can be proud to live and to work in. The greatness of this country is defined by what each one of us contributes to build it, and the benefits all of us draw from it.
To achieve sustainable prosperity, experience shows that security is paramount. Security of life and property of our people is a prerequisite for any meaningful development.
Nobody will be willing to invest unless they are assured of their security, be they local or foreign investors.
This is why my Government will and has invested heavily in strengthening the institutions that protect the lives and property of our people. We have done a lot in equipping our police so that they can be able to respond quickly to situations that require their attention.
Equally, we have empowered our national intelligence and criminal investigation institutions, and our defence forces.
Indeed as a result of the measures we have taken to strengthen the capacity of our police, crime rates have fallen commensurately. But we face a new kind of enemy, against whom conventional methods will not work. This enemy is a radicalized young man or woman who appears innocent but is devoted to death, division and destruction.
He has been misled to believe that he is doing God’s work by killing those of different faiths.
To deal with this enemy, we must keep improving our methods and tactics. Prevention is better than cure: and that is why we must stop them from being radicalized. We can’t do this without the complete cooperation of parents, guardians, and religious leaders.
My Government takes the matter seriously, and has already developed a major anti-radicalization programme.
Very shortly, all security organs, national and county governments, civil-society groups, as well as faith based leaders, will begin to implement it.
Just as my Government will work with these outside groups, so too will we work with parents, teachers and community leaders. Theirs is not a minor responsibility. Radicalization does not always wear its intentions openly.
Your child might appear devoutly religious, but you must be able to tell when radicalization turns piety to evil.
Together, we can meet our joint duty of vigilance against those who would harm us. The enemy is cunning, but if we work together, we shall overcome. I salute those who give information, who voice their suspicions and who stay vigilant for the sake of our security and safety. You have saved lives, but we must remain vigilant, for the threat remains real.
At our first Madaraka Day, we pledged to fight poverty, ignorance and disease. That long war against disease continues. And we will fight it until every Kenyan has the very highest standard of medical care, for our people are our most important asset. My Government will do everything in its power to protect this asset.
That is why, last week, I had the pleasure of commissioning new, modern medical equipment in Machakos County.
The equipment includes state-of-the-art theatre, kidney, X-ray, and ICU equipment to enable our doctors diagnose, prevent, and treat serious ailments. This is only the beginning: in time, this national programme will be rolled out to every county. Soon, a hospital near your home will be as well-equipped as Machakos. You will not have to travel to Nairobi or overseas for specialized treatment.
Given the consequences of further delay, it is clear that this scheme can no longer be politicized. There is no good politics which prevents X-ray or dialysis machines from reaching those who need them.
To further ease the cost of healthcare, my government is implementing Universal Health cover through the National Hospital Insurance fund. This will ensure that those expenses not met through our free health schemes, will be underwritten through public medical insurance.
Just as we have fought disease, so have we fought ignorance. My government has raised its capitation to secondary schools from 28 billion to 32 billion KSh, and for primary schools from 14 to 15 billion. All this 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.
A hungry person has no dignity and is not able to be productive. We are therefore committed to eradicating hunger in our country.
My Government has begun, and will sustain, its immense investment in food security and drought resilience until this is realized. In the most recent dry seasons, my Government has been alert to ensure that food markets effectively transmit balanced nutrition between food surplus and deficit areas.
Coupled with that, my Government has established vigilance and accurate response to any famine or drought. We will continue protecting our people from starvation, and our pastoral communities from losses following drought. Through our strategic food reserves, animal uptake subsidy schemes and livestock insurance, we are investing in solid resilience for our communities.
My Government has also intervened strongly to enhance food supply and bring down the prices of our staple foods.
My Government has also partnered very strongly with county governments to ensure that there is adequate investment in agriculture, food production and rural enterprises. Extension services are now available all over the country; I thank the private sector for the support it has lent to Kenya’s rural renaissance.
Kenyans of all ages and backgrounds are rediscovering agriculture. The youth, especially, are taking their bold, innovative spirit to the farm, and the impact has been transformative. I feel extremely encouraged to see our media devoting a lot of time to matters of farming, agriculture and rural wealth. Let us each do our part in this revolution.
Everywhere we turn, Kenyans yearn for the opportunity to make our dreams come true and to make this Nation great. My Government is investing in that opportunity.
Our initial investment is the Youth and Women Access to Government Procurement Opportunities that my government launched shortly after its inauguration.
Thirty per cent (30%) of all tenders in government institutions have been ring-fenced for marginalized groups: youth, women and persons with disabilities. Since this programme was launched, 8,464 companies have won tenders worth billions of shillings.
There has been a steady and encouraging improvement in response to these opportunities. My measure of success will be the moment when the presently earmarked opportunities will be exhausted, requiring my government to go beyond 30 per cent in order to further entrench youth, women and persons with disability in our industrial and entrepreneurial system.
The opportunities go beyond the National Government. I am happy to note that county governments have also taken and prioritized empowerment of the youth, women and persons-with-disability in order to achieve a more inclusive and cohesive Kenyan society.
Ring-fencing business opportunity is not enough. My Government recognized the need to provide financial support to the beneficiaries of the ring-fenced business opportunities for them to truly exploit them.
The Youth Fund, the Women’s Enterprise Funds and Uwezo Fund were capitalized with a total of Sh13.2 billion all dedicated to empowering youth, women, and persons with disability. From these funds, individuals and groups can obtain loans to start businesses.
As I have said, it is my expectation that these funds will be used to harvest opportunities in many sectors of our economy.
With more youth involved, we will see more intense innovation in business and technology, greater creativity in the Arts and robust performance in Agriculture.
In the spirit of empowering our young men and women, we have continued to grow the National Youth Service (NYS).
Last month, we concluded the recruitment of an additional 10,935 young recruits into the National Youth Service, bringing our total NYS contingent to 31,000 in one year. These new recruits will go through three months of basic training and thereafter undertake six to nine months of national service.
The young NYS servicemen and women are building a new national psyche of nation building, patriotism, service culture, volunteerism, civic competence and social cohesion, not only amongst themselves, but also working with other young people within their communities.
The servicemen and women, disciple other young people in the communities they serve, and instil the same values and principles to them, working on a ratio of 1:10.
This afternoon, I will commission the 7,000 youth who have just graduated from recruits to servicemen and women.
These young men and women will be going to all parts of the country, they will engage in youth empowerment programmes aimed at improving informal settlements; building water pans and drilling boreholes in Arid and Semi-arid Land areas; carrying out vector control programmes; and other activities that are aimed at building the foundation for developing a prosperous Kenya.
They will be in the informal settlements in Nairobi and Kisumu, and in other counties across the country working together with residents to make the informal formal. The servicemen and women will work alongside 70,000 community youth in the communities where they will be engaged.
Kenya is a working nation and it is this in mind that my Government continues to work hard to create and sustain the best environment for opportunity and productivity.
This entails not only the proper infrastructure, but also the legal and policy environment to foster competitiveness, innovation, wealth generation and employment creation.
To secure opportunity and productivity we will enforce policies to ensure that we grow consumption of goods and services produced locally.
My Government shall in the new financial year, will strictly ensure that, as a minimum, 40% of all goods and services procured by Government at all levels are locally produced. Additional policies to open up new sectors such as the creative arts and sports sectors are being earnestly pursued.
We are committed to ensuring that our large pool of talent benefits from their hard work; that they rightfully receive a significant portion of the billions of shillings generated by the media, communication, arts and sporting sectors.
To further increase opportunity, we are also focused on expanding our infrastructure. Our investment in infrastructure is opening up the country in countless beautiful ways. Every kilometre of road and rail we have built has transformed the lives of people for good.
Through infrastructure, Kenya is getting more connected within itself and with its neighbours. Through infrastructure, Kenya is becoming safer and our people have access to many services.
As we complete the railways and open up new roads and airports, for example in Kisii, Kwale and Voi, the vocabulary of regional marginalization and low-potential areas will become well and truly extinct.
To support all those who do their bit to move Kenya forward, my Government has committed itself to build two new railway lines, from Mombasa to Malaba; and from Lamu to Lokichar. Last week, I visited Voi to inspect the progress of the Standard Gauge Railway.
I am happy to report to you that by 2017, the SGR will have come to Nairobi.
Another harbour, road, oil pipeline and railway project is programmed to be implemented under the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia (LAPSSET) infrastructure corridor project. This initiative will completely open up northern Kenya and transform it into one vast hub, creating opportunities not just locally, but regionally. We should all look forward to the take-off of these transformative projects.
To create the millions of jobs that we really need, my Government is deliberately taking steps to attract foreign investors.
COST OF DOING BUSINESS
For this reason, we have started a full campaign to make Kenya an irresistible investment destination. We are making tremendous progress in bringing down the cost of doing business in Kenya.
One of the most troublesome aspects of the cost of doing business is energy costs. Despite the shocks of a volatile global petroleum market, we are on course to extracting crude petroleum in various parts of the country.
Our ambition has been to be a world leader in the generation of plentiful, cheap, clean, green and reliable electricity.
Towards this end, the Government has invested heavily in energy generation in the last five years.
This has expanded our generation capacity. Kenya now has a secure energy reserve margin besides bringing down the cost of power by over 30%.
As a result, we are able to offer businesses cheap off-peak electricity to expand production, light our streets, electrify all public primary schools and connect to electricity more than one million new households throughout Kenya.
Last week, I launched the Last Mile Connectivity Project. The 40,000 transformers I commissioned will end up lighting up every village of this country. To ease access, the cost of electricity connection will drop from Sh35,000 to Sh15,000. And even that smaller sum can be paid in instalments, so that every Kenyan has the power he needs to improve and to prosper by investing in enterprises that add value.
That project complements our school electrification programme, under which every primary school in the republic will have electricity within the next few months. It will also enable our pupils to receive the laptops we promised as part of our transformative programme.
This transformation is real. This investment is real. You can feel it in your home, street and place of employment. The work has not stopped. My government will continue to expand power generation, with focus on clean energy.
It will also endeavour to ensure, reliable power generation in Kenya to reach our 5,000 MW target. The realization of our power generation target of 5000 MW will give us reliability, price competitiveness and export capacity.
Large scale manufacturers will set up in Kenya and export to our region and international markets. They will come with many job opportunities for our people.
Even as we work hard to transform this country, it is important to remember two things. The governance agenda is about Kenya and its people.
It is about you, mwananchi. The billions we are investing to place the welfare of the wananchi at the front and centre of all national activity is hard-earned money sacrificed by the people for the promotion of their well-being.
It must be managed responsibly in a manner that takes each shilling as far as it can go, and brings maximum value to our people.
My Government is committed to the mandate of prudently overseeing national affairs. We are also fully committed to national transformation.
A biggest threat to these commitments is mismanagement, waste and theft.
Public office is a trust for the benefit of the wananchi. This trust entails prudent stewardship based on professionalism, integrity and diligence.
The foremost danger to our Republic today is the large number of public officials who have become comfortable with laxity and corruption.
On this Madaraka Day, I call on every Kenyan, be you in the public sector or private sector, to reflect on the question of upholding the tenets of good governance.
Today, I urge everyone to commit to turning over a new leaf and expel the culture of bribery, extortion, kickbacks and other conspiracies and contrivances against the public interest.
As I see it, fighting corruption and restoring integrity has three principal components. The first is by delivering accountability for economic crimes already committed. Secondly, by enhancing vigilance and prudence in order to detect and disrupt corruption that is underway.
Finally, we must establish a robust framework of making Kenya graft-proof going forward. The institutions that help us fight corruption can themselves become corrupt.
While my Government recognizes all the institutions which fight the war against corruption with us, we expect them to maintain high standards of integrity.
On our side, we recently commenced very vigorous 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.
My Government has put in place integrity-assurance and corruption prevention frameworks throughout the public service. But let the truth be told. Unless we fight corruption together, unless every Kenyan joins my Government in the war on graft, then we will not win it.
Lack of transparency and inefficiency breed corruption. By digitizing public records and the migration of public information and services online will bring us closer to an administration of integrity, free of corruption.
IFMIS, the E-citizen Government Digital Payments Platform, E-procurement, the KRS Simba system, E-migration, the Online Transactional Cadaster at the Ministry of Mining, and the digitization of registries at the ministry of Lands are restoring efficiency and credibility to government institutions.
These services have been augmented by the Huduma Centres, where public services are delivered in a manner modelled as closely as possible on the expectations of the Constitution on public service.
As a result, my government has created space for the best practices in service delivery to become part of Government mandate.
So far 21 Huduma Centres are operational, providing a range of 45 different services. They are located in cities and towns including Kisumu, Mombasa, Kakamega, Nyeri, Kisii, Embu, Eldoret, Nakuru, Machakos, Turkana, Bungoma, Kajiado, Siaya, Kitui, Wajir, Isiolo and 4 in Nairobi.
By the close of this financial year 2014/15, my Government will have opened a total of 44 Huduma Centres. The new Huduma centres currently in progress are in Kibera, Marsabit, Muranga, Samburu, Nandi, Busia, Kilifi, Garissa, Homa Bay, Migori, Kirinyaga, Kwale, Narok, Kiambu, Kitale, Nyamira, Laikipia, Kericho, Baringo, Taita, Lamu, Makueni and Tharaka-Nithi.
With these measures, my Government has expanded access to government services, enhanced transparency and accountability and saved many stakeholders time and trouble. As we simplify delivery of government service, we are also making it easy for people to do business in Kenya.
I have taken this day to remind ourselves about something we may have forgotten. Self-government is about you and me. Madaraka is about us.
Everything we do, we should do it in the name of Kenya and for the benefit of all the Kenyan people. We must not waver from the mandate of Madaraka. We must keep the Madaraka candle burning. We must keep marching on in pursuit of a better, peaceful and prosperous Kenya as envisioned by our forefathers.
Today, in our time, we have the power to bring down those walls that stand in the way to realizing our timeless vision of a better united Kenya. We must bring down the walls of poverty, tribalism, and the walls of intolerance.
As you go back to your homes, go with the knowledge that my Government believes in you and cares for you. I assure you that my Government will not waver from the mandate of Madaraka; we will keep working for you and investing in you.
Finally, we owe it to our founding fathers to realize what they struggled for. Our liberation from the yoke of colonialism must translate into the betterment and prosperity of every Kenyan.
Let us today rededicate ourselves to this vision and work together to make our dream a reality.
Thank you very much. God bless Kenya.