Kibaki sets out plans for the
Publication Date: 3/7/2008
Government will table various Bills to enale the country get back
on its feet
The following is an abridged version of a speech delivered by
President Kibaki during the opening of Parliament on Thursday.
As a nation, we have come through a challenging two months since
the December 27 General Election. The post-election violence that
saw more than 1,000 people killed, over 300,000 displaced and
billions of shillings worth of property burnt or looted shook our
sense of nationhood.
In addition to the death toll, the post-election violence
disrupted lives and destroyed farms, businesses and residential
properties. We cannot watch our brothers and sisters endure such
My Government has set up a National Humanitarian Assistance Fund
with an initial endowment of Sh1 billion to provide humanitarian
assistance and resettle the displaced persons.
We have also established a new Directorate for Resettlement that
will oversee the resettlement of the internally displaced persons.
These institutions will assist internally displaced persons in
farming areas to regain their livelihoods through provision of
free seeds and other farming inputs.
We are also designing an emergency programme for economic
reconstruction and restoration. The programme will mobilize
resources locally and internationally to be used in repairing and
reconstructing infrastructure that were badly damaged during the
The recent crisis has caused me to reflect deeply on the half a
century of my active participation in the management of our public
affairs. During this time, I have come to appreciate and respect
the resilience of our people and our country.
I have seen Kenya go through some very critical moments. Each
time, our people have used the crisis as a crucial turning point
from which they have come out more focused and determined to stay
on course so as to realize our collective vision of a free, just
and prosperous nation.
The events of the last two months have offered us an opportunity
to look inwards and fully comprehend both the weaknesses and
threats on one hand and strengths and opportunities we have as a
Indeed, Kenyans will always prefer peace over conflict, prosperity
over desolation, unity over discord, and justice over injustice.
This is why on February 28th, 2008, I and Honourable Raila Odinga
accepted and signed the National Accord because our people had
spoken clearly that they wanted one Kenya, in which all lived in
peace, justice, and harmony.
Kenyans expected no less from either one of us, and the people
have embraced the Accord with joy and renewed hope. We believe the
Accord is the first step towards achieving a prosperous and stable
future for all Kenyans. It opens a new chapter in the management
of our national affairs.
I believe Honourable Members will agree that the Accord is a
victory for all Kenyans, laying the foundation for peace and
stability in our country. The successful implementation of the
Accord will require goodwill, unity, good faith and integrity from
this House and all our country’s leaders.
I urge honourable Members to ensure that all the necessary bills
to implement the Accord and other social and economic reforms are
dealt with promptly so that Kenya can be fully restored to, and
even exceed its former glory.
In this regard, we will, as the Coalition Government, introduce
four bills that should be accorded the highest priority, namely;
The National Accord and Reconciliation Bill,
The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill,
The Establishment of Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission
and The Establishment of the Ethnic Relations Commission of Kenya
Kenya has witnessed some real and irreversible changes since the
year 2003. In the political arena, Kenyans are now enjoying their
freedoms of association and expression without fear.
As a people, we are now fully aware of our rights and freedoms to
do whatever we want. At times, however, it is evident that we are
yet to fully comprehend that real freedom and liberty also comes
with the responsibility of ensuring that in enjoying our rights,
we do not do harm to others.
We have made impressive gains in the social sector. We have seen
primary school enrolment grow by over 2 million children because
of free primary education.
Similarly, secondary school enrolment has almost doubled in the
last five years because of a higher transition rate and the recent
introduction of free secondary education.
Moreover, our country is more caring of the weak and vulnerable
among us. We now have a programme that provides financial support
to guardians of HIV/AIDS affected orphans, which will grow from
12,500 participating households to more than 30,000 this year.
Children under five, pregnant mothers and patients suffering from
HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria continue to receive free treatment and
drugs in all our public health facilities. In addition, our
economy has consistently performed well, with the growth rate
rising from 0.2 percent in 2002 to nearly 7 percent last year.
All sectors have performed well, with key sectors such as
agriculture, transport, communications, tourism, manufacturing and
trade all growing at an average of 5 to 10 percent annually in the
last three years.
The informal sector has received policy attention with the passage
of the Micro finance Act to support small and medium enterprises.
We have also made progress in building of markets to enable street
vendors do their business legally and without harassment.
We have, as a nation, received commendations for our achievements.
These include commendations for our improved business environment
from the World Bank, and for our public service reforms from the
United Nations, among others.
Indeed, although we continue to face many challenges, we have a
lot to celebrate about our country, and we have created a solid
foundation on which to build its future.
In this respect, I am confident that we will soon overcome the
setbacks we have suffered recently and our country will resume its
upward path in all aspects of development once we begin to
implement our coalition Government programme.
It is for this reason that we have put together a high level
committee with five members each from both sides to synergise,
harmonise and highlight priority policies and programmes proposed
in the PNU, ODM and ODM-K manifestos into a joint policy and
This strategy will give priority to activities that positively
affect the livelihoods and conditions of our poor people, while
promoting equitable opportunities for development throughout the
country. For instance, slum upgrading, the building of public
markets in all urban areas and support for small businesses and
smallholders will be accorded top priority.
The joint medium term strategy will build on the foundations of
the successful Economic Recovery Strategy for Wealth and
Employment Creation. And later this year, we expect to table a
Sessional Paper on VISION TWENTY THIRTY.
VISION TWENTY THIRTY represents our collective commitment as
Kenyans in transforming our country into a middle income economy
that will be characterized by political stability, social justice
and cohesion as well as equitable economic and social
I will now briefly outline our Government’s legislative and policy
proposals in several key sectors. Let me begin by thanking the
last Parliament for passing 17 bills into law last year.
These include, the Political Parties bill, the Constituency
Development Fund Act, the Media Act and several labour sector laws.
These laws are expected to improve our country’s social, political
and economic environment.
However, the 10th Parliament faces an even more pressing agenda
and cannot afford to conduct itself in the usual manner. I
therefore, expect it to work twice as hard to achieve the
ambitious legislative agenda that will be brought to this House.
I wish to point out that what I am proposing today as the
Government’s legislative and policy agenda to this House will be
augmented further in the coming weeks and months. This will be
done through new bills and policies that will be developed from
the synergy and harmonization of the manifestos of the three main
parties to the coalition.
The past five years have seen the agriculture sector perform
robustly from the policies implemented by my Government. We,
therefore, expect it to recover quickly from the recent setbacks
it has faced.
To improve market performance of several key commodities, we will
propose the following legislative and policy agenda;
to amend the Coffee Act 2001 to provide direct sales of coffee,
to amend the Sugar Act 2001 to restructure the sugar industry,
to introduce bills and sessional papers covering the dairy,
poultry and fishing industries, among others.
Another sector that has been performing extremely well is the
tourism industry. Despite the recent downturn, the sector has
enormous potential to recover and grow even more rapidly providing
foreign exchange and creating employment opportunities.
To enable the sector perform even better, the Government will
table three bills, namely, the Environmental Impact Assessment
Regulations Guidelines, the Tourism Bill and the Wildlife Bill.
As we undertake to deal decisively with poverty and inequitable
development, my Government acknowledges the crucial role played by
cooperatives in the production and marketing of produce as well as
mobilizing savings and providing credit to the majority of Kenyans.
In this regard we will be tabling to this House a Sessional Paper
on Cooperative Development Policy and a bill on Savings and Credit
While we have done well in establishing the free primary and
secondary education programmes, we do require legislation to
entrench the reforms in the entire education sector within our
In this regard, my Government plans to introduce legislation that
will regulate the role of non-public entities such as civil
society and international education providers as well as propose
the establishment of a Technical Industrial Vocation and
Entrepreneurial Training Authority.
Moreover, we will not be able to achieve the goals of VISION
TWENTY THIRTY without a tremendous effort in entrenching a culture
of science, technology and innovation in our society. In this
regard, my Government will present to the House several proposals,
a National Policy for Science Technology and Innovation,
a bill to upgrade the National Council of Science and Technology,
to the National Commission of Science and Technology,
the creation of the National Science Foundation and National
In the health sector, my Government proposes to review the Public
Health Act so as to consolidate 23 different Public health laws
into a single Act of Parliament. We will also table to this House
policy papers on Health Care Financing, Health Services Commission
and Decentralised Funding of Health Facilities.
With regard to the youth of this country, my Government will
propose amendments to the Armed Forces Act to enable youth trained
under the National Youth Service be absorbed in the armed forces.
We will also table before the House a bill to provide for the
creation of a National Youth Council. My Government will also
re-table the Sessional Paper on Employment Policy for discussion
in the House on the urgent and critical matter of providing enough
jobs for our young people.
With regard to gender, we will continue to support the current
policy of ensuring that 30 percent of public appointments and new
employment opportunities are reserved for women.
We now have more Lady Members than at any time in the past, and I
expect to see more gender friendly laws and policies emerge from
the 10th Parliament in relation to its predecessors. With regard
to the protection of the family and children, we propose
amendments to the Children’s Act 2001 for better implementation.
The proper management and regulation of our country’s physical
infrastructure is among the highest priorities of my Government.
In this regard, we plan to introduce the Information Communication
Technology Bill as a regulatory framework for broadcasting,
electronic transactions and cyber crime.
In the Water sector, we will table the National Water Harvesting
and Storage Policy to facilitate harnessing and storage of
recurrent floodwaters as well as the National Shared Water
Resources Policy to promote equitable development of water
We also expect to undertake the 2nd Mzima Springs project to
ensure sufficient water supply to Mombasa and its surroundings.
And to ensure that our roads network is better constructed and
maintained, my Government will make fully operational the Urban,
Rural and National Highways Authorities that were legislated under
the Roads Act in the last Parliament.
We will further introduce a policy on the registration of
contractors as well as the creation of a national construction
company to build capacity among local contractors. We will also
introduce legislation touching on the Protection of Road Reserves,
Registration of Engineers and Architects as well as Quantity
With regard to local authorities, we propose to bring to the House
new amendments to the Local Government Act to enable the direct
election of mayors and county council chairmen. This reform is
long overdue and this Parliament should deliberate on it as a
matter of priority.
To ensure the proper planning and development of our urban areas
as well as the proper enforcement of laws and by-laws for
regulation of urban development, we will table in the House
proposals to set up a National Urban and Metropolitan Areas
Authority. To promote the development of affordable housing we
will present the Housing Bill and a Landlord and Tenant Bill.
With regard to national security, my Government will continue to
propose legislation and policies that safeguard our national
security while also ensuring the protection of our people’s rights
and freedoms. We propose to bring to the House several bills
touching on national security.
We will table before the House the Organised Crimes Bill to
contain the emergence of organized gangs and militias which bode
ill for our society. We will also table the Anti-money Laundering
Bill as well as introduce amendments to the Chief’s Act and
I wish to propose that Members become fully involved in promoting
and leading the district peace and reconciliation committees. This
is necessary because the post-election violence saw communal
relations stretched to breaking point.
Parliament, as the representative body of all Kenyans, must now
rise to its historic responsibility and play its role fully in
restoring peace, security as well as law and order in our beloved
Honourable Members, you must now become the ambassadors of peace
and reconciliation in your constituencies, among your communities
and throughout the country. Kenyans need to hear and be reassured
by their political leaders that they can live, own property and do
business in any part of the country without fear of prejudice,
harassment or persecution.
In this regard, we propose to bring to the House a comprehensive
policy and accompanying legislation that will ensure that the
threat to our national security and social cohesion caused by
negative ethnicity is neutralized for the well being of our
As I conclude my remarks, Mr. Speaker, allow me to reiterate the
need to build and strengthen the capacity of honourable members to
do their work. In this regard, I urge the Parliamentary Service
Commission to ensure that members are provided with sufficient
research and technical assistants as well as computer and office
facilities during this session.
We have a chance to make the tenth parliament a meeting of minds
and an avenue for a great competition of ideas that will reflect
the highest levels of constructive debate in our nation’s history.
Finally, Mr. Speaker, I wish the Honourable Members a highly
productive Session in which the agenda of building a new Kenya
overrides any other individual or factional agendas. This is what
Kenyans are asking of the 10th Parliament, to undertake its
historic task of building a new dispensation for a new Kenya.
With these remarks, Mr. Speaker, it is now my pleasure to declare
the Second Session of the 10th Parliament officially open.
Thank You and God Bless You All.