By Peter Opiyo
President Kibaki is focused on leaving an admirable legacy and a cohesive Kenya even as the trial of four Kenyans at the International Criminal Court continues to bother his government.
In only his second State of the Nation address in Parliament, Kibaki said measures to ensure free, fair and credible elections are in place, a move that would obscure the 2007 disputed polls that tainted Kenyaâs image at the international front.
He assured Kenyans of a smooth transition to a new leadership as his tenure expires next year, but emphasised that the leadership must have the capacity to build and sustain Kenyaâs development blueprint, Vision 2030. From left, Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, President Mwai Kibaki and House Speaker Kenneth Marende head to Parliament Gardens after attending State of the Nation address in Parliament, on Tuesday. [Photo: Stafford Ondego /Standard]
From left, Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, President Mwai Kibaki and House Speaker Kenneth Marende head to Parliament Gardens after attending State of the Nation address in Parliament, on Tuesday. [Photo: Stafford Ondego /Standard]
"I assure Kenyans of a smooth transition to the new leadership that they will elect in the forth coming general election," said Kibaki. But the aftermath of the 2007 post-poll upheavals also stood out in his speech, as he again talked about his preference for a local tribunal to try the perpetrators of post poll violence.
Kibaki pointed out that Parliament endorsed a motion calling for the withdrawal of Kenya from ICC, and that his government will continue pushing for local trials.
"I am cognizant of the fact that this House passed a motion that Kenya pulls out of ICC. Victims of post-election violence deserve justice. Kenyans facing trials also deserve a fair and legal hearing.
"In the meantime I call on Kenyans to remain calm even as we pursue option of having a local mechanism to deal with any international crimes," he said and called on leaders to stop politicizing the ICC process.
Two of Kibakiâs closest allies, former Head of Public Service Francis Muthaura and Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta are facing international crimes trials at The Hague. Eldoret North MP, William Ruto and Radio presenter Joshua Sang are the other accused. Parliament twice rejected the establishment of a local tribunal saying it would be prone to manipulation by the political class.
Kibaki walked into the Chamber accompanied by Speaker Kenneth Marende and National Assembly Clerk Patrick Gichohi.
The President appeared keen to impress upon the country that Kenya will this time round have credible polls devoid of the chaos that followed the 2007 elections.