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Reconciliation tops President Uhuru's agenda for 2019

President Uhuru Kenyatta gives his New Year address to the Nation at State House, Mombasa yesterday. [PSCU]

President Uhuru Kenyatta in his new year message yesterday urged Kenyans to make 2019 a year of hope and reconciliation.

President Kenyatta called on Kenyans to celebrate their differences by building a cohesive country and realising that they needed each other for a prosperous nation.

“Let 2019 be a year of building bridges to one another and bringing discipline and perseverance to our efforts. Let us respect and celebrate our differences, and use them to build a more vibrant citizenship,” said Uhuru at State House Mombasa.

Corrupt warned

He urged Kenyans that as they plan to prosper as individuals, they should plan to do so in an honest way.

“Let your success not only bring benefit to you but to others around you as well. Let this be a year when we water the seeds of a strong and towering tree; a tree whose fruits are bountiful and enjoyed by each and every Kenyan,” he said.

As has been his norm in the recent past, Uhuru warned the corrupt, insisting that his administration would do everything in its power to prosecute them and repossess their ill-gotten wealth.

The President said in the past year, Kenyans had learnt as a people that they can work together to fight corruption.

“Now people accused of serious economic crimes are no longer being able to claim that their personal challenge should be seen as representing their entire ethnic group,” Uhuru said, adding that due to politics of unity, now alleged criminals have nowhere to hide and, as should be the case, have to carry their own cross.

Building on this momentum, Uhuru, said, his administration will in 2019 continue to work hard to investigate and prosecute cases.

“At the same time we will take steps to reform our policies and public financial management systems in order to remove any loopholes that wayward characters exploit,” he said.

He promised that his administration would enhance the work of the Asset Recovery Agency to ensure that “we aggressively seek court orders to freeze and confiscate assets such as bank accounts, vehicles, and real estate”.

“Individuals charged with corruption offences will not be allowed to flaunt their ill-gotten wealth as court proceedings are ongoing. Once the suspects are convicted, the assets will be transferred to the Criminal Asset Recovery Fund, ready for use to finance projects and programmes that will improve the lives of Kenyans,” Uhuru said.

The President reiterated that to win this war against corruption requires Kenyans to work together as a people, in appreciation of the fact that corruption is their common enemy.

“In this respect, I urge every Kenyan to reject bribery, and those who try and buy our favour through the use of monies gained from fraud. In the same spirit, all arms of government have to commit to work together against this enemy of development,” said Uhuru.

He praised a multi-agency team which has ensured that the scourge of examination cheating has almost been entirely eradicated from the education system.

Uhuru called upon colleges and universities to put in place stringent measures that will ensure cheating does not take place in their institutions.

“We must eliminate all corrupt elements in our education system to ensure Kenya regains its recognition as country providing high quality globally competitive education,” he said.

He also praised his handshake with Opposition leader Raila Odinga, noting that it had brought peace to the country, an environment conducive for socio-economic growth.

“Never again should Kenyans fear for their lives because of politics. Last year, following a divisive and drawn out election period, we had fully developed a politics of division and discord,” he said.

This made Kenyans lose lives while millions of livelihoods were negatively affected as businesses suffered from the unrest.

“We demonstrated our greatness as a people when we came together, three months into 2018, to shake hands as leaders, as communities and as citizens,” Uhuru said.

“I am proud to have personally shaken hands; and I am even more proud of the millions of Kenyans, who ensured that the act of a few leaders was mirrored in millions of handshakes and smiles for each other.”

He urged every Kenyan, business enterprise, NGO, sacco, Church and Mosque to commit to take, in 2019, concrete and practical steps to solidify the foundation of our unity.

“I urge you to reach out to one another, initiate social and cultural programmes that bring all Kenyans together irrespective of their ethnic, colour, religion place of origin,” he said.

He was also happy that Kenya hosted first ever “Global Conference on the Sustainable Blue Economy” was one such instance.

“At this unique meeting, virtually all governments in the world were represented alongside thousands of scientists, investors and researchers, all drawn to Nairobi to chart a new path of global opportunity and prosperity,” he said adding that it will lead to millions of new jobs all over the world, with many of them being created here in Kenya.

He said he was proud that Kenya continued to show the world that it has one of the most talented peoples on earth.

“We, and the world, watched in amazement as Eliud Kipchoge again extended the bounds of human effort in the marathon. Other Kenyan men and women broke world records,” he said.

“We celebrated the Harambee Stars’ success, qualifying for the African Cup of Nations in 2019 — the first time in fifteen years that Kenya will be participating in the competition.”

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