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President Uhuru Kenyatta rallies Kenyans in fight against terrorists and their funders

By GEOFFREY MOSOKU | Oct 21st 2014 | 4 min read
President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses Kenyans during Mashujaa Day celebrations at Nyayo Stadium. (Photo:PSCU)

Nairobi, Kenya: President Uhuru Kenyatta Monday announced plans to cut off funding for terrorists and crack down on criminals in a no-nonsense Mashujaa Day speech delivered on the back of a major assault on militants by the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) protecting the country’s borders.

Over the weekend, KDF intercepted and killed five Al-Shabaab terrorists in a Toyota Prado with Kenyan number plates, which was loaded with 100kg of the explosive TNT and six suicide vests. The terrorists had tried to cross the border into Kenya from Somalia at Dolo in Moyale after an earlier attempt to pass through Mandera failed.

Intelligence sources said the suspects were on a major suicide bombing mission but were thwarted.

President Kenyatta rallied Kenyans to reject what he called groups receiving cash from abroad to fund terrorism and destabilise Kenya.

“As a start, my Government will insist on transparency of resource mobilisation and utilisation in and outside the public sector. This is especially important in enabling us to successfully combat Al-Shabaab terrorists and their local sympathisers,” said Uhuru in his official speech.

Hate speech

He said the Government would monitor identified terrorism, radicalisation of youths, incitement and hate speech, corruption and civil society organisations that he claimed were soiling the image of the country abroad.

He tore into unnamed civil society groups he said were receiving funding to destabilise the country and divide Kenyans along ethnic and religious lines.

“There are those abroad that seek to advance their economic and geo-political goals to our disadvantage... These actors have positioned themselves as the gatekeepers and interpreters of Kenya in various capitals. If they were to succeed, they would so completely rob us of faith in each other that we would put our destiny in the hands of unelected, unaccountable institutions that answer to elsewhere,” said Uhuru during Mashujaa Day celebrations at Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi.

He said funding and activities of the groups must be uncovered at all times to put a stop to their campaign to kill innocent Kenyan civilians and brave members of the security forces through terror-related activities.

Uhuru warned that targeted groups were using Kenya’s democratic space and its right to free speech and association to radicalise and recruit Kenyan youths to join terrorist groups.

“This, however, will not happen as long as my government is in place. I pledged to protect our sovereignty and advance our constitutional democracy. I will do so without hesitation and with no favour or let up.”

Warned leaders

The President also warned local leaders against preaching hatred among Kenyans and likened terrorists to leeches that feed on the disunity arising from incitement by leaders.

He asked leaders to unite the country and stop shouting at one another to get news headlines instead of focusing on real development.

Uhuru said the immense promise of Kenya would only be truly realised if all insisted on changing their ways and becoming masters of listening to one another so their words and actions reflected a desire to serve Kenyans.

“I am pleading with my fellow leaders to put aside politics of hate, religion, tribe and division and embrace politics of development and service to the people,” he said.

“My Government will intensify efforts to stamp out incitement. We will insist, with every legal tool at my disposal, that the use of public pulpits by all leaders, teachers, preachers and imams be lawful and focused on building national cohesion,” said Uhuru.

On corruption, the President asked Kenyans stop paying bribes and Government officials to stop demanding them.

“The most heroic action you can take as a citizen is to ensure that in all our counties, towns, cities and villages, we denounce all forms of corruption and refuse to participate in this scourge. My Government is working hard to use technology, better management and transparency to eliminate loopholes used for corruption,” he said in reference to the Government's migration to online procurement processes among other measures.

To boost growth, Uhuru said the Government would improve services and lower the cost of doing business through measures such as the addition of 5,000MW of power to the national grid to lower the price of energy for manufacturers and service providers.

The Head of State used the fifth Mashujaa Day celebrations at the Nyayo stadium to pay homage to a multitude of unsung heroes whose everyday efforts have brought progress and unity to families, communities and the nation at large.

He cited the brave police officers, soldiers and civilians who risked their lives to save innocent people who were attacked by terrorists at the Westgate Shopping Mall in September last year. Some of the police officers he named included Chief Inspector Stephen Lelei, Sergeant Moses Emojong, and the late Lieutenant Joseph Mukoto Masulia.

The President said Kenyans also celebrated sportsmen and women and extolled the Jubilee government’s performance after nearly 18 months in power.

“My Government’s One Million Artisans training programme will connect trainees to job opportunities in medium and large projects. Moreover, young people, especially in the ICT sector, will secure jobs through the agency model for citizen services,” he said.

The Government has also commissioned 60 technical colleges, with 40 more to come.

Last year, the National Youth Service (NYS) recruited over 4,000 youths; the numbers rose to 20,000 this year. Uhuru said the number would increase to 60,000 to lower the number of idle youths turning to crime.

“A watershed example of this vision is in our restructuring of the National Youth Service into an institution that will drive the youth transformation agenda. Involvement in urban gentrification and rejuvenation starting with Kibera, where NYS is working with local youths to create hope and opportunity out of hopelessness, is a vital part of our programme,” said Uhuru.

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