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Leaders call for unity and political tolerance in new year

POLITICS
By Standard Team | January 1st 2016
Deputy President William Ruto (right) joins Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter and his wife Winny during the homecoming of the CS at Kabianga High School in Kericho. [Photo: Boniface THUKU/ STANDARD]

NAIROBI: President Uhuru Kenyatta has asked Kenyans to focus on restoring nation’s pride and do away with endless political bickering and negative talk.

In his New Year message, the President asked Kenyans to avoid unnecessary political confrontations and instead dedicate their energies to creating a more united and prosperous nation.

He noted that although the past year had ended with challenges such as insecurity and corruption, the Jubilee government would intensify efforts to deal with the challenges in the new year.

“We must, therefore, enter 2016 in a spirit of standing up for Kenya and saying no to negativity, parochialism,” said the President.

He also noted his government’s efforts in rejuvenating the economy. Among the key projects to be undertaken this year is the building of 8,000 kilometres of tarmacked road across the country.

Kenyans will be watching closely in 2016 to see if the Jubilee government will fulfil most of the promises with only a year remaining to the elections.

Education reforms will also be part of the Government agenda, with the President noting that the reforms will focus on modernising the country’s education system in line with more developed economies.

“... we remain focused and determined to deliver digital learning devices to our schools this year,” he said.

The message also contained revelations that the Government has received over Sh1 billion towards tackling climate change.

And various leaders expressed hope for better things and conveyed messages of goodwill to Kenyans as they mark the beginning of yet another year.

Deputy President William Ruto acknowledged that 2015 was a remarkable year with its fair share of challenges, opportunities and growth but said going forward, “there is a lot that inspires hope in the New Year than ever before.”

Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) leader Raila Odinga said the new year offers an opportunity for President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy Ruto to show Kenyans that the Jubilee Government is serious in providing answers to Kenyans on crucial governance issues.

Senate Speaker Ekwee Ethuro implored on Kenyans to embrace the culture of unity and peace, devoid of ethnicity or political intolerance.

“As we welcome the new year, let’s focus on deliverables that will change the lives of our people. I call upon those in positions of service to dedicate their time to the cause. They should embrace servant leadership,” he appealed.

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi lauded the performance of the legislators in the past years, arguing that they remained true to their call of duty in championing the interests of the citizens.

In his New Year message, Anglican Archbishop Eliud Wabukhala called for unity among Kenyans, and asked the Government to tackle unemployment in the country.

“Let us reach out to one another and be our brothers’ keeper with emphasis on programmes to power and solve youth unemployment,” Archbishop Wabukhala said.

  Federation Kenya Employers (FKE) Executive Director Jackline Mugo asked political leaders to focus more on the economy and reduce bickering.

National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale also called on Kenyans to embrace unity in diversity in the new year.

Duale also promised that the Government will be in implementing economic projects across the country for the benefit of Kenyans.

Senate Majority Leader Kithure Kindiki (Tharaka/Nithi) called on all Kenyans to re-dedicate themselves to the vision of building a united and prosperous nation.

“To achieve equitable development in our country, we must protect devolution from centralist forces that would like to dent our counties adequate funds and shield counties from looters who are plundering our resources,” said Prof Kindiki.

Council of Governors Chairman Governor Peter Munya (Meru) thanked Kenyans for supporting devolution, noting that a lot is expected in the new year.

The Secretary General of the Kenya National Union of Teachers wished Kenyan teachers and parents a prosperous new year, and appealed to the education leadership to address the plight of teachers in the country.

Cotu Secretary General Francis Atwoli called on the Government to put more emphasis on the plight of Kenyan workers in the new year.

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Chief Executive Officer Ezra Chiloba said the commission looks at 2016 as core to the 2017 General Election.

“We expect to undertake 70 per cent of the preparatory work this year,” he disclosed.”

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