African Press International (API)

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Kibaki decides – The Kenyans welcome him into the race for the second term

Posted by African Press International on September 17, 2007

Published on September 17, 2007, 12:00 am

By Martin Mutua

President Kibaki will attempt to recapture the presidency through the Party of National Unity (PNU) that he unveiled at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC), Nairobi, amid pomp and colour, ending many months of anxiety.

The President also left no doubt that he would use the achievements of his Government to push for his re-election.

By picking PNU as his party of choice, Kibaki leaped the last hurdle in his re-election bid as required by law.

pnu.jpg

A section of the crowd waves a banner in support of President Kibaki outside the Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Nairobi. Kibaki had just announced his party of choice.

Picture by Jacob Otieno

For the Head of State, it was a significant step coming as it did having earlier set all systems for his campaigns in motion but was still without a political party after Health minister Mrs Charity Ngilu refused to hand over the National Rainbow Coalition (Narc), a constellation of political parties that emphatically ushered him to power in 2002. Parading Kanu chairman Mr Uhuru Kenyatta, Ford-Kenya chairman Mr Musikari Kombo, Ford-People leader Mr Simeon Nyachae, Shirikisho Party of Kenya chairman Mr Chirau Ali Mwakwere and Narc-Kenya chairman Mr Raphael Tuju, the much sought-after face of President Kibakis re-election outfit was finally unveiled.Also given a chance to speak along with the top party leaders was Agriculture minister, Mr Kipruto arap Kirwa, who has been using the huge Rift Valley voting bloc to strategically position himself as Kibakis VP in waiting, if re-elected. His recognition appeared to have been a deliberate move to send a subtle message to expansive region that it featured in the Presidents future plans.

Best hope for Kenya

But Kibaki, who appeared to have finally shut out Narc and Ngilu from his return-to-State House game plan, tactfully avoided mentioning the Democratic Party, Sisi Kwa Sisi, Safina, Agano and Mazingira Party of Kenya all associated with Central Kenya politicians as among the coterie of PNU parties that will spearhead his comeback bid.

Even though some of the leaders, including Nobel Laureate Prof Wangari Maathai, were present at the function, they neither sat anywhere near Kibaki nor were they given a chance to speak.

In his live telecast speech, Kibaki announced that he would launch his presidential campaigns on September 29. However, the President along with his rivals for the top seat, are already on the campaign trail. Kibaki will make a return to Western Kenya today only weeks after he recently pitched camp there to ask for votes.

With that, the President gave the most telling hint yet that the Ninth Parliament was on its last stretch.

The President has 90 days within which to call the General Election from the time Parliament is dissolved. A campaign period of 21 days is, however, a must.

Kibaki said he had decided, together with other leaders, to form the alliance of political parties along with those who believe they should give the highest priority to the welfare of individual Kenyans.

The President noted that the alliance of parties represented the desire of Kenyans for a just society, where it did not matter where one was born or where they lived.

He added: “This is an alliance that gives hope for the future. That says it does not matter whether you were born rich or poor, you can go to school and get an opportunity to change your life.”

The alliance, he further noted, stood for accountability and good governance of public resources. It also recognises that major economic and social strides have been made even though it believes there was still a lot of work to be done, the President added.

Saying that the new entity was committed to continuously reducing the levels of poverty and ensuring every Kenyan had access to food, shelter, health and education, Kibaki noted: “In order to safeguard the gains we have achieved to date and to attain the objectives and ideals we have spelt out, .”

Enumerating the achievements his Government had made over the last five years, Kibaki urged Kenyans to support him for the final term.

Said he: “Millions of children who would otherwise be out of school have a hope in life due to the free primary education.”

The President further noted that women who used to walk many miles in search of water now had access to clean tap water, adding that the work was still going on.

He further noted that farmers who had given up on farming now had access to markets and enjoyed good prices for their produce while rural communities that had never been supplied with electricity since independence now had lights.

“Hospital cabinets which were empty are now stocked with medicines and an additional 1,000 health centres have been built to bring healthcare closer to Kenyans,” he added.

Kibaki pointed out that his Government had also empowered local communities in every part of the country through the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).

“Thousands of Kenyans who have lived as squatters since independence have now been empowered through issuance of title deeds. Na kazi inaendelea (The work is ongoing),” he added.

Noting that more than 4,000km of roads have been constructed and that rehabilitation of the transport network meant better movement of all Kenyans, Kibaki observed: “We have been able to achieve all these because of the support of all Kenyans and focused leadership that placed the needs of wananchi first. Leadership is about delivery of development, the improvement of the lives of all Kenyans.”

The President further pointed out that leadership was not about vindictiveness and empty politics or empty propaganda and tribal politics.

He told the gathering at KICC that some politicians, whom he did not name, saddened him as they were polarising the country.

He added: “As a patriot and as your leader, I will continue to dedicate myself to the ideal of national unity. The foundation of my leadership is guided by the words of our national anthem: Justice be our shield and defender, may we dwell in unity, peace and liberty.”

Lifted and published by Korir, API*APN africanpress@chello.no tel +4793299739 or +4763002525 source.standard.ke

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