President Kibaki has urged MPs to use the remainder of their parliamentary term to improve Kenyans' lives.
Speaking at Parliament buildings during the official opening of the refurbished chamber Tuesday, President Kibaki said the legislators should ensure that the Tenth Parliament goes down in history for its role in uplifting the quality of the lives of Kenyans from all walks of life.
“Let us use the time left to entrench reforms and to put in place structures that future leaders will use to transform Kenya into a haven of prosperity as envisioned under our VISION 2030,” President Kibaki said.
He observed that as leaders, MPs have tremendous capacity to transform the lives of the
electorate and called on Kenyans to carefully vet those they will elect to serve in Parliament during the next General Election.
“The power to determine the destiny of our nation is in our vote. Let us use that power wisely.”
President Kibaki, once again, assured all Kenyans that the government is putting in place measures to ensure a free, fair and peaceful election.
He reassured that the government will support the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) in acquiring the biometric voter registration equipment that will contribute to the credibility of the electoral process.
President Kibaki said government will also fast-track the issuance of national identification cards to Kenyan youth to enable them to vote.
Smooth handover of power
He promised to oversee a smooth transition.
“I also re-commit myself to guaranteeing that Kenya has a smooth transition to the leadership that they will vote into office next March,” President Kibaki said.
On devolution, President Kibaki restated the government’s commitment to providing resources for devolved government as stipulated in the Constitution, saying devolution is here to stay.
“Devolution is critical and must be fully supported by this Parliament that should put in place the necessary structures that will guarantee a smooth transition to the next form of government,” President Kibaki said.
He said the newly refurbished chamber will greatly aid the legislative and representative roles of MPs, the President commended Kenyan taxpayers for paying their taxes and all those involved in the refurbishment project.
The President said the government will work closely with Parliament to facilitate implementation of the next phase of the modernisation programme, including the preparation of facilities necessary for the Senate as well as increased staff numbers.
“We are committed to providing resources for the two-chamber legislature to function effectively. The Ministry of Finance will allocate the necessary funds for this endeavour,” President Kibaki said.
The President insisted that Members of Parliament must actively promote peace, unity and national cohesion in all corners of the country.
“To ensure peaceful elections, I encourage Members of Parliament and other leaders and citizens to actively participate in the forthcoming county peace conference on 13th and 14th August and the national peace conference on 30th and 31st August,” President Kibaki said.
President Kibaki said he was hopeful that the MPs will give due attention to a number of Bills related to the Constitution that will be presented in the coming days so as to stick to the timelines provided for under the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution.
During the occasion, President Kibaki handed over a copy of the original Constitution that he signed on the August 27, 2010 and the pen with which he appended his signature on the Constitution for safe custody in the august House.
National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende said seats in the refurbished chamber were made by the prisons department and called on Kenyans to give preference to locally made goods and materials as their contribution to building and branding Kenya.
Mr Marende said the old chamber will undergo similar refurbishments to accommodate the Senate.
Others who spoke during the occasion were Cabinet ministers Njeru Githae, James Orengo, Chris Obure and legislator Nicholas Gumbo.
In attendance were Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Chief Justice Willy Mutunga, acting Head of Public Service Francis Kimemia, ambassadors and High Commissioners, among other senior government officials and invited guests.