Mudavadi steps up to the plate in Raila’s absence
Posted Friday, June 1 2012 at 22:30
Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi had the rare privilege of welcoming President Kibaki to address the nation during the 49th Madaraka Day celebrations on Friday.
Mr Mudavadi assumed the role traditionally reserved for Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka during State functions.
But Mr Musyoka’s absence and that of Prime Minister Raila Odinga presented Mr Mudavadi the unusual opportunity.
The VP is in China, while Mr Odinga is in Turkey on official duty.
This is the first time that Mr Musyoka and Mr Odinga have both missed a State function.
With the two conspicuously absent, it was the time for the Deputy Prime Ministers Mudavadi and Uhuru Kenyatta to bask in the limelight, although Mr Kenyatta did not speak.
Before welcoming the President, Mr Mudavadi, who is also the Sabatia MP, paid a glowing tribute to President Kibaki’s leadership.
“He has given us a new Constitution which is now in its implementation stage…he has also improved our economy and has generally, given the country a good foundation,” he said in his short speech.
And when he rose to speak, President Kibaki laid down his legacy in perhaps his third last public holiday as head of state.
The other public holidays are Mashujaa and Jamhuri days.
The Head of State also promised Kenyans a smooth handover of power after the next elections, a clear indication that he will not hang onto power when his term expires later on this year.
President Kibaki said his government will expedite the enactment of the Assumption of the Office of the President Bill, expected to guide the transition process.
The Bill, he added, will be tabled in Parliament “soon”.
“I wish to assure the nation that the government will ensure peaceful, free and fair elections as well as a smooth transition,” he said.
“This Bill, among other provisions, details how a President-elect will take over Office and processes of handing over with clear timelines’” said President Kibaki.
He started his speech by reminding Kenyans of his pledges when he took over power from retired President Daniel Arap Moi nine years ago.
His vision at the time, said President Kibaki, was that of a ‘working and caring nation’.
“I called upon Kenyans to work hard to repair our institutions, revamp our economy, amend the constitution and return the country back to production,” said the President.