SPEECH BY H.E. UHURU KENYATTA, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA AND COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF THE ARMED FORCES OF KENYA, DURING THE LAUNCH OF THE LENTEN CAMPAIGN AT THE UNIVERSITY OF NAIROBI GROUNDS ON FEBRUARY 25, 2017

On December 11, 2018 In Statements and Speeches

Reverend Philip Anyolo, Distinguished Bishops, University Students Ladies and Gentlemen, It is a great honour for me to be with you and to participate in the launch of this timely campaign. I thank the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops for encouraging us to pray and fast this Lent for a secure and peaceful Kenya and, for us to seek leaders of integrity during this coming August National Elections. The elections this year should not be an occasion for division or for fear. Rather, it is a time for us to reflect on the challenges and opportunities of this Blessed Land, and for us to strive for integrity in our leaders, and in ourselves as citizens. Ladies and Gentlemen, Kenyans are known to be a God-fearing people. Yes, we belong to different religions and denominations, but we are bound by our common belief that we all sin, we suffer, and that we can repent and be reborn. Our history as a Nation is filled with these instances. We have sinned before God and committed wrongs against each other. We have argued dishonestly in pursuit of selfish ends; we have hurt one another on the basis of nothing more than the languages we grew up speaking, and we have allowed ourselves to be divided by leaders who lack integrity. It is unfortunate but true, that violent disruption has characterized too many of our elections, with 2008 standing out as a particularly tragic instance. Yet our low moments have been overcome by immense and uplifting campaigns of unity, common purpose, courageous citizenship and national redemption. We won our independence from tyranny, we have built our country together, we have recovered from our missteps, and now a blessed and abundant future beckons going forward. Ladies and Gentlemen, Throughout this Lenten campaign, we will again have an opportunity to reflect in what direction we should travel as citizens, as a community of faith, and as a Nation. In the first instance we must work together for a secure and peaceful Kenya. It is security that allows us to go about our lives, to improve our lives and those of our children, and to ward off the dangers that too many of our neighbours have been unable to avoid, thus causing them immense suffering. I urge all of you to embrace peace in your utterances, in your homes and workplaces, and to correct those around you who seek conflict and confrontation. As your President and fellow citizen, I promise to do my part. I will act firmly and judiciously in the cause of peace and security for all Kenyans. As a citizen, I will practice what I preach, holding myself to a high standard of integrity. I pray that God take my hand, and all our millions of hands, to guide us toward a higher destiny in the coming weeks, months and years. I am glad that part of your focus during this campaign is our young people and what we can do to support them achieve their dreams and build their character. I pray that they take their place as protectors of our Nation. They are the majority, and the future belongs to them. Ladies and Gentlemen, We have a young population, while much of the world ages. Our youth are better informed and better educated than those of my age and older, ever were. I am committed to doing all that is possible to benefit them. During this Lenten campaign, let us ask ourselves what we can do as observant people of God, and as responsible citizens, to increase the opportunities available to our youth. That said, we all know that if Kenya is to effectively leap from the boundless potential of our country, if we are to continue expanding our national cake for the benefit of all Kenyans, if we are to create jobs for our youth to empower and improve their lives, then we need peace. We need stability. We need an environment that is predictable and not subject to the whims and winds of politics. To the organizers of this Conference, l applaud your focus on urging Kenyans to elect leaders with integrity. I read somewhere that integrity is practicing what we preach. To go beyond proclaiming principles to accepting and living by them. As it is written in Matthew, “by their fruits, ye shall know them.” Leaders whose fruits are sweet to Kenya will not be the ones who use sly code words to divide, to escalate confrontation, and to promote negative ethnicity. I strongly believe that we are the generation that can end these cycles that turn every election into a national security event. Let this Lenten campaign be part of a change in our political orientation; a change that is born not of a moment, but of a movement. I believe that such change is already taking place. I believe that even as our airwaves are filled with the divisive speech of some leaders, what our American friends call “the silent majority” have embraced peace and security. Kenyans know that the true enemy is not those of another ethnicity. Instead, it is bad politics and unethical leadership. Ladies and Gentlemen, My observation as l tour across this country is that majority of our people are tired of politics that is filled with manipulative blame games and empty promises. Instead, they have embraced the politics of transforming our big challenges into big opportunities through positive government and individual action. My fellow Kenyans, I have a profound faith in our country and you our people. As President, I am proud of the steps that we have taken, and are taking, to enable the IEBC deliver free and fair elections. We have responded positively to all reasonable suggestions about the changes required and will continue to do so. As President, my responsibility is to all Kenyans. Even those running against me in August. The Kenyan people gave me the greatest privilege of my life in electing me to this office. I believe they will see that we have worked hard and with the ambition to lay a strong foundation on the basis of which we can secure sustained prosperity for all Kenyans. We have also sought to impact the daily lives of our people. I did not lead this effort just for the sake of politics but because it reflects my deepest held beliefs about our shining destiny as a people. In concluding my remarks, l urge each and every one of us to promote peace. Let us aim to demonstrate to the whole world, on August 8th 2017, that we have come of age; that we are a peaceful people and a stable Nation, despite being a Nation of many tribes and different religious faiths. We know for a fact we pray to one God only. Guided by this fact that we pray to one God and to ensure we remain peaceful as we walk this important national journey, l call upon all Kenyans, for one week in the month of March, beginning Monday 6th March, to pray for peace for our beloved Kenya. For Muslims, l urge you at the end of this week on Friday 10th March, to congregate in the mosques and for the Christian faith, to congregate in churches on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th March, and all faiths on the dates they congregate, to pray for our beloved Nation. The future of our Nation is in our hands. We must ensure the culture of mature and principled leadership prevails in order secure peaceful elections. SO HELP US GOD. Thank you.

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