I was born at the dawn of this country's independence – that is how I got my name. I have grown with Kenya – its joys have been my joys; its pains have been my pains.
Our journey has been defined by a fundamental choice: whether to unite in all our diversity to achieve greatness, or whether to walk the path of disunity, which, inevitably, has led to tragic consequences.
Over 75 years ago, our forefathers came together without regard for their religious and ethnic differences, and with a single aim: freedom from the yoke of colonialism.
Their unity gained us our political freedom and independence. Unfortunately, we did not consolidate our liberty with the very unity that had won it; we Kenyans fell into division. Rather than become stronger in our diverse cultures and beliefs, we became weaker from using them to divide our people.
We were not alone. Across the continent, and in many other parts of the world, ethnicity and religion were mobilised to serve the interests of the few. In Rwanda, a million were brutally murdered for being Tutsi, many by their neighbours. Too often in Africa, ethnic difference became political difference. Almost everywhere this happened, death and deepening poverty were the result. For decades, South Sudan, the youngest country in the world, fought for independence. They succeeded, only to turn on each other. Thousands of innocent men and women have paid the heaviest possible price.
Here in Kenya, we have sometimes made this tragic choice. It led to reversals in progress, and, in 2008, it brought us to our darkest moment in 2008.
We recall that it was when we were united as a people that we managed to grow and diversify our economy, to work on a dream to stand tall among the nations. Our achievements in that early period of our nationhood came from unity, but this did not mean conformity. We argued with one another, reflecting different ideals – different visions of a common future. These differences were honest differences of ideology; ethnicity was then a far less potent tool for organising political mobilisation than it later became.
A decade after independence, many of our economic indicators were ahead of many of the countries that came to be called the Asian Tigers for their rapid progress to great wealth. Countries like Malaysia, Korea and the United Arab Emirates did benchmarking trips here, to learn how we were growing new sectors of our economy. Today, it is Kenyans who get on planes to go abroad to learn from those who succeeded by learning from us.
Division and disunity bred a politics that was undemocratic and unresponsive to the needs of the people, until, in the late 1980s, Kenyans started to agitate for change, seeking to unite around a common goal of pursuing multi-party democracy. Unfortunately, no sooner had we seen the great promise of unity than we took the wrong turn in the road, again. From that came the politics of division and even ethnic violence through the 1990s.
The politics of this new century started with the call of unity in 2002. However, no sooner had that diverse and united government taken office than the cracks again appeared. Much was achieved in development and economic growth but disunity along ethnic lines almost destroyed the country. Our first referendum in 2005 was a major political milestone. Unfortunately, it also became a platform for a new era of ethnic politics. In that divided way, we walked into the tragic breakdown following the 2007 elections.
Fellow Kenyans, we cannot allow ourselves to keep making this fatal choice.
William and I chose to unite as friends, and as Kenyans. We urged conflicting communities to come together in search of reconciliation, knowing that this would be the path of unity that this country deserves and needs. We decided to offer leadership to serve the Wanjikus across Kenya who have always sought freedom and progress, in spite of their sometimes disappointing leaders.
Ladies and gentlemen, In my reflections on the importance of this day, I drew strength from Psalm 133: How good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
This yearning for unity is what inspired a new constitution that articulates our expectations, rights and obligations. We have laboured mightily to make it a success. Our national story --- the story of Kenya --- is a story of triumph over tribulation; of patient striving rewarded with freedom, self-government and a measure of prosperity.
But that, dear Kenyans, is not enough. There are still children in Kenya who struggle to find a school. There are parents in who still have difficulty finding skilled medical care for their children. There are young Kenyans who want to work, but who cannot find the jobs they need to support their families. And, yes, if we look deep into our hearts, we will remember that we have been divided, and that this has frustrated our search for the growth and stability that would allow us to build truly shared prosperity.
We want to succeed as individuals, communities, and as a nation. But we know that the only unity gives a firm foundation for that success. Over the years, I have travelled across this great republic. I can tell you that in every corner of Kenya, there is a deep yearning for that unity and that it is not an idle desire.
Kenyans love their neighbours, just as they remember all those who suffered in the past because of our divisions. The pain of the past means that all of us must work for reconciliation. That responsibility falls on every Kenyan, but it falls especially heavily on those of us who are called to lead. It is we who must lead the effort of healing and reconciling this country. That, fellow Kenyans, is why we are here today.
Not every leader can read the signs of the times. Many still hope to find opportunity in division. Time and again, they have divided Kenyans against each other. Time and again, they have chosen violent, destructive and undemocratic politics. And each and every time, ordinary Kenyans have paid a high price for the irresponsibility of their leaders. That is why I say now, to those who still sell the politics of division and negativity: you had your chance. You wasted it, again and again -- always opting to divide Kenyans, rather than unite them. Your time is done.
Our generation has learnt from your mistakes. We refuse to make them all over again. We cannot go back. We will not go back. Let this generation --- let our generation – fulfil its responsibility and destiny to lead us on a path of unity to reach the heights that you once dreamt of.
In biblical times, the Jubilee was a celebration of freedom, reconciliation and renewal.
At a time of division, we took the name Jubilee, to reach for reconciliation. We hoped that it would light our path to a Kenya in which we are truly one.
We knew the costs of division and disharmony. And that is why we thank God, who continually redeems our struggles with his grace and mercy. What we have done, and what we must keep doing, is to embrace his will for us.
We are here as the Jubilee family to proclaim the meaning of our party.
The party we launch here today is an expression of our unity, our oneness, and our togetherness. In launching it, we renew, and we strengthen, the ties that bind Kenyans together. We rise from the ashes of conflict to express the beauty of reconciliation and collective purpose. The men and women who came before us, and to whom we owe our freedom, understood this -- Mekatilili, Syokima and Koitalel arap Samoei; Jomo Kenyatta, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga and Masinde Muliro; Said Wabera, Makhan Singh and Tom Mboya, just to name a few. They taught us that without unity, we cannot be free. That is a lesson we have keenly learned. It is a lesson we will never forget. And it is why we gather here today.
Ladies and gentlemen, that is why this party welcomes every Kenyan, whatever part of the republic they call home. And, yes, our accord as a party will grow to embrace the whole country, and, standing as one, we shall build our nation.
That is not the only lesson we have learned from our past. We know that the unity of the past — the unity of our fathers and mothers — was lost because we succumbed to personality cults, and because we did not protect internal democracy in our parties.
Jubilee will not make the mistakes of the parties that came before us. Every shade of opinion will have its say in this party. Every member will get a fair hearing. We embrace internal party democracy, and we urge all other political parties to do the same. The aim is for Kenyans to have genuine political choices where any one of us can feel at home without regard to the spelling of their names, the colour of their skin, their place of worship, their gender, or whether or not they’re disabled. This party is your home.
And frankly, this party is not about William Ruto or Uhuru Kenyatta; it is about a generational statement of change. It is the living proof that we have learnt from the mistakes of our predecessors. It is the embodiment of the will of the Kenyan people, who are deeply tired of political parties that are nothing more than special purpose vehicles to elect selfish leaders, or enclaves designed to protect tribal interests at the expense of the national good.
This party – your party – is about taking the path less trodden. It is about being custodians of our country’s long term development agenda. It is about the recognition that we can no longer plan the future of our nation based on the short sightedness of electoral cycles, but rather on strongly held moral convictions, beliefs and projects that will stand the test of time, and outlive any individual leader or party. Jubilee is about the appreciation that we must celebrate the diversity of our 42 million Kenyans by working together as different communities to build on those things that we share in common, as opposed to fighting about the issues that make each of us unique.
Jubilee is the party of African unity. We embrace our rich pan-African heritage, our glorious and painful history as Africans. We remember the days when the Voice of Kenya was transmitted from Cairo, supporting our freedom fighters in their struggle. We are uplifted by the memory of Mwalimu Nyerere who was reluctant for Tanzania’s independence to come before Kenya won freedom. We look up to the giants such as Kwame Nkrumah and Patrice Lumumba, who stood tall and for a time carried a continent’s hopes on their broad shoulders. And Abdelaziz Bouteflika, a giant of Africa’s liberation, whom it has been my pleasure to come to know better in the last few years.
We follow in their footsteps. We believe the African can achieve anything to which he sets his mind. We pursue our vision for Africa with deeds: by driving the integration of our region and the entire continent; by building railways and roads to connect our people to the rich opportunities in Africa; by opening our borders so that our brothers and sisters can work and travel freely on this continent.
32 Ladies and Gentlemen, that is why I have worked hard to position Kenya at the heart of conflict resolution and stabilisation in the region. To turn our fragile and conflict-prone neighbourhood into a peaceful and prosperous home, Kenya must lead. In pursuit of this aim, we have paid a heavy price to end conflicts. This price is worth it, for peace in our region and Africa is key to our own peace, and certainly for our long-term prosperity.
Jubilee believes in the power of the individual Kenyan. We know that with diligence, determination, and a dream, you can change your life and that of those around you. Our job is to govern in a way that embraces the individual's hopes and empowers them to turn those dreams into reality.
Jubilee celebrates the entrepreneur's quest to build value and create wealth for our nation, our people, and for the individual. We are building a government that is an aid, not an impediment, to the innovator and the investor: one that makes it easier and cheaper to do business. This party runs an administration that seeks affordable loans, so that you can grow your business or own a decent home.
Jubilee cherishes the power of community. We are better together. United, we are greater than the sum of our parts. Each of us has had to struggle. Each of us has stumbled. Each of us has sometimes needed the helping hand of family and friends. And precisely because we know that no one succeeds alone, Jubilee is the party of empathy and solidarity.
But, of course, the true test of empathy and solidarity is our treatment of the most vulnerable amongst us. Jubilee will always offer a helping hand to those who need it most.
Ladies and gentlemen,
In this quest for unity and prosperity, I am blessed to have a compatriot who shares my vision and is my fellow traveler. I refer, of course, to my friend, William Ruto, who is with us today. Yesterday, you all heard him as he outlined the development highlights that have been achieved by the Government of Kenya under the Jubilee administration in the last three and half years.
It is a story of an administration that has a sense of urgency, one that is determined to make the most of the time allocated.
We have shown that it is possible to balance the sensitivities of midwifing a complex transition to a devolved government, while steadily strengthening our nation’s security, overseeing the construction of roads, the refurbishment of health facilities, and raising our international prestige and influence. We know that we can develop the country, and achieve every right in Chapter 4 of our Constitution.
Yet, we are a nation in a hurry to achieve our destiny, so we should not bask in the achievements of the last couple of years without looking ahead at the immense work that remains. Our efforts since 2013 have shown Kenyans a glimpse of the prosperity that can be attained by an aggressive development agenda. Our countrymen and women now expect even more from us: more roads, more jobs, more food, better schools, better hospitals, and better lives.
We are clear as a party why we want to continue leading this nation into the future because we have a solid track record and a clear roadmap of what Kenyans should expect from a Jubilee administration going forward.
In the next five years, the name of Kenya will be known across our continent as the champion of Africa’s interests. We will continue to play our role within the African Union to build a stronger continent whose peoples can travel and trade freely, and whose economies are stronger and more resilient because we have chosen to do business together first as Africans.
We will always push to do away with the artificial economic barriers that have divided us for so long, so that our people can seek opportunities anywhere in the continent, and so our Kenyan business can grow and thrive to become African multinationals.
Ladies and gentlemen
Here at home, the single biggest political development since independence has been devolution. Kenya has been recognized the world over for the record time in which the transition to a devolved system of government has happened. We in Jubilee are proud to have midwifed this development. No other political administration in the world has managed this sort of transition in three years. Devolution today is a success because of the of the Jubilee administration. It has started delivering to Kenyans. We will strengthen the intra--governmental framework to ensure that in the areas most critical to their lives, Kenyans see improved coherence between the two main levels of government. We will continue the Jubilee policy of progressively increasing shareable revenues with county Governments, over and above the constitutional threshold
By the end of 2018 our “leave no child behind” policy will have delivered more classes, more teachers and increased funding for student capitation. No primary school student --- none whatsoever --- will miss a place in a public secondary school on account of not being able to afford the school fees. In five years every child in Kenya will have the opportunity to go to a public school and receive a quality education.
We will continue the unprecedented investment in our security services, because our security is the guarantee of our prosperity. We commit to the brave men and women in uniform that we will continue to provide them with better equipment, improved mobility, and improving their terms of service. Most importantly, we will ensure that every member of our disciplined services has a decent roof over their heads as part of our housing programme which kicks off in October this year. It is our obligation to look after the men and women who risk their lives to look after us. In return, we expect that they will know utumishi kwa wote is a standard that we insist they meet.
You have seen the work being done to bring electricity into every homestead. In another two more years every household in Kenya will have access to affordable electricity. This initiative is dear to me, because it is a game-changer for our young people; and the catalyst that will bring development to every corner of our country.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Our transformation of the health care system across the country is irreversible. Our hospitals will be centres of excellence for the African continent. We will continue training more doctors, more nurses, and more medical technicians. We will continue to provide the latest medical equipment and services. Through our collaboration with our international friends the Jubilee Administration will ensure that in the next five years, the stories of Kenyans bankrupting their families to send loved ones for treatment abroad will come to an end. Instead we shall be the destination for medical tourists.
In the next 5 years, we will continue with our aggressive investment in infrastructure. We will extend the reach of the road network to link every town and marketplace. We will complete our aviation strategy to open new airports in more counties. We will complete some of the long promised infrastructure like the Likoni Bridge and Dongo Kundu bypass which will transform the south coast of Kenya. We will collaborate with the Government of Ethiopia to build the bridges over the river Daua and open up immense trading opportunities for our brothers and sisters in northern Kenya. We will follow through with our commitment to restore the role of the rail network as the backbone of commercial transport, through completion of the next phase of the SGR project , which l intend to launch in mid-October, and restoring and repairing the existing meter gauge network.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As a matter of priority, we will invest our political goodwill, time and resources to strengthen the institution of the Judiciary. Kenyans demand a judiciary able to deal decisively with corruption, and one that is efficient in its procedures, and predictable in its application of the law. We will do everything within our ability to help them achieve this objective: we will live up to the promise that justice truly is our shield and defender.
To the young men and women here, and those watching this event from around the country, and in the diaspora, Jubilee is your party. Every policy we have implemented is about you. Everything we do is to lay a foundation for your prosperity.. We are quickly revitalising our manufacturing sector to become a nation of producers. An economy that creates decent jobs for all of you is the legacy we seek. Jubilee is your party. You are the generation of the moment and we are nothing without you.
Ladies and gentlemen: We know who we are. We are certain of our mission. We are united and strong. Together we can do, and will do all we commit ourselves to do.
Today, my fellow Kenyans, we commit to work hard. To trust each other. To unite. To love our country. To uphold, protect and defend our constitution. To enrich devolution. To stand with and for the family. To protect our environment. To grow our economy. To make life better for ourselves and for our children, and to serve God.
We are here today as the Jubilee Party to tell you why you should wake up on August 8th 2017 to cast your votes for us -- to give our party time to deliver on our vision of equality, justice, and prosperity for all.
Dear Party Members
Let us therefore leave this place energised and inspired. Go out to your Counties, towns, villages and markets, to take the mission of spreading the values and vision of Jubilee, reach out and rally for the unity in which we all believe in. Let us welcome everybody we can to join our movement, for Jubilee has room for every Kenyan.
Thank you. God bless you. God bless Kenya.
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