JAMHURI DAY CELEBRATION PICTURES -WASHINGTON, D.C.

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JAMHURI DAY CELEBRATION PICTURES -WASHINGTON, D.C.
By Dr. Githua Kariuki

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The Kenyan Ambassador to the United States, H. E. Peter N.R.O. Ogego and his wife, Rose, hosted a very colorful Jamhuri Day Reception in Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington, D.C., on Dec. 11, 2009. The Reception was of its own kind and was extremely well attended by people from all walks of life. The members of the Kenyan Community in Baltimore and its environs, were equally represented in the Reception. Attached are some of the pictures that were taken during the Reception. The Ambassador is to be given credit for the way he tried to create a good image of Kenya in front of a very large and attentive audience that comprised both Kenyans and non-Kenyans. This was very important because, as we all know, Kenya went through a very severe political turbulence after 2007 elections in which the aftermath did not augur well in the minds of the international community. And as usual, the Ambassador was very candid and frank in his speech. Below is a copy of the Ambassador’s Jamhuri Day Speech in its entirety.



REMARKS BY H.E. PETER N.R.O. OGEGO, AMBASSADOR OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA TO UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, DURING JAMHURI DAY CELEBRATION HELD ON 11TH DECEMBER 2009, FROM 6.00 – 9.00 P.M., WASHINGTON, D.C.


DISTINGUISHED GUESTS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,
THE KENYA EMBASSY STAFF, ROSE AND I FEEL GREATLY HONOURED BY YOUR PRESENCE HERE TONIGHT TO CELEBRATE WITH US THE FORTY SIXTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE INDEPENDENCE OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA.
WE FEEL EXTREMELY HONOURED AND TRULY GRATEFUL TO THE COLD SPRING ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEAM FROM POTOMAC, MARYLAND FOR THEIR FRIENDSHIP, AND SUPPORT, AND FOR THE SPLENDID PERFORMANCE OF STAR SPANGLED 2
BANNER DURING THIS AUSPICIOUS OCCASION IN OUR NATIONAL CALENDER.
IN ACCEPTING TO HONOUR OUR NATIONAL DAY CELEBRATION BY LEADING US IN SINGING THE US NATIONAL ANTHEM, YOU HAVE DEMONSTRATED IN A PROFOUND WAY, THAT INTERNATIONAL UNDERSTANDING, COOPERATION AND ACCEPTANCE OF EACH OTHER IS ALL THE MORE POSSIBLE THROUGH PEOPLE TO PEOPLE CONTACTS ACROSS THE BOARD AND THROUGH, PUBLIC DIPLOMACY AND OUTREACH.
I ALSO WANT TO THANK MR. TIM GREGORY OF KENYA CONNECT, A NON – PROFIT ORGANIZATION HERE IN WASHINGTON, D.C. FOR COORDINATING YOUR PARTICIPATION AND PERFORMANCE WITH YOUR SCHOOL OFFICIALS. TIM, WE APPRECIATE YOUR PARTNERSHIP WITH THE EMBASSY AND WE LOOK FORWARD TO A CONTINUED WORKING RELATIONSHIP WITH YOU. 3
LET ME ALSO THANK DR. G.G GITAHI, SENIOR LECTURER AT KENNASAW STATE UNIVERSITY, GEORGIA FOR YOUR VERY THOUGHTFUL OPENING PRAYERS. FOR YOUR LEADERSHIP, SUPPORT, AND PATRIOTISM AND I ALSO WANT TO SPECIALLY THANK THE KENYA AMERICAN COMMUNITY CHURCH CHOIR WHO TRAVELED ALL THE WAY FROM ATLANTA, GEORGIA TO CELEBRATE WITH US AND ALSO ENTERTAIN OUR GUESTS.
I RECOGNISE AND APPRECIATE THE PRESENCE OF U.S. LEADERS AMONGST US: SENIOR OFFICIALS FROM THE STATE DEPARTMENT, OFFICIALS FROM PENTAGON, U.S. TREASURY, USTR, USTDA, U.S JUDICIARY, THE CONGRESSIONAL STAFFERS, OFFICIALS FROM THE WORLD BANK AND IMF, THE DEAN OF DIPLOMATIC CORPS, MY FELLOW AMBASSADORS, OTHER SENIOR MEMBERS OF THE VARIOUS U.S. GOVERNMENT AGENCIES, MEMBERS OF THE CORPORATE SECTOR, CIVIL SOCIETY REPRESENTATIVES AND KENYAN COMMUNITY AND CHURCH LEADERS. 4
I AM ALSO PARTICULARLY GRATIFIED AND VERY DELIGHTED TO SEE SO MANY FRIENDS OF KENYA, AMERICANS OF GOOD-WILL, AND FELLOW PROFESSIONAL KENYANS IN ATTENDANCE.
I ALSO WISH TO THANK THE COCA-COLA GROUP FOR THEIR SUPPORT AND PART SPONSORSHIP OF TODAY’S EVENT, AND THE CORPORATE COUNCIL ON AFRICA, NOT ONLY FOR BEING AN HONEST AND RELIABLE PARTNER WITH US, BUT ALSO FOR PUTTING “DOING BUSINESS” IN AFRICA INTO A SHARPER FOCUS AROUND WASHINGTON, D.C. AND IN THE USA AS A WHOLE.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE CELEBRATION OF JAMHURI DAY IS A TIME FOR US KENYANS TO NOT ONLY APPRAISE, AUDIT, AND REFLECT ON WHAT OUR YOUNG NATION HAS BEEN ABLE TO ACHIEVE SINCE WE ATTAINED INDEPENDENCE IN 1963, BUT IT ALSO OFFERS US AN OPPORTUNITY ANNUALLY TO RE – AFFIRM OUR FAITH IN OUR BELOVED 5
COUNTRY, REKINDLE OUR SENSE OF NATIONALISM, AS KENYANS AS WELL AS TO RENEW TO THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY OUR COMMITMENT AND OBLIGATIONS.
HERE IN WASHINGTON, D.C. IT IS ALSO A TIME FOR US TO CELEBRATE OUR WARM BILATERAL RELATIONSHIP WITH THE U.S. GOVERNMENT AND HER PEOPLES WHICH IS BASED ON SHARED VALUES AND COMMON INTEREST, AND TO STRENGTHEN THE BONDS OF FRIENDSHIP WHICH WE HAVE BUILT OVER A LONG PERIOD OF TIME, DATING EVEN BEFORE OUR INDEPENDECE BETWEEN KENYANS AND AMERICANS BEYOND THE OFFICIAL ENGAGEMENTS AND BUSINESS.
IT IS NOTEWORTY THAT THERE ARE MANY KENYA NATIONALS HERE IN THE U.S. EVER SINCE THE 1958 – 60 “STUDENT AIRLIFT” ORGANISED BY PRESIDENT KENNEDY AND T. J. MBOYA AND THE U.S. EMBASSY IN NAIROBI IS TODAY THE LARGEST U.S. FOREIGN MISSION IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA, REPRESENTING 6
OVER 18 FEDERAL AGENCIES, WITH OVER 1300 U.S. EMPLOYEES.
THESE KINDS OF RELATIONSHIPS AND PARTNERSHIPS AMONGST OUR TWO PEOPLES EASILY BECOME FALL-BACK POSITIONS AND MODERATING FACTORS FOR BOTH OF US AS OLD FRIENDS AND ALLIES ESPECIALLY WHEN WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH TOUGH AND DELICATE ISSUES ACROSS THE TABLE, LIKE WE CURRENTLY DO-OVER THE PACE OF REFORMS, PERSISTENT PERCEPTIONS OF CORRUPTION AND POLITICAL IMPUNITY.
EVEN DURING THE MOST TRYING MOMENT IN OUR HISTORY TWO YEARS AGO, THIS FRIENDSHIP AND ALLIANCE STOOD THE TEST OF TIME FOLLOWING THE DISPUTED GENERAL ELECTION RESULTS. THE U.S. STOOD WITH US AT THE HOUR OF NEED AND TOGETHER WITH THE A.U. AND U.N. BACKED TEAM LED BY KOFFI ANNAN, STILL STAY ENGAGED WITH US PROVIDING LEADERSHIP IN EFFORTS TO HELP US FIND LONG-TERM LASTING AND SUSTAINABLE 7
SOLUTIONS TO OUR CURRENT AND HISTORICAL CHALLENGES. IT WOULD THEREFORE BE REMISS IF I DID NOT SPECIFICALLY THANK THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES, FRIENDS OF KENYA, AND THE UNITED STATES CITIZENS OF GOOD-WILL FOR THE OVERWHELMING SUPPORT, PRAYERS, AND SYMPATHIES DURING THE DARKEST MOMENT OF OUR HISTORY SINCE INDEPENDENCE.
I ALSO PARTICULARLY WANT TO REGISTER OUR GRATITUDE FOR THE LEADERSHIP ROLE PLAYED BY THE STATE DEPARTMENT IN THEIR TIRELESS, OFTEN ARDUOUS EFFORTS TO CONTINUOUSLY ENGAGE WITH US. LAST SUMMER ALONE, WE HAVE HAD OVER FIVE HIGH-LEVEL ENGAGEMENTS AND DIALOGUE HERE IN D.C., AND A SUCCESSFUL BILATERAL MEETING IN NAIROBI BETWEEN PRESIDENT KIBAKI AND PRIME MINISTER AND THE U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE ON THE MARGINS OF AGOA. 8
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, LAST YEAR ON THIS OCCASION I INFORMED THE INVITED GUESTS AND OUR HOSTS THAT KENYA HAD EMERGED OUT OF THE 2007/2008 POST ELECTION CRISIS, A SERIOUSLY WOUNDED NATION BUT A DETERMINED AND RESILIENT NATION ON AN IRREVERABLE PATH TO SELF CORRECTION, NATIONAL HEALING AND RECONCILIATION. WE PULLED THROUGH FROM THAT CRISIS WITH A CLEAR RESOLVE TO SQUARELY FACE OUR NATIONAL CHALLENGES AND COMPREHENSIVELY ADDRESS THE NECESSARY ELECTORAL, JUDICIAL, CONSTITUTIONAL, POLITICAL AND SOCIAL REFORMS.
SINCE IT WAS FORMED, THE GRAND COALITION GOVERNMENT HAS MADE A GREAT DEAL OF PROGRESS AND PASSED CRITICAL LAWS NECESSARY TO MOVE THE COUNTRY FORWARD. FOR INSTANCE:
A) THE DISCREDITED ELECTORAL COMMISSION OF KENYA THAT BUNGLED THE LAST 9
ELECTION WAS DISBANDED AND IN ITS PLACE AN INTERIM INDEPENDENT ELECTORAL COMMISSION OF KENYA WAS CREATED WITH THE MANDATE TO REVIEW THE ELECTORAL LAWS. SINCE ITS APPOINTMENT, THE COMMISSION HAS SUCCESSFULLY ORGANIZED THE REGISTRATION OF VOTERS AND CONDUCTED CREDIBLE ELECTIONS IN TWO PARLIAMENTARY CONSTITUENCIES OF SHINYALU AND BAMACHOGE.
ONLY TWO DAYS AGO, THE INTERIM INDEPENDENT COMMISSION OF KENYA ANNOUNCED THAT THE PROCESS OF NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION STARTS PROMPTLY FEBRUARY 2010.
B) THE INTERIM INDEPENDENT BOUNDARIES REVIEW COMMISSION (IIBRC) APPOINTED MAY 2009, HAS ALREADY ROLLED-OUT PUBLIC HEARINGS TO RECEIVE VIEWS ON THE DELIMITATION OF BOUNDARIES. THE FINAL 10
REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE WILL BE HARMONIZED WITH THE FORMULA ADOPTED BY THE NEW CONSTITUTION.
C) THE TASK FORCE ON POLICE REFORM ALREADY PRESENTED ITS FINAL REPORT IN AUGUST, 2009 AND SOME OF THE RECOMMENDATIONS ALREADY IMPLEMENTED, INCLUDING THE REPLACEMENT OF THE POLICE CHIEF, WITH A CAREER POLICE COMMANDANT WHO HAS NOW TAKEN CHARGE IN IMPLEMENTING FULLY ALL THE RECOMMENDATIONS CONTAINED IN THE TASK FORCE REPORT.
D) THE TASK FORCE ON JUDICIAL REFORM WAS APPOINTED TO LOOK INTO THE WAYS OF ACCELERATING JUDICIAL REFORMS. THE TASK FORCE PRESENTED A FINAL REPORT IN AUGUST, 2009, WITH THE MAIN RECOMMENDATIONS OF WHICH INCLUDE MEASURES TO ADDRESS BACKLOG IN THE 11
JUDICIARY, HIRE OF ADDITIONAL PERSONNEL; ENHANCING THE OPERATIONAL AUTONOMY AND INDEPENDENCE OF JUDICIAL SERVICE COMMISSION THROUGH ENACTMENT OF JUDICIAL SERVICE BILL; INTRODUCTION OF PERMANENT MECHANISMS TO HANDLE COMPLAINTS AGAINST JUDICIAL OFFICERS; BETTER WORKING ENVIRONMENT TO ATTRACT AND RETAIN HIGH QUALITY STAFF; STRENGTHENING OF JUDICIAL ADMINISTRATION AND PROCESS; ADDITIONAL FUNDING TO THE JUDICIARY PEGGED AT 1% OF THE NATIONAL BUDGET TO IMPLEMENT THESE CHANGES OVER A PERIOD OF TIME.
E) A COMPREHENSIVE LAND REFORMS POLICY WAS PREPARED AND APPROVED BY THE CABINET IN JUNE 2009. THE POLICY ADDRESSES CRITICAL ISSUES SUCH AS LAND ADMINISTRATION, ACCESS TO LAND, LAND USE PLANNING, RESTITUTION OF HISTORICAL INJUSTICES, ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION, 12
CONFLICTS, UNPLANNED PROLIFERATION OF INFORMAL URBAN SETTLEMENTS, OUTDATED LEGAL FRAMEWORK, INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK AND INFORMATION MANAGEMENT. IT ALSO ADDRESSES CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUES, SUCH AS THE EMINENT DOMAIN AND THE POLICE POWER AS WELL AS TENURE SYSTEMS. THE GOVERNMENT HAS NOW COMMENCED THE OPERATIONALIZATION OF THE POLICY. KEY PRIORITIES IN IMPLEMENTATION INCLUDE: HARMONIZATION OF LAND LAWS TO ENSURE BETTER AND MORE EFFECTIVE LAND ADMINISTRATION; REPOSSESSION OF PUBLIC LAND THAT HAD HITHERTO BEEN IRREGULARLY ALLOCATED TO PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS; DEVELOPMENT OF A LAND USE MASTER PLAN TO GUIDE THE OPTIMAL UTILIZATION OF LAND RESOURCES.
THE ADOPTION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE LAND POLICY IS ALSO CRUCIAL IN THE 13
REALIZATION OF AGENDA 4 OF THE PEACE ACCORD AND WILL GUIDE THE COUNTRY IN SUSTAINABLE AND EQUITABLE USE OF LAND. WE AGAIN APPRECIATE THE TECHNICAL AND CAPACITY BUILDING SUPPORT BY U.S. GOVERNMENT THROUGH USAID IN THIS REGARD.
F) ON THE ISSUE OF THE TRIAL OF PERPETRATORS OF POST-ELECTION VIOLENCE, THE GRAND COALITION GOVERNMENT HAS OPTED FOR A LOCAL TRIBUNAL, WHILE PARLIAMENT SEEMS UNWILLING TO SUPPORT THIS PROCESS, PREFERING INSTEAD THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT TO TAKE OVER THE CASES. HOWEVER, THERE SEEMS TO EMERGE A NATIONAL CONSENSUS TO ACCORD PRIORITY TO NATIONAL RECONCILIATION AND HEALING PROCESS WHILE LEAVING THE DOOR OPEN FOR THE SUSPECTS BEARING THE GREATEST RESPONSIBILITY OVER THE POST-ELECTION 14
VIOLENCE TO BE TRIED BY THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT, AND BOTH THE PRESIDENT AND PRIME MINISTER HAVE PLEDGED TO COOPERATE WITH THE ICC TO BRING JUSTICE TO THE VICTIMS OF THE POST-ELECTION VIOLENCE.
G) AND FINALLY, ON THE ISSUE OF CONSTITUTIONAL REVIEW, THE GRAND COALITION GOVERNMENT LAUNCHED A HARMONIZED CONSTITUTIONAL DRAFT LAST MONTH AND GAVE KENYANS A 30 DAY COMMENT PERIOD AFTER WHICH THE COMMITTEE OF EXPERTS WILL INCORPORATE THE VIEWS OF THE PUBLIC INTO THE DRAFT AND PRESENT IT TO THE PARLIAMENTARY SELECT COMMITTEE ON THE REVIEW OF THE CONSTITUTION. THE SELECT COMMITTEE WILL REVIEW THE REVISED DRAFT AND PRESENT IT TO THE HOUSE FOR DEBATE AND ADOPTION BEFORE APPROVAL BY THE KENYAN PUBLIC THROUGH A REFERENDUM. AND, I 15
CAN TELL YOU KENYANS ARE VERY EXCITED ABOUT THIS PROCESS AND IT IS MY HOPE THAT THIS WILL BRING TO A HAPPY ENDING, THE SEARCH OF A NEW AND PEOPLE DRIVEN CONSTITUTION FOR OUR COUNTRY, WHICH HAS TAKEN US MORE THAN TWO DECADES AND A TRAIL OF UNTOLD REPRISALS, EVEN CASUALTIES.
I EXPECT MY FELLOW KENYANS IN THE DIASPORA TO HAVE READ THE DRAFT DOCUMENT WITH A SOBER MIND AND FORWARDED TO THE COMMITTEE OF EXPERTS THEIR VIEWS FOR INCORPORATION IN THE FINAL DOCUMENT
AND IN HIS RECENT VISIT TO KENYA EARLY THIS WEEK, THE CHIEF MEDIATOR OF THE KENYA GRAND COALITION GOVERNMENT THE FORMER U.N. SECRETARY GENERAL, MR. KOFFI ANNAN AND THE PANEL OF EMINENT PERSONS REPRESENTING THE AFRICAN UNION PASSED A FAVOURABLE AND POSITIVE VERDICT OF THE PROGRESS MADE BY THE 16
COALITION GOVERNMENT CITING, AS KEY PILLARS IN OUR WAY FORWARD, THE HARMONIZED DRAFT CONSTITUTION, THE ADOPTION BY OUR PARLIAMENT OF THE SESSIONAL PAPER ON COMPREHENSIVE LAND REFORM BILL AND THE ACTIONS ALREADY TAKING PLACE OF THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE TASK FORCE ON POLICE REFORM.
AND SO, TODAY, ALTHOUGH KENYA IS GOING THROUGH THE MOST CRITICAL PHASE IN OUR EVOLUTION, HAVING HAD TO SIMULTANEOUSLY DEAL WITH THE THREE CONSEQUENCES OF THE POST-ELECTION VIOLENCE WHICH SIGNIFICANTLY IMPACTED OUR ECONOMIC GROWTH RATE OF 7% TO A LOW OF 1.7% IN THE FIRST QUARTER OF 2008, COUPLED WITH THE INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC RECESSION WHOSE EFFECTS HAVE BEEN FELT GLOBALLY, AND COMPOUNDED BY THE THREE-YEAR CYCLE OF TERRIBLE DROUGHT, WE CELEBRATE OUR INDEPENDENCE DAY IN AN ATMOSPHERE OF GREAT EXCITEMENT AND 17
OPTIMISM. WE ARE EXCITED ABOUT THE UNPRECEDENTED HISTORIC- OPPPORTUNITY WE HAVE AS A NATION TO LAY A STRONG FOUNDATION FOR A NEW KENYA WHICH WILL PASS THE TEST OF TIME. FOR INSTANCE:
A) THE FEEL GOOD FACTOR AND PROSPECTS, THAT OUR FUTURE IS BRIGHT, AND PROMISES GREATER STRIDES IN A VARIETY OF AREAS, HITHERTO UNTAPPED, BASED ON DEEPER VIBRANT DEMOCRACY ANCHORED ON STRONG INSTITUTIONS, AND PUBLIC POLICIES, AND LED BY AN ACCOUNTABLE, TRANSPARENT AND RESPONSIVE LEADERSHIP IS SIMPLY EXCITING.
KENYANS OF ALL WALKS OF LIFE ARE TODAY ENGROSSED IN A RE-EXAMINATION AND SELF-CORRECTION PROCESS IN ORDER TO STRENGHTHEN THE SOCIAL CONTACT THAT BINDS US IN AN ENTERPRISE OUR FOUNDING FATHERS CALLED KENYA. 18
ONCE THE RECENTLY LAUNCHED DRAFT CONSTITUTION DEBATE IS RESOLVED, AND KENYANS SUBSEQUENTLY PASS THEIR VERDICT IN THE REFERENDUM, A NEW DISPENSATION, A NEW ERA WILL BE USHERED IN KENYA.
B) EXCITED THAT THE HARD HISTORICAL TENSIONS AND SENSITIVITIES SUCH AS LAND ISSUES ARE BEING OPENLY DISCUSSED WITH CANDOR AND SOBRIETY IN PARLIAMENT, THROUGH THE TRUTH JUSTICE & RECONCILIATION COMMISSION AND OTHER PUBLIC FORA. AND OF COURSE, KENYANS KNOW THAT THE U.S. HAS PUT US UNDER SPOT-LIGHT.
C) VERY OPTIMISTIC, THAT THE LINES BETWEEN OUR DIVERISITIES WHICH SOME MANIPULATIVE FORCES HAVE EXPLOITED IN THE PAST TO DIVIDE US, ARE GOING TO BECOME INCREASINGLY BLURRED, YIELDING TO A NATIONAL CULTURAL MOSAIC AND A SOURCE OF STRENGTH WE SHALL ALL PROUDLY CALL KENYA. 19
D) EQUALLY OPTIMISTIC THAT AS THE REGIONAL ECONOMIC AND TRANSPORT HUB, INCLUDING AVIATION AND INTERNATIONAL FINANCE, AND A VITAL BASE FOR THE U.N. INSTITUTIONS AS WELL AS FOR INTERNATIONAL AID AGENCIES, WE ARE AT A CRUCIALLY DECISIVE MOMENT WHICH WILL NOT ONLY DETERMINE AND STENGTHEN THE FUTURE OF OUR DEMOCRACY AS A STABLE COUNTRY, BUT ALSO PROPEL OUR VIABLE LEADERSHIP ROLE HIGHER IN THE SUB-REGION.
E) EXCITED THAT WITHIN OUR SUB-REGION OF EASTERN AFRICA, THE FULL POTENTIALITY OF ECONOMICS OF SCALE, OF A COMMON MARKET WITH A POPULATION OF 400 MILLION PEOPLE WITH FREE MOVEMENT OF GOODS AND SERVICES AND SKILLED LABOUR, WILL BECOME A REALITY BY JULY 2010. AND WE WANT TO INVITE THE UNITED STATES INVESTORS TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS EXCITING BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY.
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I AM HAPPY TO INFORM YOU ALL THAT WITH THE ONSET OF THE RAINS THE COUNTRY IS NOW BACK ON THE GROWTH PATH, WITH THE ECONOMY PROJECTED TO GROW BY ABOUT 4.3% – 5% IN 2010. IN THIS REGARD, I WISH TO CALL ON OUR CORPORATE FRIENDS AND PARTNERS IN THE UNITED STATES TO PARTNER WITH US AND EXPAND THEIR BUSINESSES TO KENYA AND GROW WITH THE GROWING ECONOMY.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, I WISH TO COMMEND THE U.S. GOVERNMENT FOR UNVELING THE INCREASED AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTIVITY AND FOOD SECURITY INITIATIVE THIS YEAR. THE INITIATIVE BUILDS ON THE COMMITMENTS MADE BY THE G8 SUMMIT IN L’AQUITA, ITALY IN JULY THIS YEAR, AND REAFFIRMED BY THE G20 SUMMIT HELD IN PITTSBURGH SEPTEMBER THIS YEAR. FOR MY COUNTRY THIS INITIATIVE CAME AT THE RIGHT TIME. THE RECENT DROUGHT HAS WOKEN US UP TO THE STARK REALITY THAT KENYA WILL NOT FEED HER PEOPLE ON A SUSTAINABLE BASIS UNLESS 21
IF WE CONTINUE TO RELY ON RAIN FED AGRICULTURE. IN THIS REGARD, THE GOVERNMENT IN THIS YEAR’S BUDGET MADE A SUBSTANTIAL ALLOCATION OF KSHS.3 BILLION (U.S.$38.5 MILLION) TO REHABILITATE AND EXPAND IRRIGABLE LAND. I AM SURE THE U.S. INITIATIVE WILL HELP SUPPLEMENT THE EFFORT OF THE KENYA GOVERNMENT TO IMPROVE SEED QUALITY, AND FEASIBILITY STUDIES AND DESIGN FOR IRRIGATING MORE LAND IN OUR FIGHT TO REDUCE POVERTY, HUNGER AND MALNUTRITION.
IT IS ALSO NOTEWORTHY THAT KENYA IS THE SECOND COUNTRY IN AFRICA TO PASS BIO-SAFETY ACT.
THE ADVERSE CLIMATE CHANGE HAS NOT ONLY EXPOSED KENYA TO FOOD INSECURITY BUT IMPACTED NEGATIVELY THE HYDROPOWER PRODUCTION CAPACITY. TO MITIGATE THIS SITUATION, THE GOVERNMENT HAS EMBARKED ON IDENTIFYING ALTERNATIVE SOURCES OF ENERGY 22
SUCH AS GEOTHERMAL, SOLAR, WIND, BIOFUEL AND CLEAN COAL. AND WE ARE MOVING WITH SPEED TO SPEARHEAD THE DEVELOPMENT OF THESE ALTERNATIVE SOURCES OF ENERGY. BESIDES, KENYA BECOMES ONE OF 14 COUNTRIES TO RECEIVE FUNDS IN THE FIRST ROUND OF THE WORLD BANK’S FOREST CARBON PARTNERSHIP FACILITY (FCPF), A SCHEME AIMED AT KICK-STARTING THE REDUCED EMISSIONS FROM DEFORESTATION AND FOREST DEGRADATION (REDO) PROJECTS IN DEVELOPING NATIONS.
AND, YESTERDAY, OUR DEVELOPMENT PARTNERS, UNDER USAID CO-ORDINATION, RELEASED KSHS. 11 BILLION (U.S.$152.8 MILLION) FOR THE FIRST PHASE OF RESTORATION OF ONE OF OUR KEY WATER CATCHEMENT AREA, THE MAU FOREST. THE INITIATIVE AIMS TO RAISE 160 MILLION SEEDLINGS TO COVER 100,000 HECTARES OF THE DEPLETED SECTION OF THE MAU FOREST 23
REGARDING THE FIGHT AGAINST DISEASE, THE GOVERNMENT HAS INVESTED SUBSTANTIVELY IN THE HEALTH SECTOR WITH AN AIM OF PROVIDING AN EFFICIENT HEALTH INFRASTRUCTURE COVERING ALL PARTS OF THE COUNTRY AND RAISES THE QUALITY OF HEALTHCARE FOR KENYANS. THE GOVERNMENT HAS ALLOCATED AN EQUIVALENT OF US$50 MILLION IN THIS FISCAL YEAR’S BUDGET FOR CONSTRUCTION AND EQUIPPING OF A HEALTH CENTRE IN EVERY CONSTITUENCY. THIS IS THE FIRST STEP IN A THREE YEAR JOURNEY TOWARDS ACHIEVING A COUNTRYWIDE HEALTHCARE FACILITY UPGRADE PROGRAM. PLANS ARE ALSO UNDERWAY TO HIRE MORE NURSES TO CORRESPOND WITH THE INCREASING NUMBER OF HEALTH FACILITIES. MORE FUNDING HAS ALSO BEEN ALLOCATED TO THE CONSTITUENCIES MEDICAL SUPPLIES KIT IN ADDITION TO DIRECT FUNDING TO THE MINISTRIES OF PUBLIC HEALTH AND MEDICAL SERVICES. AND IT IS GRATIFYING TO NOTE THAT TWO WEEKS AGO, THE WORLD HEALTH 24
ORGANISATION (WHO) DONATED HINI THE FLU VACCINE FOR FREE DISTRIBUTION NEXT YEAR IN KENYA, AGAIN ONE OF THE TWO COUNTRIES IN AFRICA ALONG WITH TOGO, TO RECEIVE THE VACCINES.
I WISH TO PROFOUNDLY THANK THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA FOR ITS PARTNERSHIP AND SUPPORT IN THE PROCESS OF OUR DEVELOPMENT AND REFORM INITIATIVES AND TO SPECIFICALLY POINT OUT THE DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE THAT WE CONTINUE TO RECEIVE THROUGH FAR REACHING INITIATIVES SUCH AS AGOA, PEPFAR, MCA AND THE JOINT COUNTER-TERRORISM PROGRAM AMONG OTHERS.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN
WITH THESE FEW REMARKS, I PROPOSE A TOAST FOR THE WARM BILATERAL RELATIONS WHICH EXIST BETWEEN THE TWO GREAT NATIONS OF KENYA AND U.S.A. AND FOR THE GOOD HEALTH OF 25
PRESIDENT BARRACK OBAMA OF UNITED STATES AND PRESIDENT MWAI KIBAKI OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA
KENYA EMBASSY
WASHINGTON, D.C. 12/11/09

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