Cablegate: Kenya's Elections: President Kibaki's National Day
DE RUEHNR #4175/01 2951534
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 221534Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
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RUEHDR/AMEMBASSY DAR ES SALAAM 5521
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 NAIROBI 004175
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV KDEM KE
SUBJECT: KENYA'S ELECTIONS: PRESIDENT KIBAKI'S NATIONAL DAY
REF: NAIROBI 3998 AND PREVIOUS
Summary and Introduction
1. (SBU) On October 20, President Mwai Kibaki delivered a
National Day speech at Nairobi's Nyayo National Stadium
before a near capacity crowd. Rival presidential candidate,
Raila Odinga, was seated near the speaker's podium with other
senior leaders of the opposition. Kibaki used the occassion
to deliver a largely positive campaign speech, which is
repeated here in its entirety. He did, however, use the
opportunity to rebuke Odinga's "Majimbo" (devolution)
campaign platform for, among other things, being "likely to
fan tribal sentiments." As will be reported septel, the
debate over the intent and meaning of ODM's call for
"Majimbo" has become the pivotal issue in this campaign. End
summary and introduction.
Text of President Kibaki's National Day Speech
2. (U) Kibaki's speech was as follows:
It is my pleasure to once again join my fellow countrymen and
women in commemorating this year's Kenyatta Day.
This is a special day in our national calendar, when we
remember our brave countrymen and women who lost their lives
in the struggle for Uhuru, and all those who made a
contribution to the achievement of our independence.
We pay tribute to all of them for liberating our country and
our people from the yoke of colonialism. I call on all
Kenyans to emulate the selflessness of these heroes in
sacrificing all that they had for their country and their
When we gather together as a nation on an occasion such as
this, let us also review the progress of our individual as
well as national efforts in this regard. We also need to ask
ourselves whether our daily actions and efforts are
contributing to the well-being of this nation and the welfare
of our people.
We are fortunate to have been bequeathed a beautiful country
with diverse cultures, abundant flora and fauna, a beautiful
climate and enchanting landscapes. These are resources which
if harnessed fully will generate wealth for all our people.
This is why I have on many occasions called on Kenyans to
embrace a culture of a working and caring nation. As caring
Kenyans. We should not feel contented with our individual
achievements, when some of our fellow citizens are suffering
from lack of basic needs such as food, shelter, clothing,
health and education.
This is the spirit which guided the action of our national
heroes who fought for a land in which they would have freedom
and liberty, and a society that would be free from poverty,
disease and ignorance. This is also the spirit that inspires
the policies that my Government has formulated and
implemented since 2003.
Indeed, my Government has waged successful battles against
each one of the three adversaries and achieved meaningful
victories for the Kenyan people.
With regard to the fight against poverty, the economy has
witnessed substantial growth to nearly twice its previous
size with growth rate rising from 0.5 per cent in 2002 to an
estimated 7 percent by the end of this year.
The tide created by this growth has reduced the national
poverty rate from 56 to 46 per cent thereby lifting about 2
million people out of abject poverty. Furthermore, over 1.8
million new jobs were created between 2003 and 2006, and per
capita incomes increased from 400 US dollars in 2002 to over
630 US dollars currently.
As we look ahead towards the next five years, my goals are to
attain a growth rate of 10 per cent, and reduce poverty
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levels further to 30 per cent, and reduce poverty levels
further to 30 per cent by 2012.
The fight against ignorance is also on course. Buoyed by
revenues from the growing economy, every child now has the
opportunity to attend school whether rich or poor. Indeed,
today, more than 1.7 million children who would otherwise be
out of school because of poverty or disability, are now
learning, and have a chance of success in life.
We are now ready to extend the successes and benefits of Free
Primary Education to the secondary school level. Beginning
next year, I pledge to see that every child including those
with special needs, will be educated for free in public
schools from primary to secondary school level.
This will give every child, no matter their social background
an equal opportunity in life through education. Education is
the singlemost important determinant of a country's
development, which is why my Government has accorded it the
highest priority in its development strategy.
This is also the best way of enabling every child in this
country to realize its full potential and thus reducing
inequality. There is no reason for parents not to send their
children to school. I call on all parents and local
administration officials to ensure that all children attend
school without exception.
Concerning the fight against disease, we have reversed
decades of declining health standards by investing heavily in
the health sector. For instance, all children under five are
now treated and provided with drugs without charge in all our
public health facilities. In addition, treatment for
malaria, TB and HIV/AIDS is free. Further, today, Kenyan
mothers can deliver for no charge at all in our public
dispensaries and health centres. We have also waged a
successful anti-malaria campaign by providing free
insecticide-treated nets to mothers with children.
As a result of our efforts to make healthcare affordable and
available to all Kenyans, HIV prevalence rates are down from
13 to below 6 per cent, child mortality rates are also down
by 44 per cent while maternity survival rates for mothers
have risen substantially.
Having achieved these successes, I would like to see that in
the next five years every child under five years of age,
children with special needs and every child enrolled in
primary or secondary school will receive free treatment and
drugs in public health facilities, thus giving every single
Kenyan child the opportunity to grow up healthy and strong.
There are many challenges facing our country. But the
solution to these does not lie in making empty or alarming
statements. The only way forward for our country is to
harness the full potential of our people and the economy so
as to provide more and better services to the people.
And this is the reason why we are investing heavily in
several key sectors of the economy, in order to provide a
highly improved environment for business and farming that
will create more jobs and wealth for our young people.
Five years ago, we promised an economy that would generate
500,000 jobs a year. During the period up to 2006, we
succeeded in generating an average of 467,000 jobs annually.
Moreover, the Youth Enterprise Development Fund has so far
disbursed 534 million shillings to more than 14,000 youth
groups and individual young people to start up or expand
their businesses. I know that we still have a large number
of young men and women who remain unemployed or
under-employed. Majority of these feel frustrated because
they are unable to realize their hopes and dreams. I want to
tell these young men and women that my heart and mind remains
focused on tackling this challenge.
In the next five years, under my leadership, we shall grow
the economy double its current size, creating decent jobs and
business opportunities for our youth, and good incomes for
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our urban and rural families.
To achieve these goals, I intend to double our investment in
infrastructure so as to build world-class networks of
airports, seaports, roads, railways and low-cost housing.
These investments in infrastructure will in turn create a
globally competitive environment for investors in tourism,
manufacturing, communications, financial and social services
as well as value adding industries in agriculture, livestock
production and fishing in various parts of the country.
I expect these investments to generate tens of thousands of
decent jobs and business opportunities for our youth. For
the young people in Nairobi and other major urban centres, we
have started building hawkers' markets.
We intend to go a step further by building jua kali and small
business parks in every city, town and municipality so as to
support and encourage employment and business opportunities
for this crucial segment of our population.
I wish to assure our young people that the last five years
saw us change the economy from a no-jobs economy into one
with many jobs. We have just started to bake the cake and it
is becoming bigger by the day.
We will grow this cake into a huge one under our stewardship
with enough slices for everyone in the next five years as we
transform this economy into one that will see most of you
employed gainfully in the formal or informal sectors.
The prosperity and welfare of our people will depend on the
degree of probity and accountability exercised by those who
govern them. We recognize that we cannot eradicate
corruption merely by staging dramatic events around those who
are alleged to be corrupt.
We have instead chosen the route of developing and
establishing laws, regulations and institutions that will
over time inculcate and entrench a culture of ethical public
conduct and accountability.
We have also made provisions for declaration of personal
wealth, tightened procurement and expenditure procedures, and
provided the mechanisms for reporting, investigation and
prosecution of economic crimes.
We have further made it more difficult for individuals to
abuse public office or misuse public resources by undertaking
far reaching public service reforms that demand personal and
institutional accountability in service delivery and use of
These include the strategic plans, performance contacts,
service charters and in some cases, citizen charters. I
commend civil society and the media, whose continuous
vigilance has contributed to further reduction in levels of
corruption being reported in public institutions.
It has also resulted in an accountability and development
dividend that is enabling to us to implement major social
programmes in the education and health sectors.
We have spent the last five years building an inclusive and
caring society. This has been one of the key themes of my
leadership. As our country moves forward in development, we
must ensure that no one is left behind, and those who may
have been neglected in the past must be brought into the fold.
This is why I have continuously promoted the inclusion of
women in every aspect of our life, because I firmly believe
that given the opportunity, women will contribute as
effectively to the development of our nation as men.
In this regard, we have set up the Women's Enterprise
Development Fund, and committed ourselves to guaranteeing
women 30 per cent of all public employment opportunities. I
have also directed that women be represented in every one of
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the constituency level development committees.
Further, we have taken note of the children who live in
slums, and registered their learning institutions into
non-formal primary schools that receive the same level of
support as regular public primary schools.
We are providing grants and equipment for children with
special needs, building boarding schools for children living
in nomadic communities, and are in the process of putting in
place a disability fund.
We have done our best to incorporate minorities into this
Government, and to ensure that areas that were previously
marginalized receive their equitable share of development
An area of great concern to me is the security of our people
and that of their property. Over the last four years and
nine months, we have relentlessly fought crime in all its
forms. Today, cases of armed robbery, banditry and
carjackings have been reduced to a minimum.
Our people feel free and confident to move about in the
country and do business. We will continue to ensure the
security and well-being of our people and their property by
providing effective security through joint efforts involving
the police, provincial administration and local communities,
and by observing and upholding the rule of law.
Further, we are committed to observing and upholding the
sanctity of property rights. In this regard, Kenyans holding
title deeds, intellectual property rights, and any other
securities, should feel secure that these will be honoured.
Indeed, my Government has sought to deal with the issues of
squatters and the landless fairly, with the desire of
arriving at mutually beneficial outcomes between the landless
and the landlords.
We have also accelerated the adjudication and titling of land
for both squatters as well as those who live in areas that
are suitable for land titling and registration.
In this regard, my Government has issued over 1.95 million
title deeds in the last five years, and we will continue to
set aside more resources to buy farms to settle the landless,
especially in the Coast and Rift Valley provinces.
As the political environment becomes more charged in
anticipation of the general elections, alot of things are
being said and will continue to be said.
In an effort to win voters' attention, some political leaders
are making pledges without giving any serious consideration
to the unity of our nation or the peace and security of our
people. The issue of federalism for instance, has been
portrayed as the one solution to the social and economic
challenges we face.
This is misleading because you cannot generate more resources
for development simply by telling communities to stay in
their own reservations.
This is only likely to fan tribal sentiments. Moreover, in a
rapidly globalizing world, countries are forming even bigger
unions in order to harness opportunities that arise from
having larger markets.
This is why from the outset, we have sought to use devolution
as our principle approach in creating an inclusive and
equitable society. The most well known instrument of
devolution we have used in the last five years is the
Constituency Development Fund (CDF), where we have ensured
that the most needy areas receive the most resources.
Others include the Bursary Fund that allowed secondary school
enrolment to increase by almost a quarter of a million more
students in the last five years, and the Local Authorities
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Transfer Fund (LATF).
Our experience with these financial and decision-making
devolution instruments has been positive, with increased
local participation and greater investment in meeting the
priorities of the local people.
We will continue to devolve even more resources and
decision-making to the people, as more financial resources
become available from a growing economy, and as stronger and
more accountable devolved institutions are formed at the
We will also commit to recognizing community rights and
cultural interests of all, while at the same time striving to
promote cohesion, tolerance and mutual respect for the
cultural diversity of our people.
We want all Kenyans to feel free, respected and secure,
wherever they are in the country, and not to be discriminated
or harassed on the basis of ethnicity, religion, race, gender
or social status.
In conclusion, and as we head towards the general elections
in a few weeks time, I urge all of you to carefully evaluate
all those seeking elective leadership positions. Scrutinize
their past records, examine their character and judge them on
the basis of what they have done for this country.
I urge you to make prudent choices so that this country may
enjoy leadership that unites the people and leads to a
brighter and more equitable future.
Thank you and may god bless you all.
3. (SBU) After completing his prepared speech, Kibaki made
several off-the-cuff remarks in Ki-Swahili attacking ODM for
promising more than they could deliver and for portraying
federalism or "Majimbo" (devolution) as a workable solution
to Kenya's economic and social challenges when instead it was
likely to fuel tribalism. Raila Odinga, speaking to the
press immediately after Kibaki's speech, criticized the
President for turning a National Day celebration into a
desperate and partisan campaign rally. Odinga then defended
the ODM platform as one designed to devolve resources to the
regions and suggested that this national election presents
Kenyan's with a distinct choice between a centralized system
of governance and business as usual, on the one hand, and
federalism and change, on the other. The meaning of
"Majimbo" and its impact on the national elections and beyond
is being reported septel. End comment.