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Speech by Her Excellency Prof. Ruthie Rono During the Jubilee Celebrations, 12th December, 2013, Held at Hotel InterContinental, Ball Room, In Lusaka, Zambia

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Today is a great day in the history of my country, but also a sorrowful moment for our Continent and the World at large, having lost a great son of Africa; former South African President, Nelson Mandela. May I request all of you to join me in observing a minute of silence.

May his soul rest in peace!

Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to stand here before you on this important day of my Country. Today marks the attaining of a golden Jubilee by Kenya, on this material day, the Union Jack was lowered and our National flag of Kenya hoisted simultaneously at the point of celebration, and on top of Mt. Kenya, Lenana Peak. The Moment was filled with ecstasy and anticipation. This however, meant different things to different people.

To others, the thought that the colonial master was going to leave was cast in utmost doubt. To others still, the thought of independence carried one big idea that they will no longer walk in fear of whether they were on the right or wrong. To the leaders, it was sovereignty and self determinism that mattered, yet still there may not have been unity of purpose. Our founding President and successive leadership have been faced with the task of reconciling various expectations and giving direction. Yet amidst all this was the realization that Kenya was a part of the International community as such had to continue participating and engaging her global peers.

Our Guest of Honour,
At Independence, our Founding fathers declared war against three things; poverty, ignorance and diseases. Delivering fruits of independence meant reducing if not eliminating mass poverty by empowering people with basic form of capital (in our case land), ignorance had to be fought through education and as such the Government introduced adult education alongside education for school going children. The Government not only embarked on building schools but also encouraged parents and communities to do so through the spirit of “Harambee”, thereby leading to the development of Kenya’s human resource which has become one of Kenya’s greatest resources. At independence, our people were dying of simple communicable and treatable diseases. Our initial policy was to provide free education, and health care. Our story is endless, and I believe the same is replicated in a number of African countries.

Fast track to modern day, and we can look back and say we are not yet there but we have made some progress. We are not considered to be a rich nation but we have strived to improve the lives of our people. We have not given people bread but we have showed them how to bake. We are competitive and have encouraged competition for all in access to resources. Kenya has in the words of my President, H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, “grown to become a modern, open and democratic nation doing its best for its citizens and neighbours…. We are on our way to becoming a richer and better country to live in”

In health, we have come a long way; we have increased our knowledge in health issues, built institutions of excellence and human resource capacities. Our people are relatively well informed and can make informed choices on access and services available to them.

In education, we have increased adult literacy levels, and increased capacity in terms of human resource and institutions (in their numbers and quality).

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Looking back through the successive generations of leadership, we have improved the human capital which is the most essential asset. We have built the foundation in agriculture which is the backbone of our economy, improved tourism, trade, and infrastructure. It is now time to take a great leap into the Jubilee. We now have a choice of undertaking value addition or adopting a different growth stratergy. We remind ourselves that nations that have made impact, are not necessarily the ones that undertook value addition, but those that took great leap in new field hitherto considered foreign to them, examples include Thailand Electronics.

Ours is Vision 2030, which is built on internally identified strengths in key Pillars of Social, Politics and Economic. Our Vision, seeks to transform Kenya into a newly industrializing, Middle Income Country providing high quality of life to its entire citizenry by the year 2030. This is clearly echoed in the President’s pronouncements this morning at the Jubilee Day Celebrations. Each of the three pillars have flagship projects that have already taken off such as infrastructure, energy, science and technology innovation(STI), information, communication and technology, land reform, human resource development, and Public Service just to mention but a few.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
In conclusion, The Jubilee is a beginning of new things as the country matures. We reaffirm our fidelity to the aspirations of the freedom fighters, independence heroes and founding fathers, and assert self determinism and in the words of our President H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta, urge all Kenyans to resist tyranny and exploitation at all times and stand united and committed to make Kenya, East Africa and Africa prosperous, peaceful and united.

Last but not least, I wish to recognize the continued good relations between Kenya and Zambia and between our founding fathers as your have seen in the Picture gallery, reiterate the commitment of the Kenya Government to building and maintaining good relations with the Government and the people of the Republic of Zambia for the prosperity of both Countries.

I take this opportunity to wish you all a pleasant Jubilee year, Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year. I thank you for your attention and for being here this evening.

May I now invite you to kindly refill our glasses and join me in raising our glasses as we toast:

 

  1. to the good health of His Excellency Mr. Michael Chilufya Sata, President of the Republic of Zambia;
  2. to the continued good relations and prosperity of the people of Kenya and Zambia; and,
  3. to continued good health of our Guest of Honour and for all of us gathered here

Cheers!!!