Uhuru calls for tolerance, unity in New Year message to nation
President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday night acknowledged that 2019 was a difficult year but remains hopeful this one will be full of opportunity.
In his New Year message delivered to the nation from State House, Mombasa, Uhuru said 2020 presented an opportunity for reflection and self-examination as well as planning.
“As we look back on the achievements and milestones met in the course of 2019, I know that there are those amongst us who have had a very difficult year, either economically or through personal tragedies such as the loss of loved ones or those battling illnesses. To you, my brothers and sisters, it is my hope and prayer that the New Year will usher in better days for you and for all of us,” said Uhuru.
Despite the progress made, there are still challenges that must be tackled, the Head of State observed.
“True as this may be, so true is it that the remedy cannot be recrimination and confrontation. Kenyans are all too familiar with the result of that,” stated Uhuru.
The President noted that the past decade had been of great significance to Kenya.
“Kenya has undergone the most consequential transformation since the dawn of the Republic by ushering in a new constitutional order and successful implementation of devolution,” he said.
He pointed that the country continued to make steady progress in education, healthcare, food security and nutrition, infrastructure and renewable energy.
Notable achievements had also been made in defence and security, industrialisation, in addition to laying the foundation for enduring prosperity within a happier and more cohesive Kenya.
He noted that the success was not without challenges but observed that the country took pride in the extent to the progress made.
The country, he said, had moved “towards the full attainment of our national aspirations as espoused in our Constitution, the Kenya Vision 2030 and as focused through the Big Four Agenda.”
He added that by pursuing the Big Four Agenda’s pillars of food security, affordable housing, universal health coverage, and job creation through manufacturing his administration had committed to addressing the challenges of unemployment, poverty, hunger, inequality and poor health.
“In 2019, we experienced God’s bountiful provision as our country’s profile continued to soar through the world-beating performances of our sportspeople fight for environmental protection and renewable energy,” he added.
“By accepting our challenges, this should form the basis not for division but rather a clarion call of how we must come together to turn challenge to opportunity and prosperity,” he said.
He said Kenyans should continue to build bridges of brotherhood by weaving a stronger fabric of patriotism and nationhood, and that a key aspect of this quest will be anchored under the Building Bridges Initiative.
“The process is aimed at comprehensively addressing both historical and emerging national challenges,” he said.
Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga said he was looking forward to sharing ideas on, and supporting all efforts to address poverty, marginalisation and unemployment of youth and rising cost of living.
“I look forward to a renewed commitment to fight corruption and it’s unrelenting networks in the country, ending marginalisation of communities and regions,” Raila said.
Raila also echoed President Uhuru’s sentiments, saying he would continue building bridges among the people so as to secure lasting unity and a greater sense of nationhood.
He also hinted at restructuring of governance foundations, including strengthening of devolved units.
Deputy President William Ruto and Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i also wished Kenyans a Happy New Year.
“It was a privilege to serve our country in 2019, and it will be an even greater honour to continue building on our past positives to progressively improve our security and citizen services in 2020,” said Matiang’i.