Kakamega — President Mwai Kibaki has told those seeking elective positions in Kenya to focus on issues for the country to realise economic prosperity and social justice for all.
Speaking during the 6th graduation ceremony of Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology in Kakamega, the president maintained that the country and its citizens have to make the right choices for Kenya to attain Vision 2030.
"We must move to a point where our politics become issue oriented. We must enrich our political debate so as to ensure economic prosperity and social justice for all," the Head of State said.
President Kibaki further urged those seeking political office to raise the bar in the political discourse by focusing on issues by being tolerant to different shades of opinion.
He reiterated his earlier call to citizens of age to register as voters to enable them participate in the democratic process in the country.
President Mwai Kibaki advised the Kenyan youth to embrace good ethical behaviour that will promote peace, issue-based politics and national unity as the country gears towards the next General Election in three months time.
President Kibaki expressed optimism that the youth in the country will promote patriotism, the rule of law, social justice, and integrity as they embarked on the next phase of their lives.
He specifically encouraged the youth to use the innovative skills and knowledge gained in universities and other institutes of higher learning to improve the lives of those around them.
The Head of State said that the provision of higher education remained a key ingredient in achievement of the vision that will move the country to the next level of economic prosperity.
"It is with this understanding that the government has embarked on a programme of enormous expansion of access to higher education in all parts of our country. Soon, we will be establishing fifteen new fully-fledged public universities," President Kibaki said.
The 15 new universities, he added, have over the last three to five years been constituent Colleges affiliated and mentored by the existing seven public universities.
The establishment of additional fully pledged universities is one of the most important developments in the higher education system in the country and will go a long way in facilitating the achievement of the Vision 2030, the president added.
With regard to research, the Head of state exhorted universities to play their role effectively in enabling the citizenry to embrace new thinking and new ways of doing business.
President Kibaki reminded universities and other institutes of higher learning that in the modern world, knowledge has become imperative for economic advancement.
President Kibaki said; "Indeed, a knowledge economy utilises research findings in transformation of the thinking and the livelihoods of its people."
Encouraging academic staff at the University to direct their research endeavours on issues that affect the society, the Head of State acknowledged that research and innovative activities carried out at all universities are aimed at advancement of knowledge.
He noted with appreciation that the university has in the last six years grown tremendously in terms of its academic programmes with the relevant and uniquely market-oriented courses on offer giving it a distinctive and competitive edge in the tertiary education sector.
"I am encouraged that you are taking your rightful place in the production of human capital that is needed for the rapidly changing world", President Kibaki noted.
In this regard, the Head of State urged the university to continue producing graduates who, not only have the necessary skills to effectively participate in the modern workplace, but also have moral and ethical values that are critical for the development of the nation.
He appreciated the infrastructural development at the university including the ultra-modern library, a spacious catering unit, two hostels accommodating over one thousand students, a science complex, and a sewage treatment system.
"Further, the government has facilitated the building of a women's hostel which will accommodate over one thousand female students and is due for completion soon. We have also provided funds for the construction of a multi-purpose hall and intend to support other upcoming projects," the president added.
The president revealed that the university has been identified as a beneficiary of the Joint Government of Kenya and the African Development Bank Project on the Enhancement of Quality and Relevance in Higher education, Science and Technology.
The president noted that under the project, the university will be provided with engineering and science equipment, the strengthening of human capital development in science, technology and innovation programmes, and training of the university staff and officers in strategic management and governance.
He acknowledged the continued support of the African Development Bank to the country's development Agenda.
The Head of State called on graduands to embrace the national values as they embark on the next phase of their lives.
Speaking during the occasion, Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi expressed appreciation to President Kibaki for accepting to share power after the 2007/2008 general elections.
Mudavadi called on Kenyans to emulate President Kibaki by exercising tolerance and embrace the concept of power sharing by being accommodative to others as the country gears towards the general elections.
On her part, Higher Education Margret Kamar said the government has put in place mechanism to ensure the quality of education is not compromised by the expansion of universities and other institutes of learning.