Capital FM (Nairobi)

5 January 2013

Kenya: Mudavadi's Acceptance Speech

FELLOW KENYANS, COMPATRIOTS, FRIENDS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

I, Musalia Mudavadi, do hereby humbly accept your nomination for the Presidency of the Republic of Kenya on the joint ticket of the UDF and other sister parties represented here.

I want to thank you most sincerely for conferring upon me this special distinction - and to assure you that I shall not let you down. I shall carry the torch forward to victory in the name of the members of the political parties represented here, and in the name of the people of Kenya and in the name of our country.

I solemnly accept this torch at a very special time in the history of our country. Before this year is out, our country will be celebrating 50 years of Independence from colonial rule.

This is the year of our golden birthday as an independent nation. As we prepare for the coming elections, we must project them within this larger context of a maturing nation. Taking stock of past achievements and failures is the only basis of setting sound policies and mobilizing appropriate resources to consolidate gains and reverse failures of leadership.

The state of our nation today presents a great promise and opportunity. The benefit of half a century of relative peace, has buttressed a firm foundation for building a modern nation. A modern human resource pool nourished by a nation with insatiable appetite for knowledge, a very enterprising and hard working population and sound policy guidelines over the years, have grounded the pillars around which a modern economy and a nation at peace with itself and its neighbours has started emerging. The prospects of how far and how fast we can progress in this country are overwhelming.

Yet as we celebrate what is good and possible among us, we must also come to terms with the immense challenges that lie before us. We are approaching an election with many concealed fears. Fears of the return of the madness we visited upon ourselves at the last elections. Fear from a distrust we exploited in our past competitions which has not been confronted and expunged from our collective memory. Fear of the under-stated fountain of inequality and injustice.

As we step out of the shadows of the independence leaders that have dominated national politics for 50 years, we inherit failings, misgivings and prejudices that festered unattended or poorly diagnosed for years. Combine these with the crisis of youth unemployment and growing sense of alienation, and you have the makings of a substantial threat to our pursuit of happiness and harmony for our citizens.

I stand before you this afternoon to seek an opportunity to lead our great country in unlocking the great potential that exists in our middle. A chance to ride out the challenges that confront us today, and a chance to heal the wounds of strife, confrontation and reckless politics that has brought our great nation close to the brink in the recent past.

As we set about electing our new leaders, Kenyans must remember what bad politics has done to us in the past. Reckless political opportunism brought fear and distrust among our people. Greed for power at any price has set our people against each other. The politics of insults and chest-thumping has brought us low. Internally displaced people, the enduring evidence of our past misadventure, remain stranded as refugees in the land of their fathers. Many remain frightened that an uneasy peace may be a false lull before resumption of the traditional confrontational competition.

In this country, it has become almost acceptable that Kenyans must turn against each other in murderous anger, killing, maiming, destroying property and evicting their fellow countrymen from their homes, villages and from their investments.

The economic disruption of five years ago is making investors hesitate about long term investment decisions. Tourism remains fickle as divisive statements and attendant fears remain the currency of some political groups. Kenyans must examine all those offering themselves for leadership today. Think seriously about which candidate represents the voice and face of healing and national reconciliation.

I pledge to you, that under my administration, such scenes of wanton plunder, murder and political violence will be confined to only our history where such acts belong. We shall ensure that every Kenyan will live safely and productively anywhere within our borders.

I stand before you as the face of a leadership which prides in the diversity of its experience, but is united in its commitment to the national good. We bring before you our compassion and solidarity with casualties of our collective failings as a nation. We offer harmony and reconciliation as we set out our vision of how to achieve sustainable peace and healing the wounds of divisive politics.

Fellow Kenyans, We at the United Democratic Forum Party have reflected carefully on the challenges of sound leadership. We have developed a comprehensive governance agenda which forms the basis of dialogue with our partner parties as we move to harmonize our manifestoes in the coming days.

The key pillars of this policy platform will be the basis of a compact I wish to enter with the people of this great country.. These are the bare minimum program of action that will reverse the descent of our country into chaos and destitution. They are the key to unlock the phenomenal potential of our people, our country to achieve the goals of Vision 2030.

A major first step in reclaiming our country is a leadership that believes in the rule of law. Justice and the realization of the promise of our new constitution are not possible without leaders who by their actions and words believe in due process. My government will consolidate the gains so far made in our statutes and invest necessary resources in strengthening a culture of constitutionalism and respect for the law.

Part of the challenge of security and rule of law is the limited resources invested in policing. I will substantially expand the police service while paying attention to quality of training and support facilities. We must appreciate the role of our security personnel and create an environment in which they can offer their best service and sacrifice for the nation

Kenya has in the past offered leadership on regional integration

initiatives. As we enter the next phase of realizing our economic potential, we are tied together with our neighbours and partners. A UDF government commits to deepening and enhancing the bonds that tie us with our partners in the East African Common Market. We will offer leadership in developing new horizons for the community.

We shall

• Remain committed to international economic arrangements which are

critical to expansion our economic potential.

• Continue to be as a respectable player at the regional and

international levels through effective political and diplomatic engagement

Fellow Kenyans:

Over the past 49 years, thousands and even millions of our fellow citizens have been ravaged by want and hunger. Other hundreds, even thousands continue to die of ill health. Children and women have borne the brunt of the lack of delivery on our promises as leaders.

The national shame that is thousands of unemployed youth; mothers struggling with water pots for miles on end in search of water; parents unable to afford school fees; and the burden of corrupt practices - in sum - poor planning and lethargy in implementation will not be allowed to continue.

Today, I pledge to all Kenyans everywhere that the government that I shall form will not tolerate what some celebrate as the scenic beauty of poverty of thought, ideas, and delivery of services to our people.

Today, thousands of our young men and women are roaming our streets and villages without jobs and any hope of securing any job in the future. They are the condemned children of Godot afflicted by a rampaging hopelessness and despair because of malignant corrupt practices and lack of good governance. Today, I pledge to you that my administration will put the generation of new high-value jobs for youth at the very top of its economic development agenda. We will ensure that all those able and willing to work will find work to do.

Today, our country continues to wallow in one of the greatest mistakes that Ancient Athens ever made. It has tried to develop without engaging half of its able and most creative population. These are our hardworking, persevering and loving daughters, sisters, wives and mothers. The time is now for this great wrong to be righted.

We fully recognise that in our country there are no first and second class citizens, and our female and male citizens stand equally before God and before our Constitution. I pledge to strictly enforce all the women rights stipulated in the Constitution. The women of Kenya will henceforth be judged not merely by their gender but by the content of their minds and character.

These are just a few of the issues to which my presidency will allocate maximum resources so that, at 50 years of age, our country can be born anew. We shall be seeking a new beginning, but one grounded in some of our oldest and noblest values; honesty, truth, integrity, fairness, consideration for the weak and disadvantaged.

This is my firm belief that no Kenyan is ultimately superior to another, no matter where they live, what they do, or what religion they belong to.

Today, our country stands at a historic crossroads. The past is steadily pulling us backwards even as we strive to move forward. Truth and integrity are being crucified on the cross of petty personal and political ambition. Honesty is no longer a virtue to some leaders and the rule of law is no longer our supreme shield and defender, even as we continue to reform our Judiciary.

Our challenge now is to ensure that we select the best of our past and move with it into an innovative future. We need to protect and defend all the great gains we have made so that, upon them, we can build a more enlightened, prosperous and God fearing country governed by the rule of law.

As we prepare for the forthcoming General Elections, the first under our new Constitution, I want to remind all of you that any government that will come into power, including mine, will be serving UNDER - not OVER - you as it is in your hands that the sovereign power resides under our new Constitution.

Fellow Kenyans;

As I conclude, may I thank our members of UDF Party, our partner parties KANU and New Ford Kenya and all our supporters wherever you are listening on Radio or watching us on TV for your great courage, endurance and commitment.

My brother Eugene, your sacrifice that has enabled us to move strongly as the Alternative Force for a peaceful Kenya will endure in the annuals of history. Thank you, brother.

My I thank my family, my wife Tessie and my children for their support and perseverance during my long journey in public life. I may not have always been with you at all times, but your constant presence in my thoughts has kept me going.

To the hardworking members of my staff, the presidential secretariat and the UDF party officials and staff, who have worked tirelessly to make this occasion a success, you have done us all proud today.

May I thank all Kenyans for the support they have given me over the years in my service to the public. Not all of you could be here at this historic occasion. But I believe the splendour of this occasion will keep your hearts warm and the spirit for a Kenyan victory burning.

I appeal to you all to give me your support and vote for me as the 4th President of the Republic of Kenya.

This support and your vote will not go to waste. Your vote will go towards ushering in a new Kenya; A united new Kenya of peace and reconciliation. Your vote will count for the stability of the nation.

You must know the coming elections are therefore a turning point for independent Kenya. We must now ask; how symbolic are these elections?

Kenya will have the first elections under a new popular constitution.

Kenya will turn to defining the next 50 years of nationhood. Kenya will have the pre-independence leadership competing with post-independent generation of leadership seeking to lead Kenya into a new era.

I am obviously from the latter generation; but I have been there under tutelage, seen it all and learnt the lessons that must not be repeated and those that should be carried forward. I AM READY.

I intend to honour your support under the seven-point agenda that most of you are familiar with.

In the 2007 nominations, I stood on the platform of Dignified Lives for Kenyans. I spelt out an eight-point agenda then. Today, I have reduced it to a seven-point agenda because one of them - a new constitution - is in place. What remains is full implementation. I will not reform it; I will implement it.

It is under a Dignified Lives for Kenyans agenda that I made the famous statement that "there is no dignity in being poor". I repeat it

today: THERE IS NO DIGNITY IN BEING POOR. Those who intend that Kenyans must remain poor must now be put on notice that Mudavadi is here and their time is up.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am a safe pair of hands for all Kenyans.

I will offer sober, realistic and pragmatic leadership. My DNA does not have the virus to threaten, revenge and discriminate against any Kenyan. I have the will and determination to create a collective and consultative government that represents all Kenyans.

I will manage and grow the economy to a GDP per capita of between US$3000 (ksh250,000) to US$5000 (ksh420,000). That will mean attracting investment in infrastructure, creating jobs and investing in social services.

We will therefore create wealth as a means of empowering our people out of poverty. I have no desire to take away what you have rightly earned. Instead I pledge to protect all that has been legally acquired and help those who will work hard to secure a better standard of living for themselves and their families.

I want to unite the people of Kenya.

I recognise that in this election there is an attempt to create divisions among Kenyans. Kenya is being patented to those who belong and those who do not belong; those in one region against those in another; those entitled to leadership and those who must follow; those permitted to remain rich and those condemned to be poor. .... I say NO.

KENYA IS NOT FOR THE CHOSEN FEW. KENYA IS ABOUT ALL OF US.

THE CHOICE IS ABOUT THOSE WHO WANT TO DIVIDE US AND WE WHO SEEK THE UNITY OF KENYAN PEOPLE. My candidature is the candidature of the people of Kenya.

I want to serve - not to rule Kenyans. My ambition is not just to be president; it is to work for all Kenyans.

With your permission, therefore, may I propose that for purposes of this election and cooperating parties, our coalition be called the PEACE OR AMANI COALITION.

I will implement devolution because I know how to do it.

I am determined and experienced enough to implement the devolved government structure that remains the bedrock of our new Constitution.

I do not claim to be the architect of devolution; that honour belongs to the long struggles of the Kenyan people themselves. But I have the knowledge, legislative experience and the will to implement devolution to the letter and within the spirit of the Constitution.

I will secure Kenyans against rampant insecurity, banditry, piracy and terrorism. No Kenyan should ever walk in the streets or go to bed afraid or insecure. That is my pledge to you.

Finally, in the spirit of our forthcoming victory, can we all rise and wish each other a very Happy New Year and a very successful General Election.

Happy New Year to you!

A successful election to all of us!

ASANTENI SAANA

NA MUNGU AWABARIKI!

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