13 September 2017

Kenya: Nasa, Judges Skip Uhuru Speech to Parliament

Photo: Jeff Angote/Daily Nation
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta addressing members from both sides of the house during the official opening of the 12th parliament.

Kenya opposition National Super Alliance (Nasa) MPs and the entire Judiciary Tuesday kept off President Uhuru Kenyatta's inaugural address to the 12th Parliament.

Mr Kenyatta used it to defend his annulled August 8 presidential election victory.

The President said he expected the people to reaffirm the choice they made in the August 8 election in a speech that steered clear of setting any legislative agenda for Parliament.

"This is not just a choice between two individuals. Most importantly, it is the transfer of the people's sovereign will to an office that is the symbol of our national unity that protects our security, and is key to delivering development and prosperity," the President said.

Returning to his pet subject of the sanctity of the ballot, Mr Kenyatta said the choices that millions of voters will make on October 17 represent far more than the desires of politicians, adding that the choice symbolizes the will of a sovereign people.

"That choice is sacred and must never be frustrated or ignored," he said.

Mr Kenyatta, who is facing a fresh election next month, broke from the tradition where a sitting president uses the inaugural address to a newly-elected Parliament to set his legislative agenda.

Mr Kenyatta asked Parliament and the independent arms of government to uphold the sovereign will of the people.

The president said the country spent more than two decades crafting a new constitutional order establishing the State organs and processes that provide certainty and predictability to the national life.

"In our current circumstance, the elections we held on August 8, the swearing-in of Governors, Members of both Parliament and County Assemblies, the verdict of the Supreme Court, the call for fresh elections on October 17, my address to you this afternoon and the set term of a president until a new one is sworn in, are all part of our laid-down constitutional processes," Mr Kenyatta said.

He put Nasa leaders on notice with a warning that the government will not tolerate anyone intent on disrupting the country's hard-won peace and stability.

"No matter the political noises that are loudest during elections, I want to assure every Kenyan, and the world, that every arm of government is in place and operational.

There is no void and there is no lacunae. Kenya is progressing along the path drawn for it by the Constitution," he said.

He directed the three arms of government to be free from intimidation or control by any foreign or domestic actors and special interest groups.

"No technicality, no conference, no process, no power or influence, should ever stand in the way of that sovereign will," Mr Kenyatta said.

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