By Joan Akello
After 50 years of service in Kenya’s parliament, President Mwai Kibaki bid it farewell yesterday. Kibaki is the longest serving parliamentarian in Kenya’s history.
In his speech, President Kibaki recognized Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka for their contribution towards reshaping Kenya after the post election violence in 2007/2008.
“We were able to stay focused to transform Kenya,” Kibaki said. He also thanked Parliament for passing a record 227 bills into law in his ten year reign.
Kibaki said in 2012 alone, parliament passed a record 90 bills, making it the most active legislative year.
He praised the Speaker Kenneth Marende, who helped to keep the government together after his election in the middle of the post-election violence and chaired a session to oath parliamentarians who declined to swear allegiance to the President, claiming his election was rigged.
Kibaki’s election in 2002 inspired the country and African politics for bringing forth one of the most historic fall of the incumbency. Kibaki defeated Uhuru Kenyatta, the nominee of outgoing President Daniel Moi, who earned the name “Professor of politics” for his machinations to hold onto power.
He also reassured of a peaceful transition to the leadership Kenyans will elect next year.
“I am however very much around and looking forward to a peaceful, just and fair election,” President Kibaki said.
He urged legislators to be faithful implementers of the new Constitution and Vision 2030, saying the two
documents will lead Kenya to issue based politics, social equity and economic prosperity.
He stressed that the two documents outline what the country needs in order to realize much progress in the various fields especially with the devolved government.
The President challenged the leaders not to pay lip service to the documents. He also cautioned Kenyans against the curse of minerals and oil destabilizing nations in particular. He said they should learn from the best global experiences in that sector.
President Kibaki further observed that for the last 50 years the country has progressed well mainly by putting the priorities right thus ensuring a proper mix of private and public sector participation in the economy.
He added: “When I look back at the journey we have travelled in the last fifty years, I thank God for guiding Kenya through many challenges and the many opportunities that he has opened up for our beloved country.
Paying tribute to the countries past leaders, the President said he was privileged to work with great Kenyan leaders such as Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Tom Mboya, Daniel arap Moi, Masinde Muliro, Ronald Ngala, among others.
He thanked the people of the then Donholm Constituency, Othaya and all Kenyans in general for their confidence in his leadership.
In his remark Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka noted that Kibaki had exhibited tolerance and commitment to instill peace in the region.
Other speakers included former Vice President Moody Awori, Speaker to the National Assembly Kenneth Marende, George Muhoho and David Mwiraria among others.