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» Excerpts of speech by President Kibaki

EXCERPTS OF SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY HON. MWAI KIBAKI, C.G.H., M.P., PRESIDENT AND COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF THE DEFENCE FORCES OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA ON THE OCCASION OF THE LUNCHEON CELEBRATING THE 23RD ANNIVERSARY OF THE ASIAN FOUNDATION HELD AT THE LION SIGHTFIRST EYE HOSPITAL, LORESHO ON 2ND FEBRUARY, 2013

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am pleased to join you this afternoon for the Asian Foundation Twenty Third Anniversary celebrations. The Foundation has been a significant vehicle for the public expression of the hopes and aspirations of the Asian community in Kenya.

The Foundation has also engaged in numerous development activities which have transformed the lives of thousands of Kenyans. I particularly commend you for the modernization of the Market on Limuru Road in Nairobi, as well as the job-oriented training programs which have provided a source of livelihood for our young people.

The Asian community played a very important role in the struggle for Kenya’s independence from colonial rule. It produced freedom fighters such as Pio Da Gama Pinto, Joseph Murumbi, Manilal Desai, Pranlal Sheth, among others.

In recognition of this contribution to the struggle for freedom, my Government authorized the issuance of a postage stamp depicting Pio Da Gama Pinto in the year 2008. This stamp is one of four issued under the title "Heroes of Kenya."

Moreover, we have recognized the role played by Joseph Murumbi, who was the son of a Goan father and Maasai mother and who rose to become the second Vice President of our country. During his life, Joe was a passionate collector of African art and memorabilia from across the African continent. The government has purchased this wonderful collection for the people of Kenya, and has provided for its display to the public in a dedicated section of the National Archives.

In order to promote cross-cultural understanding in our country, I have authorized and supported the establishment of the Asian-African heritage exhibition in a permanent purpose-built exhibition hall at the National Museum in Nairobi. This exhibition traces the history of the Asian community in Kenya over the last 200 years and documents their role in nation building.

I recognize that most members of the Asian Foundation are involved in business activities across various sectors of our economy. Over the last ten years, the Government has worked very hard to improve the business environment in Kenya. We have massively upgraded infrastructure, reduced business licensing procedures and simplified tax payment. In addition, we have stabilized the macro-economic environment to ensure that it is conducive to our business community. It is my sincere hope that the leaders who will be elected during the upcoming General Election will maintain and improve the development initiatives we have put in place, especially our Kenya Vision 2030.

Our new Constitution provides the foundation for our economic transformation. It guarantees the rights of all Kenyans and investors and promotes the rule of law. It also sets up accountable institutions of governance and creates an independent judiciary that is able to swiftly resolve conflicts. The forthcoming General Election provides Kenyans with the opportunity to elect leaders who will ensure the full implementation of the Constitution. I urge Kenyans across the country to exercise wisdom in the selection of their county and national leaders.

In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen, I wish the Asian Foundation great success in its future endeavors. The Government appreciates your support and partnership in the development of our great nation.

Thank you all.