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Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta has promised to
bring end to corruption and promote national unity

by Bedah Mengo NAIROBI, June 1 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday vowed to step up the fight against corruption, unite the country and implement various development projects to better the lives of citizens before his term ends in 2022.

Kenyatta, addressing celebrations marking the 56th Madaraka (self-rule) Day in Narok County, said corruption remains a bigger problem in Kenya, as it wastes away public resources.

"The war against corruption is a war we are undertaking with no joy, but one that will continue with no reluctance," he said.

"We must return to that time when honesty and modesty were not traits of weakness, a time when the spirit of selflessness brought harmony and equity.

"Corruption has threatened this spirit."

Kenyatta asked the judiciary to help in the fight against corruption and deliver justice to the public by hearing cases being prosecuted and determining them expeditiously.

"Stolen money must be recovered.

"Culprits must vacate their positions and serve jail terms for the process to come full circle," he said.

Kenyatta said Kenyans demand to see the end product of the several investigations and prosecutions that are ongoing.

"In the recent past, I have refrained from constant reference to our war on corruption.

"This is not a waning of determination, but rather, a clear indication of the confidence and trust that I have in our investigation and prosecution agency," he said.

Kenyatta said he would not stop in his resolve to rid Kenya of corruption until there is plenty within Kenya’s borders for current and future generations.

"What makes a nation a nation is not its wealth, but its people’s trust in each other.

"Corruption is greed: it steals our wealth and our trust alike," he said.

He asked Kenyans to shun things that divide them, adding that he initiated talks with opposition leader Raila Odinga to make the country better.

"We must be bold enough and reclaim the unity we enjoyed at independence," Kenyatta said.

He said Kenyans are divided along tribal or religious lines because the differences have been used, in politics especially, to place imaginary wedges between them.

Kenyatta said he looks forward to handing over 500,000 house keys to first-time home owners by June 1, 2022 as part of his affordable housing project under the Big Four agenda.

Kenya last week inaugurated the region’s first ever mortgage refinance firm, the Kenya Mortgage Refinance Company, with Kenyatta noting the firm will boost home loans’ uptake.

He announced that in the coming weeks, he will commission projects under the United Nations Office of Project Services, which will deliver 100,000 homes across Kenya.

"The delivery of this singular project of 100,000 housing units represents a major economic transformation and the single largest housing project in our nation’s history," he said.

Kenyatta lauded the growth of information and communication technology in Kenya, describing it as the greatest catalyst in the country’s quest to become Africa’s technology hub.

"Every day, I am inspired by reports of new applications and software developed to support farmers, schools, and market access for produce.

"Online shopping today is as prolific as it is diverse.

"These applications are often as simple as they are life changing, spurring local economic and social development and indeed quality jobs for our youth to heights previously unknown," he said.

Kenyatta said the Madaraka Express train will reach Mai Mahiu in the Rift Valley in the coming months, marking the completion of Phase 2A of the Standard Gauge Railway project.

"It will inject new economic vigor and activity into the area.

"There will be more investment and jobs when we commission the Naivasha Industrial Park, located at the border between Narok and Nakuru counties, and Special Economic Zones in Kisumu, Mombasa’s Dongo Kundu and Lamu, among others," he said.

Kenyatta also announced that the government would avail 1 billion shillings (10 million U.S. dollars) in support of cancer treatment facilities across the country, to ease the exorbitant costs that Kenyans incur in the treatment of cancer-related ailments.


Kenyan leader seeks to ease doing business to boost economy

NAROK (Xinhua) -- Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday issued two policy directives to remove bottlenecks that have caused a reduction in overall spending and business activity in the economy.

Addressing celebrations marking the 56th Madaraka (self-rule) Day in Narok, southwest of Nairobi, Kenyatta directed government accounting officers to settle all pending payments that do not have audit queries on or before the end of the current financial year, June 30.

"Unfortunately, pending payments have negatively affected many businesses, particularly those whose bulk of capital is now locked in non-payment.

"This has also reduced overall spending and business activity in our economy," he said.

Kenyatta also directed the National Treasury to secure full compliance of the directive on clearing of pending payments and called on county governments to follow suit.

He said all payments for supplies made to national and county governments must be processed and made promptly and on a priority basis, saying the directive is in line with the government’s policy to promote the local industry and enterprise, "Buy Kenya Build Kenya."

The government is the largest consumer of goods and services in the economy and many small businesses are built to service this demand, Kenyatta said.

The second policy directive, he said, involves the importation of goods by small and medium-sized traders.

He has directed the Kenya Ports Authority, Kenya Revenue Authority and Kenya Bureau of Standards to honor pre-shipment inspections done by agents appointed by Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), Kenyatta said.

"Imported goods, therefore, should not be subjected to additional inspection at the port of entry except for cases legitimately suspected not to conform to the set standards," he said.

Kenyatta said the directive is intended to strike a balance between enhancing the ease of doing business in Kenya on one hand and protection of the public from harmful imports on the other.

The directive on importation of goods was issued after consistent feedback from citizens and the business community that KEBS has, despite its good intentions and in lawful discharge of its mandate, constrained the importation of goods by small and medium-sized enterprises, he said.

The government will also initiate business tax reforms and the restructuring of port logistics operations, the president said.

"All efforts will be made to guarantee the predictability of business operations," he said.

Kenyatta said Kenya has made great strides on the economic front even though Kenyans continue to experience the struggles that usually come during moments of change.

He said Kenya is on a consistent march forward and is transforming into the nation that the forefathers prayed and fought for.

According to Kenyatta, the country’s economy is the largest and most diverse in the region, reflecting the hard work, strength of character and innovative spirit of its people.

Police arrest terror suspect in southwest Kenya

NAROK (Xinhua) -- Kenyan police said Saturday they are holding a terror suspect who was arrested as he tried to access Narok stadium, where president Uhuru Kenyatta presided over Madaraka Day celebrations.

Adan Galhai, alias Urisha Galhai, was first arrested by military officers on Friday night as he tried to enter the stadium on suspicion of terror activities but he managed to escape, a Narok senior police officer said.

"He wanted to enter the stadium yesterday (Friday) and when searched, his national identity card and another identity card written as national security were recovered from him.

"When he was being questioned about the same he escaped," the police officer said.

Galhai, 22, was rearrested on Saturday morning when he went back to the stadium.

His motive was not immediately established.

"Following the incident, security in and around the stadium was heightened," the police officer said.

The suspect, who was later picked up by officers from the anti-terror unit for questioning, acknowledged that he had been undergoing training in Somalia.

According to police, Galhai, who has been living in an Eastleigh residential estate in Nairobi, is suspected to have "connections with the terror group al-Shabab."



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