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Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s State of the Nation Speech in Parliament

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s State of the Nation Speech in Parliament

Dear Kenyans,

Today, I join you in this honourable House to reflect on the state of our great nation. This occasion is not just important; it lies at the heart of our democracy and nationhood. It is in the spirit of accountability and democracy that I have over the last two years addressed the nation to explain what my administration has achieved in fulfilment of the constitutional requirements laid out in Articles 10, 132 and 240.

I want to affirm that our nation is strong: That the Nationalist Covenant, negotiated by our Founding Fathers at independence is alive and well. We have re-imagined it, enhanced it and expanded it. The spirit of the Lancaster covenant that bound us together as a nation in the 1960s is still with us. And although we experienced turbulence in the 2007 Post-Election Violence; we re-affirmed our commitment to the Nationalist Covenant in August 2010 when we proclaimed a new constitution. I am humbled to pioneer the establishment of the Second Republic, as envisioned by our Second Constitution.

To establish the First Republic, our Founding Fathers sacrificed their years of youth; defended the ideals of the Nationalist Covenant with their very lives; and stayed the course until we were free. Every one of us owes a sacred duty to them and a responsibility to pass on a secure, united and re-imagined nation to future generations.

As I stand here, there are brave Kenyans in uniform who echo the youthful valour and patriotism of our Founding Fathers. With skill and tireless determination, these young heroes are fighting a cruel enemy who is burning cities and countries across the globe.

Our solders in Somalia, their police and intelligence counterparts at home are all keeping their part of the bargain by defending the nation. They are protecting the republic; but more fundamentally, they are securing the broader Nationalist Covenant. Their duties have at times demanded the ultimate price. And for this, we owe them gratitude and an eternal place in our hearts.

As their Commander-in-Chief, I honour them and want to assure their families of our utmost consideration and respect for their service and sacrifice.

And while on this, I want to assure this Honourable House that my government has every intent to uphold the dignity of our soldiers. As their Commander-in-Chief, I will not allow them to be subjected to undue harassment.

Now I would like to take a moment to salute our fallen heroes from the Defence Forces and the National Police Service. I would also like to ask the House to stand for a minute of silence in their honour.

Today I invite you to a moment of national self-reflection with me. And at a personal level, I am compelled to return to the question of our nationhood as crafted by our Founding Fathers and re-imagined by us in August 2010. In discussing this question, I will expound on the Nationalist Covenant.

This covenant was crafted as an exchange of promises and guarantees between the communities that make Kenya. It was built as a bond that waxes the 42 communities to one Nation.

It defined our Lowest Common Denominator; our Irreducible Minimum as a collection of communities. It was our ‘unwritten contract’ binding ‘one to all’ and ‘all to one’. This is what convinced all of us to join hands and constitute Kenya.

But as the country developed, we took this Nationalist Covenant for granted. We assumed it until we saw other nations losing it and falling asunder! We ignored it until we were faced with the dangers of losing it in 2007. Now it is at the centre of our National Question and we must tackle it head-on!

The question we must now pose is this: What is our individual and collective responsibility to this Covenant? If it is the base upon which our nationhood is built, how must we engage with it? How do we protect it from ourselves and others? And how do we preserve it for our children and generations to come? I have a few thoughts.

The Nationalist Covenant is a bond that brings together 40 Million Kenyans. It is greater than

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