Speech to the Development Partners Forum

Speech to the Development Partners Forum


Your Excellencies,

Esteemed Development Partners,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am happy to join you at the Sixth Development Partnership Forum. On behalf of the President, Government and the people of Kenya, I extend a warm welcome to our international visitors, and invite them to enjoy the delights of Magical Kenya. Please feel at home in Nairobi, and in our country.

This is the first meeting I am attending as the Chair of this Forum. Nevertheless, I understand its key objective to be the creation of a formal mechanism for our Government and its development partners to engage at the highest level.

The expectation of such engagement is that there will be greater understanding in all areas of mutual cooperation among development partners, and between the development partners and Government.

This is especially important because in the past, we have had the unedifying experience of having to talk to – but more frequently, talk at- each other through the media. Even worse, during these public altercations, the unhealthy impression was created that development partners had appropriated immense political power in exchange for development Dollars, Euro and Pounds.

A platform to review and re-chart the working relationship between Government and development partners, is therefore critical to the successful realization of development strategies.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

During this session, you will engage our Cabinet Secretaries and other public officials on the status of various agenda within the framework of the Government’s development plans. These include the general state of the economy and budget, implementation of the Constitution and Devolution and the Second Medium-Term Plan of the Kenya Vision 2030.

I will also touch on a number of emerging issues and challenges that bear on the Government’s ability and efficacy in delivering its transformative agenda.

At the end of these discussions, we hope to bring on board useful perspectives and inputs that will enable us cooperate in a better way to achieve development objectives.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I will state at this early opportunity that the Government is totally focused and committed to achieving economic transformation in a way, which will also uplift the standard of living for all Kenyans.

We fully intend to achieve double-digit GDP growth, generate food surplus, boost industrial and manufacturing capacity, and enhance the use of ICTs to reach this goal.

We have enlisted entrepreneurs, academicians, the youth, women and persons with disability as the vanguard of the economic revolution. We want every person in each of the communities of every county of this country to participate and benefit in this transformation.

Naturally, it would be absurd if such an inclusive vision for development excluded strategic and international development partners.

The Government has no problem whatsoever working with international development partners. Our understanding, of course, is that all development partners mean well for Kenya.

This means that the Government expects partners to engage in the true spirit of partnership: cooperative, facilitative and complementary.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In this spirit, I encourage you, our development partners to work closely with Government and align your programmes fully with our agenda. It will help in this respect, for you to share information with Government when planning your activities.

As you know very well, our Government is open, and shares development information freely. The reason for this is to avoid unnecessary and wasteful duplication and disharmony in strategies. Our national needs are so many and so urgent that any resources and opportunities wasted directly rob citizens of needful chances for economic improvement.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the preparatory meeting last week, many of you expressed concern about several subjects. I believe that I have an opportunity to shed some light on a number of them right now.

First of all, we share your concern over corruption and mismanagement of resources, especially in the public sector. Even in our manifesto, we recognized corruption as a singularly potent threat, not only to the successful execution of our development agenda, but also to the entire body politic.

It is the nature of corruption to parlay the same institutions and legal mechanisms meant to eradicate it to instead perpetuate and shield itself.

It will not have escaped your notice that the judicial system, constitutional freedoms and fundamental rights, as well as institutional checks and balances are often used by corruption suspects to veil themselves in legal immunity.

Besides, the procurement process, which was meant to reduce wastage, curb corruption and promote transparency and accountability, has easily become corruption’s most comfortable nest. The result of a robust constitutional order and the rule of law is that due process considerably slows down the quest for accountability and the fight against corruption.

This is not to say that we are doing nothing to accelerate things. The Presidency has considered various innovative ways of giving added impetus to anti-corruption efforts, and they are bearing fruit. I want to assure everyone that the war on corruption has unstinting political support of the Government. The President and I welcome your constructive engagement on this issue.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Insecurity has become an issue of great concern, not only to our Government, but also investors, development partners, regional and international states. Our government fully appreciates its fundamental mandate to defend the country from all external and internal security threats.

We are working around the clock to reverse the undesirable security trajectory. Whereas expeditious solutions are desirable, there is understandable reason for the gradual pace at which our Government is making progress in regard to security.

I would like you to appreciate insecurity holistically as a systemic phenomenon. A diverse array of factors has contributed to insecurity in Kenya.

They include slow reforms in the security and penal institutions, corruption, terrorism and instability in the Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes region.

The refugee problem, as well as the easy movement of weapons out of theaters of conflict, combine with the internal dynamics of corruption in the security sector and sub-optimal policing capacity to inflict damage to our society. We are not passing the buck – we are just stating the facts.

The specific measures the Government is undertaking to radically improve security include the promotion of greater accountability throughout the public service, closer border administration (immigration), a more robust management of the refugee problem, including the repatriation of refugees to their post-conflict homes.

An improved budgetary allocation to the security agencies is aimed at enhancing equipment, training and the terms of service to enable them combat increasingly sophisticated criminal syndicates. We also intend to increase the number of security officers in all services, and to invest in intensive use of technology to combat various criminal activities.

Community policing and the promotion of a vigilant citizenry will also reduce the space needed for crime to proliferate.

Our Government sees the strengthening of our security apparatus as the best means of dealing comprehensively with internal, as well as external security threats. Of course, terrorism remains an international problem requiring the concerted efforts of broad-based, dedicated coalitions.

Similarly, our country’s location in a region traversing several unstable territories, hardly helps our situation. On the contrary, it stretches our capacity to keep ourselves safe while investing in diplomatic, political and military initiatives to stabilize those territories. Moreover, our national self- interest in domestic stability and security conflicts with the intentions of terrorists, pirates and war-mongers.

Anyone interested in Kenyan development and prosperity must be interested in Kenya’s security. Similarly, anyone interested in our region’s stability and security must also be interested in Kenya’s security.

I have to state this obvious fact to underscore our disappointment with the failure of certain quarters to engage honestly and consistently with regard to Kenya’s role in regional peace and security initiatives.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

There has been concern that the Government intends to institute repressive legal frameworks, especially against the freedom of expression, the media and the Civil Society. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

We believe a free media and a vibrant civil society are essential pillars in any democracy and they help foster sustainable, equitable, long-term growth and stability.

Legislation relating to the media is a mandatory constitutional deliverable under Article 34 of the Constitution. The parameters of the necessary
legislative framework are clearly set out in the Constitution.

The Constitution is very clear on this-Freedom of the Press, Expression, Assembly and citizens’ right to access information. Our Constitution protects, and will always protect our freedoms and rights. We cannot snatch it.

Kenya has a vibrant media industry operating in a free environment. In fact, most of the media organizations operating in the country belong to private investors, with just one Public Broadcaster – the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC). Both the private media houses and KBC operate independently, free of state or political interference.

However, the Media too like the civil society should balance these freedoms with responsibility. They should be accountable on what they say and do.

We have no intention or ability to repress or curtail constitutional freedoms. I urge all stakeholders to engage on this issue with full and proper reference to the relevant constitutional framework.

The Government will continue to maintain the freedom of a robust media as a pillar of our democracy.

Similarly, alarm has met the Public Benefits Organisations law. The Civil Society has contributed to national progress in many spheres through its calls for greater transparency and accountability in the public sector.

Everyone now agrees that transparency and accountability are indispensable to governance. We encourage the civil society as well as all entities falling within the jurisdiction of the Public Benefits Organisations Act, to embrace transparency and accountability.

The Banking and Financial services sector is now fully regulated to prevent fraud, money laundering, illegal transmissions of stolen funds, or funding for illegal activity, including terrorism.

An opaque civil society, receiving large amounts of funding from all manner of sources, with all manner of interests is not only anomalous in the age of transparency and accountability; it is a tempting conduit for funds not welcome in the formal economy.

There is need to align the activities of civil society organisations to the national interest and the broader development agenda. Donors need the reassurance that they are not funneling funds to dodgy characters, and our framework aims to relieve the burden of constant auditing to evaluate aid effectiveness.

I expect Development Partners to encourage this sort of transparency in the civil society sector. As you all know, a vibrant civil society movement is guaranteed by our Constitution. Moreover, it perfects our democracy. It is here to stay.

We are also alive to the Aid effectiveness principles that include mutual accountability, alignment and harmonization. Furthermore, we understand development partners’ support to the civil society as part of the development support to Kenya. But this matter is within the jurisdiction of Parliament as of now.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I do not feel it necessary to demonstrate our Government’s fulsome commitment to constitutional implementation and devolution beyond our self- evident undertakings and plans.

After the inauguration, the allocation for county governments was enhanced to more than double the constitutional minimum amount. We are, through the Ministry of Devolution, implementing every key initiative of the Government through the devolved units.

Similarly, we have constituted our administration in full conformity with the Constitution. At the same time, we are fully conscious of the separation of powers and institutional checks and balances entailed by our constitutional order.

Our relationship with the Legislature and the Judiciary is complementary, consultative and deferential. We have resisted, and will continue to resist any pressure to overreach or infringe constitutional boundaries. Our Government is a responsible Executive.

Constitutional implementation is an expectation of the Kenya Vision 2030. So is the successful implementation of Devolution. Our Government is the custodian and trustee of the Vision 2030. Full execution of the Vision 2030 remains our unshakable commitment. In it, we see an excellent opportunity and strategy of delivering the crux of the Jubilee Manifesto: National Socio-economic Transformation, and Shared Prosperity.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As I conclude, I want to assure all of you that our Government will receive your input and consider it in good faith. We will engage with our characteristic dynamism and energy. My door is always open for constructive dialogue and consultation.

I wish you all fruitful deliberations and a happy stay in Kenya, and look forward to studying the outcomes at the end of the meeting.

I declare the Sixth Development Partnership Forum officially opened.

Thank you very much,

And may God bless each one of you.