President William Ruto said Thursday that Kenya’s democracy has registered faster and more significant steps forward.
From the August 9, 2022 poll which he described as “an intensely contested one” and which saw him elected President, Ruto argued that Kenya and her people have made “very positive progress” as far as elections are concerned.
“It (election) was peaceful and democratic, again confirms the coming of age of our democracy,” he told MPs in a joint sitting as 13 Parliament officially opened for business.
According to the Head of State, the fact that the election was so close is an indication that “what unites us is always much greater than what divides us.” He said the conduct of both those who sought to be people’s representatives and the electorate, in the period before, during, and after the poll, was an indication of a country that is rising and one that has conquered a dark electoral past.
“We gather here on the tranquil side of a competitive election where we all came to grips with the turbulent energies of political competition that characterize our uniquely Kenyan brand of democracy,” he said
“With the support of Kenyans, we have dislodged ethnicity as the central organizing principle of our politics, thereby retiring – for good – the ethnic mobilization and personality cults, together with their culture and practices of exclusion, discrimination, patronage, tribalism, and nepotism,” he added
The president also heaped praise on all who participated in the poll, alluding to the fact that they embraced a ‘paradigm shift’ and engaged in issue-based politics, feasible programs, and transformative commitments aimed at positively affecting the well-being of all Kenyans.
“This only happens in Kenya, the sitting Deputy President became the candidate of the Opposition and the Leader of Opposition became the candidate of the government, and as things would be, the opposition candidate won the election and became President and the President became the leader of the opposition party. That’s the beauty of our democracy,” he said amid huge applause in the House
“In the process, we affirmed the sovereignty of the people of Kenya as the ultimate decision-makers as envisaged in the constitution,” he added
The president expressed satisfaction with the developments made in Kenya’s political sphere, particularly in the election of representatives at various levels. He gave an example of Parliament which recorded the highest number of re-elected MPs. In the National Assembly, a record 193 members have been re-elected, 50 more than in 2017, while in the Senate, 17 senators have been re-elected.
He said this confirms the increased confidence of the people of Kenya in their leaders and institutions, “affirming the maturity of our democracy.”
He also cited the election of women legislators elected into single-member constituencies terming it another milestone.
“In this year’s election, 29 women were elected members of the National Assembly, six more than in 2017. This is a manifestation of the growing confidence in the contribution of women leadership in decision-making in our governance and political institutions. I am certain that this positive trend will continue into the future,” he said
President Ruto said the confidence demonstrated by Kenyans in the leaders and institutions should inspire them to raise the bar in their service to the nation and accountability to the electorate.