This is a historic time for Kenya. Our politics and elections have always been emotional, captivating, and theatrical. However, the most recent edition displayed our most excellent democratic performance ever. This day follows a calm election and an intense, issue-based campaign in which significant coalitions comprised of powerful political parties presented their agenda to the people of Kenya for consideration. The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) oversaw an election that was transparent and credible, the outcome of which accurately reflected the democratic will of the Kenyan people.
Unsatisfied parties utilized their right to petition to the Supreme Court, whose hearings and decision not only reassured skeptics, but also restored confidence in our electoral and judicial institutions. This is a moment that many nations strive for, and we should not take it for granted. This is the third election held under the 2010 Constitution of Kenya and the second democratic transition conducted without incident.
We have engaged in a strong discussion over the current moment and what it requires of us, and we have worked to determine if this is a constitutional or economic moment. We have proved the maturity of our democracy, the strength of our institutions, and the resiliency of our people throughout this process.
My rivals and I rallied vigorously to provide the citizens of Kenya with the most alluring agenda and the greatest strategy for attaining it. I remain steadfast in my belief that all parties in the past election did their best to propose a route for achieving the goals of the people. The just concluded election was a choice between opposing visions for the Kenya we desire. Elections and democracy involve unifying contests, not divisive ones.
Our security services, the IEBC, and the judiciary were put to the ultimate test. The majority of these institutions met our expectations. We can only hope to do better in the future, and I pledge that my administration will endeavor to set the bar even higher for the upcoming election.
Our extraordinary success in shattering the glass ceiling by increasing women’s involvement in leadership positions is a big dividend of our electoral and democratic process. Seven women were elected governors, up from three at the previous election. The number of women elected to the National Assembly increased from 23 in 2017 to 29 in 2018. In addition, 7 female Vice Governors and 3 female Senators were also elected.
It is very evident that this election had many more winners than elected officials. People are by far the greatest winners. We have done well. We have paved the way in an increasingly difficult climate where democracy is constantly put to the test.
Based on our most recent performance in the election, we infer with confidence that we are nearly at our destination.
Permit me to thank the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) for having the bravery to do the right thing in extraordinarily difficult circumstances. As an institution, they have established a new uncompromising, professional, and exemplary standard for public service, raising the bar for the integrity of our public officials and institutions.
It is fitting to honor our Judiciary for upholding its heritage of courageously providing much-needed direction, particularly in assuaging post-election fears and addressing concerns in a compassionate, credible, and authoritative manner. Its articulation of the Constitution’s aims and ideals has strengthened our democracy and established the rule of law. Our
Judiciary is currently without question Kenya’s greatest constitutional benefit. It has successfully arbitrated three election disputes and safeguarded our Constitution against formidable assaults. Our judiciary has exhibited openness in its processes and decision-making, so bolstering its independence, authority, and credibility.
I would also like to thank our security services for their commendable performance during a time of crisis in our country. Their service and brave sacrifices above and beyond the call of duty have ensured the safety of our nation. I am aware that our armed forces successfully rejected deliberate efforts to sow discord and subvert the will of the people.
My highest praise goes to all candidates who competed for various positions. Their participation increased competition and broadened the public discourse that forms the basis of democratic choice. Special acknowledgement is due to my worthy opponent and friend, the Honorable Raila Amolo Odinga and his running companion, the Honorable Martha Wangari Karua, who ran a vibrant and dedicated campaign.
Millions of Kenyans in the Hustler movement deserve our special gratitude for relentlessly rallying for the campaign and performing a revolutionary accomplishment that rivals the daring feats of our famous liberation fighters. This includes all of our campaign volunteers, agents, and mobilizers, as well as those who contributed in any way possible to keep the movement moving.
I value the support, prayers, and encouragement of our religious community and institutions. I commend the Church in particular, and the Islamic religious leadership in equal measure, for their substantial support of us and our campaign. We also commend them for continually seeking options for interfaith understanding and solidarity, which have greatly contributed to the promotion of tolerance and unity in Kenya. I pledge that we will strengthen our relationship, collaboration, and support for faith-based institutions, which continue to play a vital and essential role in our communities.
At this time, it is crucial that I talk directly to the youth, particularly those who engaged in some manner in the political campaigns. I praise them for avoiding the temptation and pressure to be utilized as agents of strife and disruption during electioneering. I also commend individuals who sought out positions in campaigns and elections, so contributing to the strength of Kenya’s democracy. Your participation in the activities of political parties, campaigns, and elections is the beginning of your political internship, even if your candidates did not win. My political career also began as a young campaign volunteer right out of college. Experience and lessons learned should serve as the foundation of your leadership path.
We have all come from this contest stronger, more united, and more aware of the issues that affect us all. We must remember that we were all elected to ensure that our children go to school, that our people have food and quality healthcare, that our youth have jobs, and that our workers have dignified livelihoods, since it is our firm conviction that every effort counts.
Dreams and aspirations reside in the hearts of Kenyans, who battle daily against formidable challenges, frequently with nothing but dogged optimism. Some succeed, some fail, and the remainder have no chance at all. Today, I stand before the nation and the world as a living testament to the fact that with faith in God, a willingness to work hard, and dedication to a goal, dreams can become a reality in due time. I pledge to throw open every door of opportunity and to keep them open until success stories become the norm rather than the exception, and I encourage all other leaders to do the same, so that we can increase opportunity and chance for many more individuals.