“If you want to go fast, go alone, but if u want to go far, go with oth­ers” – Uhuru Keny­atta ad­dresses Ugan­dan Par­lia­ment

By: Jacky Kemigisa

To­day was no or­di­nary day in Par­lia­ment as mem­bers turned up in large num­bers to lis­ten from the vis­it­ing Kenyan Pres­i­dent, Uhuru Keny­atta.  Speak­ing to mem­bers of the Ugan­dan Par­lia­ment, Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta fo­cused his ad­dress on mat­ters of se­cu­rity, in­fra­struc­ture and in­te­gra­tion.

He em­pha­sized the need for a strong part­ner­ship if the re­gion is to over­come the chal­lenges that have hin­dered it from at­tain­ing so­cio-eco­nomic in­de­pen­dence, 50 years af­ter gain­ing in­de­pen­dence from its colo­nial mas­ters.

Picture2Uganda was Kenya’s biggest ex­port mar­ket un­til 2014 when it was over­taken by Tan­za­nia. In 2013, Kenya ex­ported goods worth  632 mil­lion Eu­ros to Uganda.

“We are go­ing to build a stan­dard rail­way and then it will just take 24 days to move goods from Mom­basa to Kam­pala.With its com­ple­tion, the stan­dard gauge rail­way will dra­mat­i­cally re­duce cargo trans­port costs by 60%,” said Pres­i­dent Keny­atta

Mu­sev­eni agreed with his guest say­ing that the com­ple­tion of the stan­dard gauge rail­way will en­sure that cargo from Mom­basa to Kam­pala takes 24 hours from the cur­rent three days.

We will achieve it by un­der­stand­ing and play­ing our re­spec­tive roles as gov­ern­ments, to­gether with our cit­i­zenry; the po­lit­i­cal op­po­si­tion, civil so­ci­ety and the pri­vate sec­tor added Pres­i­dent Uhuru.

“I sug­gest that at this time in our his­tory, we must be united in seek­ing above all else pros­per­ity for our peo­ple”

Every en­deavor we un­der­take is im­pacted by a sin­gle re­al­ity that 50 years into our in­de­pen­dence, we are yet to achieve full so­cio-eco­nomic as­pi­ra­tions of our peo­ple.”  Keny­atta fur­ther added.

Uhuru re­minded MPs that we have been wit­ness to the fastest, sus­tained eco­nomic growth in hu­man his­tory, whose ben­e­fits have been felt mostly in Asia. And while and we have ob­served from a far; coun­tries mov­ing from wretched poverty to great wealth, our peo­ple still suf­fer.

“We must look at this and see our own fu­ture, we are to­day grow­ing at the same phase like the Asian tigers did, at the time of our In­de­pen­dence, we un­der­stand that the only way to catch up with them is to pro­duce more goods and ser­vices that are glob­ally com­pet­i­tive and to trade more with each other re­gion­ally and to ac­cess greater amounts of in­vest­ments. Our part­ner­ship as coun­tries is crit­i­cal to mak­ing this hap­pen”- Uhuru said

How­ever Keny­atta rec­og­nizes all these won’t be achieved if the chal­lenges of in­se­cu­rity and in­sta­bil­ity in the re­gion are not dealt with.

“We have chal­lenges on every side” said Keny­atta, “our armies in So­ma­lia bat­tling a force whose aim is the de­struc­tion of hope and di­vi­sion of our peo­ple but we must con­tinue to forge an even more pow­er­ful se­cu­rity frame­work to en­sure that they do not have a space to op­er­ate in our re­gion.”

He added that the se­cu­rity and sta­bil­ity of the re­gion’s neigh­bor­ing coun­tries is im­por­tant if the re­gion is to achieve the goals it has set. “Our neigh­bors in south Su­dan, Bu­rundi and DR Congo are also fac­ing ma­jor se­cu­rity chal­lenges and our dreams of be­com­ing a pros­per­ous hub will never be­come a re­al­ity if our neigh­bors con­tinue to have in­sta­bil­ity.”

He  also said that it is the job of Kenya and Uganda to work to­wards forg­ing the se­cu­rity and sta­bil­ity that will pro­mote sus­tained peace in the re­gion. say­ing that the two coun­tries have al­ready taken ini­tia­tives that will in the end  to re­store peace in So­ma­lia and Bu­rundi.

Uhuru did speak pro­foundly about the role of youth as to­mor­row’s en­tre­pre­neurs, whose dream is to as­pire to make an hon­est wage from an hon­est day’s work.

“It’s not the oil or gold that we have be­neath the ground that will en­sure our de­vel­op­ment and pros­per­ity, but our young peo­ple are our great­est re­source,” said Keny­atta

He con­cluded with a proverb that called for Unity of African coun­tries.

“If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go with oth­ers.”