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.
“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.”