OFFICIAL SPEECH BY THE RT. HON RAILA AMOLO ODINGA, EGH, MP, MSc. Hon LLD ON THE OCCASION OF THE CONFERMENT OF HONORARY DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF SCIENCES (HONORIS CAUSA) BY JARAMOGI OGINGA ODINGA UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DURING THE 6th GRADUATION CEREMONY HELD ON FRIDAY, 14th DECEMBER 2018 AT THE UNIVERSITY GRADUATION SQUARE.
H.E Hon Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya.
The Chancellor, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology, Dr. Vimal Shah
The Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Education, Amb. (Dr.) Amina Mohamed;
The Vice Chancellor Prof. Stephen Agong’
Mr. President, let me take this opportunity to most sincerely thank you for honoring the university’s request to be part of this great celebration today.
I want to congratulate the graduands who through dedication and hard work have made this day a great success. I thank and commend the parents and guardians who have come to witness this day for their sacrifices, support and prayers for the graduands. I also commend the University Administration for the hard work and sacrifice to realize today’s achievement. Again, congratulations to all the graduands and may you apply the knowledge that you have acquired for the good of our great country.
I would also like to appreciate all friends and development partners who have come to celebrate with us today. In particular, I recognize the H.E. Behgjet Isa Pacoli, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Kosovo. I would also in a special way appreciate our Chinese friends led by Prof. Wang Rufa who have travelled long distance to be with us in this graduation ceremony.
This University is strategically located at the serene beaches of Lake Victoria. I applaud its focus on the development of Kenya’s cultural heritage.
The location of the University is not only friendly for pursuit of academic excellence and scholarship but also suitable for the high profile research as well as community outreach. It should excel in these.
I want to encourage the University to work closely with the neighboring by counties in establishing an enabling research and outreach agenda that will boost the socio-economic profile of the region. It is my advice that the knowledge being generated in the University should be used to support and train farmers, fishermen and other artisans on the relevant skills that can stimulate growth and development.
This institution was not an isolated initiative throughout the modern history of this country; families and communities have invested heavily in education. They view university education as the means to escape poverty, to obtain gainful employment, to create wealth and to raise the standards of living; and to empower the next generation to lead a better life than themselves. And it is rightly so. The surest way to empower an individual is to give him or her education. Education enables people to take care of themselves and to understand the society in a broader way. Thus, education and by extension knowledge are fundamental and foundational in the realization of sustainable development.
We realize now more than ever that the World is evolving rapidly, technology is changing and human beings are investing in new technological advances as a ways of life. We must therefore not lose focus of innovations and research that is geared towards making education globally competitive.
Ladies and Gentlemen, today marks a special turn of event in the actualization of the “Handshake” that changed the direction and mood of our nation in March this year.
The Handshake and the support for it that followed, was a demonstration of our determination as a nation to learn from past mistakes and missteps and prepare to be great.
It indicated our determination as a country to figure out what has worked and what has not worked in the past and perfect them.
I am glad that our academic institutions recognised it and this university has moved fast to honour it. When we look into our past, we will notice that what have worked for us are unity, focus and determination.
When we wanted independence from colonialists, we united and focused on it. And we won.
When we wanted a new Constitution, we united and focused singularly on it. We applied faith and fortitude towards this goal and, again, we won.
With unity and determination, we can never fail.
Today, we are within reach of a new era of prosperity and greatness as a nation. We only need to rediscover the determination and unity of the past and then seek the support of our friends to realize our goals and get to the Promised Land that we set out for. We are glad that this university recognizes that reality and that is why it has hosted us here today.
As a country we must never again agree to be divided by politics and tribe.
With my brother President Uhuru Kenyatta, we have agreed that we must do whatever it takes to help Kenya move forward by addressing the issues that we believe have been holding us back.
We are agreed that nations are judged by how they navigate turbulent and challenging times like the ones we have gone through in recent years and particularly at election time.
We have agreed to focus on building resilient institutions, resilient democracy and a resilient economy that works for everyone.
Resilient democracy will ensure that we can compete for power openly and even disagree strongly, but we don’t lose sight of our goals as a nation.
We have agreed that politics, party, tribe, race, religion, region, should never prevent us from seeing the common purpose that informed our struggle for independence.
We are agreed that building a nation requires that we mingle our different faiths, tribes, beliefs and desires in a way that promotes the wellbeing and survival of the nation.
We came together because we realized that that this grand social contract on nationhood and statecraft has been fading and must be rediscovered.
We need your support, fellow Kenyans. Let us not oppose each other and turn against neighbours because of party, tribe, religion or mother tongue. Let’s oppose or support depending on what is good for our country.
And we are agreed that fighting corruption, tribalism, impunity, ending divisive elections and ensuring shared prosperity is good for our nation. Let us support these.
Kenya was and continues to be looked upon as a possible source of inspiration for Africa and other Third World countries. Our success or failure is not ours alone. Let us always have this in mind and do all in our power to make this country an inspiration to our people and our continent again.
Thank you and may God bless you!
It is now my pleasure to invite H.E. the president to address the congregation