May 14, 2007

President Mwai Kibaki leads the nation in special prayers

President Mwai Kibaki on Monday led the nation in observing the national day of mourning and prayer in memory of the 114 people who died in the Kenya Airways plane crash in Cameroon.

Conveying his sympathies to the bereaved families, President Kibaki assured all that his Government is working closely with the Cameroonian authorities and international investigators in order to arrive at a comprehensive understanding of the circumstances that led to the plane crash.

"As a nation, we are united in grief with 26 other countries whose nationals perished in the tragic plane crash. I therefore wish to begin by once again conveying my most heartfelt condolences to the family members, friends and colleagues of the passengers and crew who died in the tragic plane crash," the President said.

The President was speaking during the inter-faith memorial service at Kenyatta International Conference Centre.

President Kibaki at the same time condemned the recent skirmishes in parts of the country that resulted into loss of life saying the Government abhorred the unnecessary deaths and suffering caused by conflicts between neighbouring communities.

He warned that the Government would take firm steps against those who perpetrate or incite others to attack their neighbours with whom they have lived together peacefully.

Saying the recent incidents of violence witnessed in Mount Elgon, Trans Nzoia, Tana River and Molo districts leading to unwarranted loss of innocent lives are a source of great concern to him personally, the President emphasized that the Government is committed to ending such acts of wanton violence and destruction of human life and property.

"Life is valuable and anybody who takes away the life of another person should expect no mercy from my Government," the Head of State emphasized.

He noted that the loss of a family member under circumstances that could have been avoided such as motor vehicle accidents, preventable diseases such as malaria and violent crime is a most painful experience.

"It also robs the families and indeed the nation of valuable contributors to the development of their communities and the nation as a whole," President Kibaki said.

In this connection, President Kibaki urged all Kenyans to join the Government in ending communal violence by co-existing with one another in peace and social harmony.

On the Kenya airways tragedy, President Kibaki said Kenyans are keenly awaiting complete answers regarding the cause of the tragedy and appealed for tolerance and patience while investigations are going on.

The President also urged all to avoid unnecessary speculation that could increase the anxiety and grief to the bereaved families.

"In the spirit of our open and caring society, my Government will continue to provide all the necessary support to the bereaved families and to avail to the public all information regarding the tragedy," President Kibaki said.

The President recalled that following the plane crash, his Government responded promptly to the tragedy and has continued to work closely with Kenya Airways and the Cameroonian authorities to provide the necessary information and assistance to the bereaved families.

He added that the Government also dispatched a team of experts to undertake investigations as well as the recovery and identification of the remains of the crash victims.

"I am pleased to note that Kenya Airways has facilitated the family members of the deceased to travel to Douala, Cameroon, to assist in the identification of their beloved ones," the President said.

Once again, the President reassured all Kenyans and the international community at large that the national carrier is among the safest airlines in the world.

He said the Kenya Airports Authority and the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority have continued to meet the required international standards in terms of modernization of the country's airports, the maintenance of aircrafts and the quality of training of airline personnel.

The Head of State called on all Kenyans to remember and support those families who have also lost loved ones through accidents, violent crime, diseases and other calamities as they pray for the families, relatives and friends of those who lost their loved ones in the Kenya Airways plane crash.

President said Kenyans should unite in praying for such families to receive God's consolation and strength to overcome the adversities that have befallen them.

As the special prayers for the victims of the Kenya Airways plane crash and their bereaved families are conducted countrywide, President Kibaki expressed hope that this occasion will also bring to mind the plight of many other Kenyans who are needy and disadvantaged.

"Let us strive to provide material, emotional and moral support to those among us who are undergoing various difficulties," the President said.

Other speakers included Vice-President Moody Awori, Internal Security Minister John Michuki and the Kenya Airways Chairman Mr. Evanson Mwaniki among others.

Source: Kenya Broadcasting Corporation

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