"Ensure equity, justice for all": President Kenyatta addresses Seychelles National Assembly
Kenyatta, (1st left) who is on a three-day state visit in Seychelles, addressed the Members of the Nationa Assembly on Monday. (Seychelles Nation)
Lawmakers have a sovereign duty to ensure that there is a legal framework that upholds the fundamental rights and freedoms of its people, the President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, told the Members of the Seychelles National Assembly on Monday.
In his address in an extraordinary session of the Seychelles legislative body, Kenyatta, who is on a three-day state visit in Seychelles, said that lawmakers have to ensure equity, justice for all, and promote the rule of law.
"You are also the custodians of public resources, ensuring that our resources are effectively deployed and utilised. Through these measures and by holding the executive to account, the Legislature plays a central role in shepherding national development," he said.
Parliaments also have the critical role of promoting African integration, said the Kenyan president and that "cognizant of this important role, the Assembly of Heads of State and Government established the Pan African Parliament, which is based in South Africa. We look up to our respective national assemblies to enact laws that promote intra-African trade and investment."
Kenyatta, who arrived in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, on Sunday, talked about the disruption that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused in people's lives and economies in the last two years and the negative impact of the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine.
"I commend the people and the government of Seychelles for their resilience in dealing with the pandemic by taking measures to curb the spread of the virus to protect its citizens. The Russia-Ukraine war coming even before we had recovered from the pandemic has placed additional economic stress on the world economy. I believe that these global crises are teaching us that we need to be self-sufficient. Africa can no longer afford to rely solely on outsiders to address our common challenges," he said.
Kenyatta concluded by saying "I look forward to deepening the scope of our relations in other key sectors of the economy such as agriculture. I am confident that Seychelles can benefit from the experience and technical capabilities of Kenya in pursuit of food security [....] I believe this visit places our socio-economic ties on a higher trajectory, for the mutual benefit of our people."
Meanwhile, the Speaker of the Seychelles' National Assembly, Roger Mancienne, said that the visit of President Kenyatta is a historic one and an occasion to pay tribute to the unique relationship between the two countries and their people.
"We have strong ties on the political and diplomatic levels to be sure, but what runs deeper and stronger are the personal ties that have existed between our people for a century or more. So much so that the term Kenya-born remains a distinct identity for a group of our nationals," said Mancienne.
He added that Kenya has had special significance for Seychelles because before the island nation was connected to the outside world by air, the eastern African country was the Seychellois gateway to the world.
"It was a three-day sea journey to Mombasa which I took myself on my first venture into the wider world followed by an overnight railway journey to Nairobi. These words speak for the past. Your visit today is the occasion to speak for the present and the future," he concluded.
Kenyatta, who is heading a delegation of 64 members, will visit the Vallee de Mai, one of Seychelles' UNESCO World Heritage sites, found on Praslin, the second most populated island on Tuesday before leaving for Kenya.