SPEECH OF THE CHIEF GUEST HON. PETER MUNYA CABINET SECRETARY MINISTRY OF TRADE, INDUSTRY AND CO-OPERATIVES ON THE OCCASION OF THE 4TH GRADUATION CEREMONY OF THE CO-OPERATIVE UNIVERSITY OF KENYA ON THE 6th DAY OF DECEMBER, 2019, KAREN AT 8.00 AM
The Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Education, Prof George Magoha
The CAS MOE and PS State Department of University Education and Research, Prof. Collete Suda
The Chairperson, The Co-operative University of Kenya Governing Council, Dr. Ibrahim Ali,
The Co-operative University of Kenya Council Members,
The Vice Chancellor of the Cooperative University of Kenya Prof Kamau Ngamau
The Vice Chancellors and Deputy Vice Chancellors of other Universities present
Distinguished guests and leaders of the co-operative movement,
Members of the University Council
Members of the University Senate
Members of the University Management Board
Parents and guardians
Our 2019 Graduands
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to join you today in celebrating the 4th Graduation Ceremony of The Co-operative University of Kenya. I wish to take this opportunity to congratulate all the graduands. On this special day, I wish to acknowledge the selfless contribution of your parents, guardians and sponsors towards your achievement that we are celebrating today. I am sure your own hard work, the academic and professional training and mentoring you received from your lecturers and personal mentors have contributed immensely to the realization of this epic moment in your personal history. Allow me to also thank the Vice Chancellor and his team for inviting me as the chief guest for this 4th Graduation Ceremony. I feel truly honoured and glad to be here today.
Kindly allow me to focus the first part of my speech on what will be expected of you. I am told that a total of 2838 graduands will from today be released by this great university into the local and international job market. The lecturers who have been with you have done their level best to equip you with the necessary skills to not only seek employment but also become entrepreneurs and employers in your own right. I have heard more often than not, graduands like yourselves complaining that there are no jobs, and yes to a certain extent you could be right. But my challenge to you this wonderful morning is one: that you have the power and ability to create employment opportunities for yourself and your peers. I challenge you to leverage on the term papers you created and presented to your lecturers, or the project you did in your final year of study, capitalize on the social capital that is with the person you have shared this intellectual journey for the last 2 to 4 years. Sometimes it is the simplest of solutions to the most complex problems that create business opportunities. Who, if I may give one or two examples, would have imagined that sending money electronically from one person to the other would have created a multi-billion shilling industry in the name of M-Pesa with an active customer base of over 30 million Kenyans, or that doing away with minimum bank balance would have created a bank as powerful as Equity with an asset base of 340 Billion Kenya Shillings. What am I driving at by sharing these examples with you, is that the simplest of solutions to the most basic of problems can result in the creation of a huge opportunity and that is one of the things I am trusting a good number of you seated here today, if not all, will venture out to tackle. We long for the day when solutions to societal problems will be solved by way of research and innovation by campus students or fresh graduates like yourselves. So believe in yourselves and the potential you hold towards making Kenya and indeed the whole world a better place.
So go out there and create jobs!
Ladies and gentlemen
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Co-operatives continues to enjoy cordial relationships with this great university. I am happy to note that this university was for a long time a department under the state department of Co-operatives. My ministry is particularly happy with the strides that the university continues to make and we pride ourselves as the initiator of what is now known as The Co-operative University of Kenya. We have an ongoing commitment as a ministry to foster and inculcate proper training values on matters Co-operatives and am glad to report here today that the Co-operative Philosophy continues to be entrenched in all the graduands that pass through this great University. It is worthwhile to note the important role the Co-operative movement plays in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of this great nation Kenya. The movement in Kenya is the seventh in the world and the largest in Africa accounting for about 45% of the country’s GDP. This not only goes gives an indication of the immense power co-operatives have but also goes to show the huge potential, which is largely untapped, the movement continues to hold. However, we are also cognisant of the ever-changing environment within which the co-operative sector operates, key among are issues is global warming. This squarely falls within the theme of this year’s graduation “Co-operatives in a changing ecosystem” It is my belief that the graduands seated here today will apply the knowledge acquired to tackle some of these challenges in order to improve themselves and the communities they come from. My challenge to you all, therefore, is to think not only outside the box but far and beyond. It is important to note that by and large the Co-operative Function is a devolved function and that then means that there are huge opportunities in the counties. My prayer and appeal to all those graduating today is that of encouraging this young and well-equipped graduands to take the skills learnt here at this University and make a difference in the Counties and communities we come from.
Mr Chancellor Sir,
The University has had discussions with my Ministry on the mega project that you have here called the Learning Resource Center (LRC). This project has a noble cause of hosting the first Co-operative Museum in East and Central Africa, which is aimed at showing the gains and strides made over the years by the movement. We acknowledge that, as Marcus Garvey would say and I quote, “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots”. We applaud the efforts the university is making towards preserving this rich culture on issues co-operatives and it is by understanding where we have come from that we would be able to make better decisions going forward. We pledge, as a Ministry, to continue partnering with this great university in realising this great project. We applaud the efforts the University leadership continues to make towards completing this project and as a ministry, we are firmly behind you. My clarion call to the movement would be that of supporting this mega project that will not only preserve our rich co-operative history but also help build the Co-operative body of knowledge through Co-operative Development, Research and Innovation.
Ladies and gentlemen,
As I conclude, let me remind us all that a university is as great as its alumni. It is my humble prayer that we shall have the university alumni come back to support projects of the university such as the Learning Resource Center. Let us all rally behind initiatives of this university and together in line with the sixth co-operative principle which encourages Cooperation among co-operatives.
I wish the graduating class of 2019 the best of success as you venture out into the next phase of your young careers. Go out there and build the better and greater Kenya that we all want. God bless you all and may God bless The Co-operative University of Kenya.