, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 22 – It was a sombre mood during a special event held in Nairobi Friday to honour survivors and victims of the Al Shabaab attack at El Adde in Somalia a week ago.
It was also a rare moment when the government and Opposition spoke in one voice of unity.
They called for unity beyond political affiliation and religion to ensure all Kenyans stand together in fighting a common enemy that this time round crossed the red line and killed Kenyan soldiers in their masses.
“The enemy must understand this perfectly. We stand in solidarity as a nation. There is no governing party, there is no Opposition. There is no religion we are not Muslims or Christians, we are unbowed Kenyans,” President Uhuru Kenyatta said.
“We shall not be cowed and we shall fight this fight and we shall win it,” he promised.
Former Prime Minister and Opposition leader Raila Odinga said it was a moment for Kenyans to unite to face the challenge of terrorism.
“At a moment like this we stand together as Kenyans. There is no government, there is no Opposition … we stand here as parents, husbands, wives and citizens of Kenya,” he asserted.
Deputy President William Ruto turned to the Bible to give them hope and solace in God.
“I want to remind their families and the survivors that they are blessed because the Bible says so, that blessed are the peacemakers.”
“They paid their ultimate price in pursuit of peace for Somalia, for our region, stability and security of the world we live in.”
Joined by the international community, Defence Cabinet Secretary Rachael Omamo and Chief of Defence Forces Samson Mwathethe said it was clear that Kenya suffered beyond what people can comprehend.
But despite the immeasurable loss, Mwathethe vowed that Kenyan forces will hunt down the terrorists and teach them a lesson for the unspeakable attack.
“I want to re-assure you and all Kenyans that the blood of our Kenyan heroes was not shed in vain. We will find them deep in their hiding places, we will smoke them and suffocate them in their caves, and we will follow them to the end in the honour of every drop of blood of our fellow Kenyans,” he vowed.
Through their assurances and calls to Kenyans to stay together in trying moments, one could read the unbowed attitude of a resilient country that has learnt to pick pieces and fight on.
It was the same spirit that according to Ruto had seen Kenya rebuild the Westgate Mall, re-open the Garissa University and restore life in areas hit by terrorists in the past.
In the same way, the leaders believe, a Kenya united will come out of the sludge that Al Shabaab fighters dragged them into last Friday.