, NAKURU, Kenya, Apr 16 — President Uhuru Kenyatta has warned that any leader who incites Kenyans or engages in hate speech will face the full force of the law.
The President made the announcement Saturday as he led Kenyans in thanksgiving prayers at Nakuru’s Afraha Stadium where calls for a united and peaceful country was a rallying call.
The President together with Deputy President Willam Ruto said Kenya has opened a new chapter of reconciliation and gave a pledge to undertake all efforts to ensure that Kenya’s elections will always be free of violence.
President Kenyatta said the full force of the law will be applied to anyone, no matter his or her standing in society, who engages in incitement.
“Any leader who promotes hatred and violence should know that the full force of the law will be applied without regard to their position,” said the President. “Anybody who will threaten the peace and stability of Kenya will face the full force of the law.”
The President said it has been a habit for politicians to incite people and lead the public to hate each other but that trend will change and such leaders will be held accountable.
“It is the leaders who incite who will suffer and not the people,” said the President as he called on Kenyans to unite.
The thanksgiving prayer was called to mark the end of the false allegations that faced the President, the DP and the other four Kenyans at the International Criminal Court arising from 2007/08 post-election violence.
President Kenyatta said the ordeal he went through was painful, but he has no bitterness and has forgiven his accusers
“It has been a painful journey for all of us. Many lost life and many properties were destroyed. As leaders, we have said that we will never go back to that route,” said the President. “We would not wish any Kenyan to go through the experience we have had at the ICC.”
The Deputy President said the country through went a shameful chapter during the post-election violence during which many lives were lost and a lot of property was destroyed.
“Unfortunately innocent people were framed as responsible for what happened,” said the DP. “All those events are written in the worst chapter of Kenya’s history,” the DP added.
The Deputy President urged Kenyans to forgive each other and build bridges of friendship to forge a stronger nation.
He said Kenya’s happy days are in the future and called on some leaders to stop attempts to open issues of the past with an aim to create frictions.
“Let us pick up from where we are and move forward. There are many who want us to be prisoners and hostages of what happened in the past,” said the DP.
The Deputy President said never again shall the people of this country engage in violence on account of political competition.
Multitudes thronged Nakuru’s Afraha Stadium where the Rev Bishop Mark Kariuki led clergy from all regions of the country to lead Kenyans thanksgiving prayers to mark the end of the false accusations that stalked the President and the Deputy President.
Bishop Kariuki said the day marks a new beginning for Kenya, a beginning of peace, forgiveness and reconciliation.
“A new chapter has opened for this nation and it is a new page that will ensure unity shall prevail,” he said.
The Bishop cautioned leaders who are trying to ignite hatred by reminding Kenyans of issues they have reconciled over.
“Do not take us back because we those who were affected have forgiven each other,” he said, while also pointing out that Nakuru was the most affected county during the post election violence.
“For decades, Nakuru has been affected by violence; but now there is a new dawn of peace and tranquility. We have come out of those times and we are looking ahead at prosperity,” he said.
Christian and Muslim clergy united in praying for the country’s leaders and for peace and prosperity in the country.
The leaders called for peace and cautioned those who are bent on inciting hatred and conflict.
“There are leaders who do not want peace and forgiveness. We pray that they fail,” said Bishop Kariuki.
National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale thanked Kenyans for standing by the President and the DP as they went through the ordeal of battling the cases.
Duale thanked African leaders who supported Kenya against the mistreatment ICC was subjecting Kenyan leaders to.
He said President Kenyatta’s biggest legacy was the peace and unity he and the Deputy President have tirelessly worked for.
“No blood will be shed again on the basis of political competition. Let us start the journey of uniting Kenyans,” said Duale.
Senate Majority Leader Kithure Kindiki said Kenyans should forgive and reconcile with each other.
National Assembly Deputy Majority Leader Naomi Shaaban said: “Let us pray that God does not allow those with bad intentions to set Kenyans against each other.”
Senate Deputy Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen said Kenyans have learnt from the post election violence and no politician will ever be allowed to gain political power using violence. He said the President and his deputy “carried the cross for a crime they were not responsible for”.
“It will not happen again in this country that any politician to get political power by spilling the blood of Kenyans,” he said.
Luo Council of Elders Chairman Mzee Nyandiko called for unity and urged Kenyans from all parts of the country to work together.
“I see peace for the youth in all parts of the country and I call on our youth to unite with other Kenyans for prosperity,” he said.
Former Head of Public Service who is now the chairman of Lapsett Amb Francis Muthaura, former Cabinet Minister Henry Kosgey, former Police Commissioner Hussen Ali and radio journalist Joshua Sang also spoke at the event where thanked Kenyans for praying for them.
Muthaura summed up what he thought of the cases when he said: “It was a political project and Ocampo seized it saying that he will teach Kenya a lesson. He is the one who has been taught a lesson by this great country,” said Muthaura.
The lawyers who led the legal battle to end the cases that faced the President, his deputy and the others were also introduced at the functions with Lawyers Karim Khan and Ken Ogeto making brief speeches.