, ELDORET, Kenya Jan 21 – Succession politics dominated a reconciliation rally in Eldoret presided over by President Mwai Kibaki to unite communities that were affected by the 2008 post-election violence.
More than 60 MPs set stage for President Kibaki\’s successor as his term expires in 2012 with the names of Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and suspended Higher Education minister William Ruto topping the list of possible contenders.
The debate was started by Kuria MP Wilfred Machage who challenged the President to name his successor, a move that was supported by Chepalungu MP Isaac Ruto who promised to mobilise support for whoever President Kibaki anoints.
But Cherangany MP Joshua Kutuny was more categorical and asked President Kibaki to anoint Mr Ruto and Kenyatta to lead the succession race.
"We have picked Ruto in Rift Valley and Central have settled on Uhuru. We want the two to be our flag bearers and take over from your unrivalled leadership," said Mr Kutuny.
But President Kibaki was non-committal to the quest by the MPs and instead called for unity amongst Kenyans for the development of the country.
President Kibaki said: "Why don\’t you agree to each other properly. There is only one Kenya and we have to agree to bury our differences and work together."
He called for a speedy resettlement of the Internal Displaced People (IDPs), an exercise he said should be completed by June, this year.
"Sufficient funds have been allocated for the resettlement of the IDPs and it\’s encouraging that MPs and other leaders are committed to ensure the IDPs issue is solved once and for all," said President Kibaki.
But politics took centre stage in the highly charged rally with MPs mainly drawn from Rift Valley, Central and parts of Eastern calling for a common stand come the 2012 General Election.
"The 2012 political wave that divided us is over and there are signs of unity. We are brothers and sisters and you stood by me and I am also ready to support you," said Mr Kenyatta. He contested for the presidency in 2002 on a Kanu ticket but lost to President Kibaki.
He appealed to residents in the region to work together and move from door to door to preach peace in order to have a united Kenya.
"In 2007, a bad wind swept across us and separated us. It\’s good we have opened our eyes and the evil wind is behind us. Lets forgive each other and move on," said Mr Kenyatta.
Former Industrialisation minister Henry Kosgey disclosed that the country had opened a new chapter in its history and praised President Kibaki for sustaining a rich legacy for the time he has been at the helm.
Mr Kosgey who is widely considered a close ally of Prime Minister Raila Odinga was taken to task by the crowd to state his political stand on the new political dispensation that is taking shape in Rift Valley.
But, in response, Mr Kosgey said, "Dalili ya mvua ni mawingu (Clouds signify that rain is coming). Do not push me too much. I will soon tell you more about the way forward."
However, upon more prodding from the crowd, he admitted in vernacular that he was in unity with the Rift Valley MPs saying that Dr Sally Kosgei who was absent during the rally would expound more on the stand they had taken.
Internal Security Minister George Saitoti said absence of peace in the Rift Valley spelt doom for the whole country as the region was the melting pot of Kenya.
"Kenya is respected worldwide. Lets foster peace as this will create more job opportunities and bring down the poverty levels in the country," said Prof Saitoti.
East African Community Minister Hellen Sambili rooted for the trial of the Ocampo six in the country saying with the new constitution in place, the country\’s judicial system was capable of handling the post-poll violence cases.