NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 8 – Calls for dialogue rent the air once again as leaders from government and the Opposition met during the memorial service of Raila Odinga’s first born child Fidel Castro Makarios Odinga, who died Sunday morning.
President Uhuru Kenyatta and CORD co-principal Kalonzo Musyoka spoke in one tone reiterating the importance of dialogue in resolving differences so as to ensure a united Kenya with President Kenyatta stating his readiness to engage with the Opposition.
“I think the key for me is that it is indeed possible for us to have a one Kenyan nation as we see here today, and the onus is on all of us as leaders to ensure a better Kenya for our people; I am personally willing and I have no issue whatsoever in sitting down and talking and bringing people together… I have no problem. We should move away from the shouting and be able to talk, that is how people build respect for one other and that is how great things happen,” said Kenyatta when he paid his tribute to Fidel at a funeral service held at The All Saints Cathedral, Nairobi.
Musyoka who broached the dialogue discussion insinuated that the Opposition had in vain tried to reach out to the government to ventilate some of the issues affecting the country, taking the time to urge leaders across the political divide to consider the future of Kenya by reaching out to each other.
“Isn’t it amazing that the whole nation is here, Mr President is here, and the Opposition is here. Is it difficult if we truly loved Fidel for us as a nation to say 2015 we shall follow this young man’s example of dialoguing and sit together and ask ourselves some basics?” asked Musyoka.
He singled out the latest spat between Jubilee and CORD legislators on the floor of the House during the consideration of the Security Act where members exchanged blows after they disagreed over the legislation which has been touted as the probable solution to Kenya’s insecurity.
The former Vice President’s sentiments were reiterated by Raila Odinga’s elder brother Oburu Odinga who asked the political leadership in the country to take advantage of the unity displayed during the grieving period to look back and make 2015 count as they year of peace and meaningful engagement.
Similar calls for dialogue were echoed following the death of Homa Bay senator Gerald Otieno Kajwang’ in November last year, as leaders across the political divide mourned his loss.
Deputy President William Ruto also described the late Fidel as a person who had desirable qualities with a positive outlook on life.
“Fidel was a young Kenyan who had a great heart, a positive future and held a lot of promise for Kenya,” said the Deputy President.
“People from all ethnicities, religions and political affiliations were friends of Fidel,” he said.
Former President Mwai Kibaki also sent his tribute in which he described Fidel as a man who had a horizon full of opportunities. The former President said it was unfortunate that Fidel had passed on just when he had started increasing his involvement in public affairs. “You brought up a man of the people,” he said.
His mother Ida Odinga celebrated the life of her son, describing him from birth to that fateful Sunday morning when he was found dead.
“The darkest day of my life was that 4th January 2015. That’s the day Fidel passed on; but Fidel has not left us without memories, he has left us with a beautiful wife – that is our daughter – we are going to look after you, we are going to love you and you are an Odinga and that is what you will remain,” said Ida.
For the first time since the announcement of his death, Fidel Odinga’s wife Lwam Getachew Bekele took to the podium to talk about the man she described as the love of her life, she was however overtaken by emotion and could not read the letter she had written to him.
“My love, where do I even begin… a few years ago I met my 6 foot prince charming, the swiftness of your departure remains shocking for me, but I cannot question God. He called you home and now I must trust that the living God who gave you to me will take care of us,” read part of the poem.
Fidel Odinga will be laid to rest this Saturday at his grandfathers Kang’o Ka-Jaramogi farm where the Odinga family cemetery is located.
An autopsy conducted earlier this was inconclusive.