KISUMU, Kenya, Jan 12 – President Uhuru Kenyatta, his Deputy William Ruto and Opposition chief Raila Odinga have all called on leaders to shun divisive politics and embrace unity to ensure peace in the country.
President Kenyatta, in a speech read on his behalf by Defence Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo in Kisumu, said the move would create a conducive environment for more development to be realised in the country.
The President said a united Kenya would further consolidate the gains made by the Jubilee government since it assumed power in 2013.
“We do not want the politics of tribalism and division. We are all focused on building bridges of unity and friendship,” he said on Saturday during the installation of Phillip Anyolo as the Archbishop of the Kisumu Archdiocese and repeated the same remarks when he attended a wedding for the daughter of Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi, where he shared a podium with his Deputy Ruto for the first time this year, amid rising political temperatures sparked by two key Jubilee Party members David Murathe who resigned as the party’s Vice Chairman and Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria.
Murathe has vowed an all-out war with the DP, saying he is unfit to succeed President Kenyatta when he leaves office in 2022, while Kuria claims the President has neglected Central Kenya on development, but he has since withdrawn the remarks and apologized publicly to the head of State.
At the Kisumu event, President Kenyatta said Kenyans must embrace one another for common purpose.
“We need to respect our differences so as to strengthen our unity. We welcome the church in helping the government champion for the realisation of the Big Four agenda,” he added.
The president noted that Kenya had entered into a new phase in the fight against corruption and impunity, and religious organisations “must play a role in this with a little more vigour”.
On his part, Ruto said more needs to be done to uplift the livelihoods of Kenyans, and asked leaders to embrace the politics that is oriented to empowering Kenyans, said gone are the times for excuses and scapegoats.
“We must deliver on the Big Four agenda, and create opportunities for all. Women need to be empowered and youths need jobs,” he said.
Odinga noted that despite failing to make it to Canaan, his Handshake with the President provided an opportunity for the country to further devolution and fight tribalism and corruption.
Odinga and Ruto are on political cross-roads, with their allies claiming the Opposition chief is out to rock the ruling party following his March 2018 handshake with President Kenyatta who has since embraced him after a bitter fall-out that followed last year’s presidential elections.
Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula said there is need for Kenyans to look back and see what they were fighting for in the past “as part of our learning curve in politics”.
“Now we have some political hygiene, let us be unified. We need to work together as a country and the church must be prominent in pushing for this,” he said, adding that Kenyans need to sit together, assess the current constitution and see what needs to be worked on.
Cardinal John Njue said Kenyans need to think and work together to prepare a better heritage for those who come after them.
In the event, Ruto gifted the new Kisumu Archdiocese with a brand new car.