, BARINGO, Kenya Apr 28 – Deputy President William Ruto has asked leaders to focus on uniting Kenyans, saying the move would create a conducive environment for development.
He said it was possible for the country to ‘sit and reason together’ despite being from different political persuasions.
“A united country is able to work together. I would want us to forget about any differences that we may be having and direct our energies at making Kenya a great nation,” he said.
Ruto spoke on Saturday at Kabarak University grounds, Nakuru County, during the funeral service of Jonathan Toroitich, the eldest son of former President Daniel Arap Moi, who passed on last week.
He said it was disheartening that some leaders were still preaching hate, division and ethnicity at a time the world had evolved into one, closely-knitted community.
President Uhuru Kenyatta, through a condolence message read on his behalf by his brother Muhoho Kenyatta, asked Kenyans to emulate Toroitich’s industriousness.
“We can transform Kenya if we stick together, concentrate on our dreams, and work diligently towards them. That is what Toroitich showed the world by thriving in sports and agriculture,” he said.
Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka supported Ruto’s sentiments, saying it is through unity that Kenya would move forward.
“May we follow the footsteps of the late Jonathan and listen to each other. With unity, we can empower each other and make every Kenyan economically independent,” said the former Vice President.
The Deputy President eulogised Toroitich as an ambitious, simple and down to earth Kenyan who had many friends.
“We share grief with all Kenyans following this huge loss. We pray and stand with the family. We will also continue to work together,” noted Ruto.
He asked counties to intensify their fight against cancer, saying Kenya was losing many lives to the disease.
In particular, Ruto said the devolved units should put to maximum use cancer screening equipment, which the national government had installed in their respective health facilities.
“Cancer can be managed and treated but during its early stages. We, therefore, have the duty to ensure that on regular basis, we go through screening,” he added.
The Deputy President said in order to bring down cancer-caused deaths, counties would also “need to work with us by intensifying not only the screening but also awareness”.
South Sudan President Salva Kiir said Toroitich will be missed because of his immense contribution to sports.
On his part, retired President Mwai Kibaki observed that Kenyans need not to just mourn but celebrate a legend.
“He was a role-model to many who pioneered motor sports champion. May the good memories of Jonathan drive us to serve the society diligently,” said Kibaki.
Council of Governors Chairman Wycliffe Oparanya remembered the late Toroitich as a thriving farmer who transformed semi-arid to arable land.
“With more funds to counties, we can follow the example of the late Toroitich, and make Kenya a good secure country,” said Oparanya who is also the Kakamega Governor.
In his speech, Baringo Senator Gideon Moi eulogised his brother Jonathan as a man of the people, a philanthropist who supported many causes.
“We will continue holding hands together and support one another the way our brother taught us,” added the Senator.
Senators Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo Marakwet), James Orengo (Siaya), Susan Kihika (Nakuru), Moses Wetang’ula (Bungoma) said the country had lost a resourceful and hardworking man.
They said they will intensify their campaign for politics that is informed by development in honoring of the late.
In memory of Toroitich, ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi asked leaders to preach harmony among Kenyans.
Among those present in the funeral service were former First Lady Mama Ngina, several Cabinet Secretaries, Governors, Senators, Members of Parliament and Members of the County Assembly.