KISUMU, Kenya Oct 22 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has admitted that the handshake he had with former Prime Minister Raila Odinga has given him peace of mind as he drummed up support for the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) in the lakeside city of Kisumu.
President Kenyatta took Kisumu by storm, after declaring that for the last two years, he has ruled without fear.
He said the peace the country is currently enjoying is good for investment to uplift the country’s economy.
“What has given me peace in my heart is what is called the handshake,” he told jubilant crowd in Kisumu where he was accompanied by Odinga, with whom he shook hands in March 2018.
Their handshake was the culmination of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report handed over to them on Wednesday, and which calls for far-reaching constitutional reforms two years to the 2022 General Election.
Kenyatta said the national government has initiated a number of projects in the region and without peace, they will be meaningless.
“We can build railways, ports and sports complex, but if there is no peace in the country, that will be useless,” he said, pledging more development in the lakeside city.
He said it is his joy to see Kenyans live peacefully as brothers and sisters.
The President hailed the resilience of Raila during the handshake period, noting that he did not back off despite criticism from a section of leaders.
Kenyatta said Raila has shown a character of a statesman, putting the interest of Kenyans ahead.
“We have reached here because of the steadfastness of Raila, he was not after his own interest but for the people,” he said.
President Kenyatta who was accompanied by Raila and a host of Cabinet Secretaries took the opportunity to drum up support for the BBI which he launched on Wednesday in Kisii.
He said the document is the best for the country which has always witnessed chaos after every electioneering period.
Kenyatta said BBI has a number of goodies ranging from Ward Development Fund, addressing gender rules to increasing counties’ revenue allocation.
“Where is the problem when we say we want to increase revenue to the counties and to give our MCAs funds to help the people,” he said.
Raila too said BBI will bring a lot of change in the country noting that the document is youth-friendly.
He said the tax period advanced to young people will allow them to grow in business and build the nation.
“The youth will get credit from the government to start-up businesses and will start paying tax after seven years while in business,” he said.
Raila said graduates too will be exempted from payment of the loan advanced to them by four years and until they get formal employment is a major boost for the youth who are grappling with unemployment.
All the leaders who spoke promised to ensure BBI is passed when it is brought to Kenyans in a referendum later next year.
President Kenyatta visited a number of projects that included ongoing construction of Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium at Mamboleo, Uhuru Business Park, Kisumu Port and Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Sport Complex.