By Moses Njagih and Alllan Kisia
Nairobi, Kenya: A day after Supreme Court upheld his victory in March 4 elections President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta worshipped at a church in his former school and asked Kenyans to focus on national reconciliation.
Accompanied by his mother, former First Lady Mama Ngina Kenyatta, Uhuru also asked Kenyans to forge ahead in unity and focus on the development agenda.
Speaking a day after the country’s highest court rejected two petitions challenging the validity of his election, Uhuru also asked Kenyans to pray for him even as congratulatory messages rolled in steadily.
Uhuru returned to what he termed as “my home of worship”, at St Austin Catholic Church for the Easter Sunday Mass, asking Kenyans to maintain peace and challenging Christians to pray for the spirit of reconciliation after the rigours of this month’s elections.
St Austin is within the compound of St Mary’s School, the Catholic-run school in Westlands, where Uhuru studied for his secondary education between 1969-1979
Yesterday the President-elect also called for support, even as he now waits the swearing in on April 9. “I am asking for your prayers and support. Pray for peace and unity in the country even as we come together to work on reconciling our nation,” said Uhuru.
The President-elect said it was crucial for Kenyans to maintain the peace they upheld before, during and after the elections, saying only then will they create a conducive environment for national development.
“It is that peace which will give us the chance to deliver on what we have promised to do. We have committed ourselves to God and the people of Kenya to see that change comes and we seek your support through prayers,” he went on.
Uhuru said that after the political activities that culminated in legal tussle at the Supreme Court it was now time for Kenyans to move on with their daily activities. He said that the country must get back to its normalcy after the Easter break.
“I am looking forward to all of us getting back to work on Tuesday once the Easter break is over,” he said.
Uhuru triggered a light moment in church when he explained the absence of the company of his family, saying they had gone for an Easter break, but one, which he could not afford to take.
“You know yesterday (Saturday) I was not certain how things will go. I was not sure if my election would be validated so I could not join my family in enjoying Easter,” he revealed.
Uhuru was also accompanied some members of his Jubilee Coalition, including Water minister Charity Ngilu, Tharaka-Nithi Senator Prof Kindiki Kithure and Samburu Women Representative Maison Leshomo. On his arrival, Uhuru told the clergy that had lined up to receive him led by parish priest Father John Mbinda that he was happy to return home.
In church, he explained that though he had been a regular at the church since his childhood, his presence there was rare in the last two years as the Sundays found him in different parts of the court pursuing his political agenda. The church is also where the President-elect and his family attend mass.
“I have grown up here, I was an altar-boy here when I was young and though in the past two years I have not been as regular, I will now be joining you often,” promised Uhuru.
Meanwhile the President-elect continued to receive congratulatory messages from local and world leaders. Uhuru and his deputy, William Ruto received congratulatory messages from the US, the African Union Panel of Eminent African Personalities and Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
Locally, Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero and Garissa Senator Yusuf Haji congratulated the winning pair. President Barrack Obama, “and the American people”, also congratulated the people of Kenya on the peaceful conduct of the election and commended Prime Minister Raila Odinga for accepting the Supreme Court’s decision.
“We urge all Kenyans to peacefully accept the results of the election. The electoral process and the peaceful adjudication of disputes in the Kenyan legal system are testaments to the progress Kenya has made in strengthening its democratic institutions, and the desire of the Kenyan people to move their country forward,” the US Office of Press Secretary said in a statement.
It added it now was the time for Kenyans to come together, “to fully implement the political, institutional, and accountability reforms envisioned in the Kenyan Constitution.”
“Kenya is an important member of the international community. We welcome and wish to underscore the importance of Kenya’s commitment to uphold its international obligations, including those with respect to international justice,” it further added. Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, on behalf of the AU Panel of Eminent African Personalities however without mentioning Uhuru, congratulated the winners and paid tribute to the tremendous patience Kenyans exercised as they waited for the conclusion of the much-anticipated process.
“In accordance with the Constitution, the decision by the Supreme Court is final, and I applaud the Prime Minister’s reaffirmation that he will honour the ruling as such,” Annan said in a statement.
Raila had moved to court to challenge the electoral body’s declaration that Uhuru won the March 4 elections. Annan called upon Kenyans to do the same, and to continue to exercise calm, restraint and tolerance that they have exemplified over the last month.
The Executive Secretary of IGAD, Mahboub Maalim, congratulated the judges of the Supreme Court for reaching a unanimous decision on the presidential petition.
He welcomed the President-elect as a key member of IGAD Summit of Heads of State and Government soon after being sworn in on April 9.
Maalim further called upon the Kenyan people to continue maintaining peace.