Ruto, Raila’s newfound friendship lights up fete

President Uhuru Kenyatta claps as former prime minister Raila Odinga hugs Deputy President William Ruto (right) during the National Prayer Breakfast at the Safari Park hotel on 31st May, 2018.

Deputy President William Ruto struck a conciliatory tone with Opposition Leader Raila Odinga Friday during the Madaraka Day Celebrations at Kinoru Stadium in Meru County.

The DP, who invited Raila to speak during the event referred to the former Premier as ‘his brother’ and friend and described him as a national leader whom he welcomed to speak because “we are in another dispensation.” Ruto stated that tribalism, hate and corruption were a threat to development.

“As our President, you have led this nation by example, your gesture of shaking hands with Raila and calling for unit has shown Kenyans that unity is the only way to succeed as a country,” the DP said.

He called on Kenyans to emulate President Kenyatta and foster unity across political party lines.

“We must eliminate the politics of hate and live together in harmony. I would like you to promise to support the unity created by these two leaders by fostering relations between leaders across the political divide,” he said.

The President reiterated his commitment to uniting Kenya and said fighting corruption was key to his government.

“Every Kenyan should know that political stability based on unity, and honest government and people, are the crucial factors in building real and lasting prosperity that changes all our families,” Kenyatta said. He said the spirit of reconciliation requires each Kenyan to build bridges with those they have had differences and conflicts with in the past. 

“We can inspire mankind by extending our harmonious brotherhood, and our determination to promote a deep sense of honour as individual citizens and as a people,” added the president.

The NASA leader, who took his time on the podium, called on Kenyans to embrace the move by national leaders to work together to fulfill the dreams of independence.

Highlighting his contribution to the struggle for multi-party democracy and the history of independence Struggle, Raila spoke of the unity of the leaders and communities in an effort to gain self-rule from the British Government.

“The leaders who came together to ensure that the detainees held in Lodwar during the freedom struggle worked in unity to ensure that all Kenyans attained freedom and self-rule,” he said.

He recalled that when the late President Jomo Kenyatta declared Kenya was free on the steps of Harambee House all Kenyans celebrated the victory and embraced self-rule with the promise to fight illiteracy, disease, and poverty.

“Founding Fathers of Kenya promised to fight these three vices and now 55 years later Kenyans are still fighting poverty, tribalism and disease in their pursuit of happiness and prosperity,” he said.

Raila reiterated that the handshake between him and President Uhuru Kenyatta was in the spirit of unity and finding solutions to the problems facing the country. He noted that unity among Kenyans was key to accomplishing the dreams and promises of the leaders who made sacrifices for independence.

“Our freedom did not come easy and we cannot let tribalism, poverty, corruption and disease threaten our independence as a people,” Raila said.

The former Prime Minister said the focus of their unity as leaders was to facilitate development and wealth creation for all citizens. “We want jobs for all our youth, women and men, as well as pensions for our elderly and wealth for us as a nation,” he said.

Ruto also acknowledged the presence of South Africa’s Deputy President David Mabuza. Mr Mabuza said the newfound unity among Kenyan leaders was a shining example for all African leaders to unite. “We must applaud Kenyan leaders for fostering unity after a difficult election period and call for all of Africa to unite,” he said.