Uhuru and Raila reaffirm their political truce as Ruto backs initiative

President Uhuru Kenyatta with former PM Raila Odinga during the funeral service of the late Joseph Kamaru at Muthithi Secondary School in Murang'a. [Photo: Standard]

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga yesterday reaffirmed their commitment to their political truce.

The President asked Kenyans not to be distracted by cheap politics and said he and Raila wanted to ensure that political competition would be based on ideology and not ethnicity.

Uhuru said his relationship with Deputy President William Ruto and with Raila had been informed by a need to unite Kenya. The President was speaking at the burial of benga maestro Joseph Kamaru in Kigumo constituency, Murang'a County.

“Kenya will never achieve her true position unless we unite and bring our collective strengths together, unless we respect one another. Competitive politics must not mean hostilities between communities,” Uhuru said.

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He said Kenyans needed to take a moment to question themselves about the origin of the ethnic animosities and destruction of property that are fuelled by politics. “We need to find the source and if there is nothing else that we can do, make sure that we have lasting peace,” he said.

He noted that the culture of fear surrounding elections where citizens travelled to their rural homes due to fear of ethnic flare-ups needed to end.

Raila said his relationship with Uhuru was not connected to the race for State House in 2022. “Canaan to us was a Kenya with plenty and we decided that it will not be about NASA alone. That is why Uhuru and I decided to come together; it is not about 2022. That will come and pass. We want to unite Kenyans," Raila said.

Mr Ruto said closing ranks with the Opposition would help the country achieve its development agenda. He said he supported the Building Bridges initiative. “You have our unqualified support as you unite the country and I will make sure that the development agenda does not stall,” Ruto said.

Nominated MP Maina Kamanda criticised leaders whom he accused of working to ensure that the agreement, christened the handshake, between Uhuru and Raila did not hold.

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“The leaders are against this handshake because they have an agenda but the ordinary citizen has seen its value,” Mr Kamanda.

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President Uhuru KenyattaRaila OdingaHandshakHandshakeBuilding Bridges