Uhuru and Raila root for unity, warn against early campaigns

President Uhuru Kenyatta (center), African Union Envoy Raila Odinga and Muhoroni MP Onyango Koyoo at the burial of former chairman of Youth Enterprise Bruce Odhiambo at Koru in Kisumu on January 19, 2019. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition chief leader Raila Odinga insist their their unity is about development and not 2022 politics.

Raila kicked off the debate when he told Kenyans not to be preoccupied with succession politics but instead support them to work for the people.

He said his unity with Uhuru was about resolving the challenges Kenyans face.

“I wonder why some people are running around propagating divisive politics. That is not not what we need,’’ said Raila.

He revised how he was forced to soften his political stand when the country was in a political crisis after the 2017 elections.

“But we agreed that the interest of Kenya supersedes individual interests, and this why we ceded hardline positions to work together,’’ said Raila.

The two leaders spoke in Koru, Kisumu County, during the burial of former National Youth Fund chairman Bruce Odhiambo.

Raila, who is also the African Union High Representative for Infrastructure, said they will continue to promote good governance. He said the handshake was paying off.

“Yesterday, we were in Kisumu to commission a dredger to open up the port for large vessels. Soon a new port is going to be built,’’ Raila said.

Earlier, Muhoroni MP Onyango Koyoo and his Dagoretti counterpart Joseph Kiarie and Kisumu Deputy Governor Mathews Owili praised the handshake, saying it was a political milestone.

Kiarie said if the spirit of the unity exhibited by the President and Raila is anything to go by, then “Kenyans should now recite the national anthem line of “Raha na tupate na ustawiiiii.”

Dr Owili said the handshake laid an opportunity to slay the dragon of tribalism.

The President said all Kenyans had a right to be in the government and to get equity in service provision.

“No community should feel or suffer ethnic exclusion. These are things we must confront now,’’ said the President.

President Uhuru said Kenyans have an opportunity to reap from the peaceful political atmosphere and political goodwill.

“We want to work together to resolve problems affecting us without having to fight each other,’’ he said.

On the sugar industry, the President told cane farmers to wait for the supplementary budget lined up to offset their Sh2.6 billion.

This was in response to Raila, who had on behalf of cane farmers, nudged the President to speak on the farmers woes.

He said Muhoroni and Miwani factories were under receivership while Chemelil, Nzoia, Sony as well as Mumias were equally in financial straits.

“Your excellency, the farmers have asked me to raise the matters with you,’’ Raila said as he drew the President’s attention to the teething problems. He also cited the recurring Nandi-Muhoroni border skirmishes, and the controversial multi-billion Koru dam aimed at forestalling the perennial floods menace.

The President tasked his special delivery unit to follow up on the projects and ensure that they are completed as scheduled.

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Kisumu Deputy Governor Mathews OwiliRaila OdingaPresident Uhuru KenyattaMuhoroni MP Onyango KoyooBruce Odhiambo