SECTIONS

Uhuru Kenyatta: The fall of BBI is my greatest regret

 President Uhuru Kenyatta waves at members of the public after touring Nzoia Sugar company on August 2, 2022. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

As President Uhuru Kenyatta's term comes to an end after tomorrow's decision at the ballot, his biggest regret is the propaganda and lies peddled to his natives against his missions on handshake and by extension the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI)

According to the President, Mt Kenya region was the main beneficiary of handshake and would have reaped most from BBI which was seeking to establish equitable share of resources.

Speaking to Mt Kenya region through vernacular radio stations on Sunday, the President disclosed that given that the region was not going to produce a president after his exit, the constitutional amendment bill would have acted as a collateral to the region and no President would oppress it.

"I'm grateful that the handshake brought peace but I regret that it did not fully unite our country. I also regret that lies and propaganda came our way and halted my agenda for my community," said the President.

While creating a picture of a Head of State who has triumphed after facing serious headwinds in his own government, the President said he stood tall after safeguarding peace successfully upto conclusion of the campaign period.

"I'm happy that we ended campaigns without an iota of violence or mayhem all over the country. I have conducted two handshakes (2013 and 2018) and all this was because of my community and my effort has bore fruits as has been witnessed during the electioneering period.

He said most of the acquittance and political allies were against his move for the first handshake between him and Deputy President William Ruto but he soldiered on for the sake of peace the same way his political allies rejected his peace deal with Azimio la Umoja Presidential candidate Raila Odinga.

"It has never been about me, it has always been about the country, peace is the foundation of development in any country," he said.

He reminded his natives how he supported the late President Mwai Kibaki's administration on the onset of 2007 election despite him being the opposition leader. He said he did so after his allies started galvanising their ethnic communities against his community.

"I was the leader of opposition in 2007 but I saw the tribal alliance that were forming and I stepped down and supported Kibaki and even my party members were against," he said.

But he reminisced that even when he was in opposition, he only criticized when duty called and lauded Kibaki's government when it did the right thing.

The President further pointed fingers to a section of leaders in Mt Kenya region who he accused of sabotaging his programs for the sake of their selfish interests and pleaded with the region to unite for the sake of its future.

"Don't be divided, don't be told to hate your leaders, if we agree to talk in one voice, the region will rise. I'm not asking leaders to respect me because I'm exiting but to support and respect their seniors for the sake of the community, the President said in his last address to the Mt Kenya region.

But the Head of State sought to demystify that he is on his way out maintaining that he was going nowhere and he will rise up when needed to call for truce or to initiate peace talks in the country.

"I'm going nowhere, I'm still around and will be available when needed in the country. I'm still not old and energetic and ready to help my community and the country when needed, we shall also be meeting in churches or when slaughtering a goat for wazee," he said.

Speaking about the debts and corruption which has featured prominently in the transition politics, the President said the biggest challenge in the fight against graft has been politicisation of the fight against graft.

"Politicisation of the fight against graft where the corrupt tag along their tribe and political affiliation has been a challenge in the graft while judiciary has dragged itself in solving corruption cases.

On debts he said " no country can expand its GDP without borrowing. Countries like Japan borrow 120 per cent of their GDP while America borrows 80 per cent of their GDP, the problem is how we use the loans. I hope that my successor will fight corruption for Kenyans to realize the value of their taxes," said the President.

The President urged the Mt Kenya region to vote using their brains and not based on a sweet tongue or based on one's ability to hurl insults to other leaders.

" Elect leaders based on their ability to deliver and not based on insults and whipping emotions, you are electing a person who will oversee money that you have paid tax," he said while adding that he is supporting a leader whom they share the same vision.

He cited infrastructure as his biggest achievement and made a clarion call to voters to elect those who would ensure continuity with a view of surpassing his 'good development track record which he said overtook that of colonial masters and all government that were in place before him.

He called on IEBC to conduct free fair and verifiable elections and not create tension in the country which may be a recipe for chaos.

"We have equipped them and given them everything they need and I beseech them not to plunge the country into chaos. Let them be timely in releasing the outcomes," he pleaded

Asked whether he felt devolution has worked in the country, the President said corruption has been the biggest undoing in devolved unites and urged his successor strengthen administrative systems and governance to improve service delivery to the people.

He said he leaves his community with peace and prayed that one day they realize his mission on BBI and the handshake.