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‘Washenzi’ Uhuru tells off Jubilee rebels over handshake

POLITICS
By Benard Sanga | January 8th 2019
President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga join Mjikenda traditional dancers during the ground-breaking ceremony for construction of Mama Ngina Waterfront Project in Mombasa yesterday. [Kalvin Karani, Standard]

 

President Uhuru Kenyatta has told off Jubilee rebels who have accused him of neglecting Central Kenya, which overwhelmingly voted for him, and developing Opposition strongholds.

 

Uhuru, speaking in Mombasa County yesterday, also declared that he would not abandon the path of reconciliation to fulfill desires of some leaders he described as selfish.

The President commended his March 9, 2018 peace deal with ODM leader Raila Odinga, saying it brought political stability that had created a conducive environment for development.

An angry Uhuru said he would not give in to ultimatums over the 2022 succession politics.

He said he had been frustrated by Jubilee rebels who had accused him of wrecking the party.

He also lamented over “endless campaigns” which he said were sowing seeds of discord and distracting the country’s development.

Uhuru described his critics in Jubilee as selfish idiots hellbent on alienating him from some parts of the country.

He paid a glowing tribute to Raila and some other opposition leaders who he described as selfless.

Threatened easily

“I am not the type to get threatened easily. Those idiots trying to threaten us should know Kenya has changed,” Uhuru said in apparent reference to Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria and Subukia’s Kimani Ngunjiri, who have accused him of neglecting Jubilee and Central Kenya in favour of Raila, his party and opposition zones.

Uhuru and Raila were in Mombasa to launch refurbishment of Sh460 million Mama Ngina Waterfront project.

The two are said to have met in Nyali for private talks on Saturday.

Conspicuously missing from yesterday’s function, also attended by Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala, was Deputy President William Ruto, Opposition MPs and governors from Coast region that support him.

Initial reports had indicated that Ruto would attend the function.

And last evening, an MP allied to Ruto told The Standard local leaders backing the DP’s presidential bid boycotted the function “because it was promoting selfish interests”.

Uhuru fondly spoke about his reconciliation with Raila after a divisive presidential election in 2017.

Political stability

He said national development could only be achieved in a climate of political stability and national cohesion where all the citizens were treated equally, regardless of their political affiliation.

Uhuru accused some Jubilee leaders of threatening him and pushing him to marginalise parts of the country and  abandon reconciliation efforts.

The President also appeared frustrated by criticism from Jubilee leaders and other politicians supporting Ruto to succeed him. He accused them of disrupting development with their early campaigns.

Uhuru described Kenya as the only country where campaigns for the next elections began immediately one election was concluded.

“I am committed to promoting social cohesion and economic development for the benefit of all Kenyans as opposed to listening to selfish politicians,” said Uhuru.

The President said in fact, Raila and other Opposition leaders had demonstrated greater commitment to achievement of national goals than some leaders in the ruling party.

“Kenya does not belong to one or two people, but all of us. If your interest is to serve the public, then why are we differing? I will continue to laud my brother Raila and some other Opposition leaders who have refused to serve selfish interests in favour of public good,” said Uhuru.

He added: “Those who believe a president should only serve a few people, interests or particular regions should realise change has come to Kenya.”

“The nonsense that some regions should enjoy development because the President comes from there should end. We want all people to benefit from development regardless of their political affiliation. That is why those idiots trying to threaten us should leave me alone.”

Raila criticised those claiming he had hatched a plan to ruin the Jubilee Party and chase Ruto away ahead of 2022 elections.

“Let those engaged in early campaigns hold their horses. We should focus on development until 2022 when men and women will meet in the political ring,” said Raila.

“I have not joined Jubilee as some have claimed, meaning there is no way I can chase anyone from the party. I am only working with the government to create an effective system that can guarantee free and fair election and uplift the living standards of Kenyans,” said Raila. 

He urged political leaders to stop campaigns and give the Government time to complete its projects.

“Those who are not ready to embrace  the handshake should stay away and give us space to serve Kenyans,” said the ODM leader, who turned 74 yesterday.

He said his goal was to help Uhuru to combat corruption, poverty and create an efficient electoral system.

Uhuru and Raila addressed the public after the President commissioned the Mama Ngina project.

The project is expected to be completed by June so it can host Madaraka Day celebrations. The facility will have a capacity of 1,000 people.

Uhuru said his handshake with Raila had also been a major boost to the tourism sector that, he said, received more than 2 million tourists in 2018.

Statistics by the Ministry of Tourism yesterday showed Kenya earned Sh157 billion from the sector, the highest ever in a single year.

Uhuru said revival of the tourism sector had been powered by political stability following the March 9 handshake, and improved security.

National interests

The President said he would not be distracted by campaigns for 2022 elections. “An individual’s political ambitions should not override national interests,” he said.

Meanwhile, Uhuru ordered the National Land Commission and the Ministry of Lands to repossess two parcels of public land he said had been grabbed by private developers.

Uhuru said the two acres should be repossessed before June. “NLC and the Ministry of Lands should  make sure any grabbed land is repossessed before June,” said Uhuru.

Also present were area governor Hassan Ali Joho and his Nairobi counterpart Mike Sonko.

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