President Uhuru Kenyatta made a rare joint public appearance with his deputy William Ruto, where he asked for forgiveness for wrongs he may have committed.
The President chose the occasion of the national prayer breakfast at State House, Nairobi, to make the plea that borrowed from the words of his political mentor, former President Daniel arap Moi.
Uhuru asked those he had wronged to forgive him, while assuring those who had wronged him that he had forgiven them.
“If I have wronged you, I ask that you forgive me. And if you have wronged me, I forgive you. That is the only way we can move forward,” the President told the gathering.
His plea for forgiveness echoed that of Moi, during the last Jamhuri Day celebrations before the end of his term in 2002. Yesterday’s inter-faith function was convened to pray for the country caught in the grip of the Covid-19 pandemic, rising political temperatures and the ever-present ills of corruption, tribalism and social injustices.
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Religious leaders took turns to intercede on behalf of the nation, whose people they said had sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. “Our nation is hurting and we came together so that we may persuade God to have mercy upon our nation...” said Archbishop Timothy Ndambuki of the African Brotherhood Church.
The prayer meeting also took place as ODM leader Raila Odinga met a group of leaders from Central Kenya at his Bondo home where the theme of mending bridges broken between founding fathers Jomo Kenyatta and Jaramogi Oginga Odinga was featured.
Among those who spoke at State House was Reverend David Oginde of Christ is The Answer Ministries.
Result of prayer
“In the scriptures, every time a leader of a nation has turned his people towards heaven, God comes down. I believe God is going to do something. God is going to restore that which had been eaten by the locusts of corruption, Covid and tribalism. Open your eyes and watch as this nation turns around as a result of prayer,” said Bishop Oginde.
Head of the Anglican Church of Kenya, Archbishop Jackson ole Sapit, warned on the country’s propensity for violence during elections.
“We are gathered here as a nation to reflect on our journey. Every five years, we fight over elections and rise up again each other. God is telling us to reflect on who we are,” he said.
Kericho Catholic Diocese Bishop Alfred Rotich asked leaders present to search their hearts on where they had gone wrong.
“We pray that we fight corruption, tribalism and other ills. Those are the blocks of our prayer. But ask yourself, who is committing these crimes? Is it you and I who are here to pray? Who is practising tribalism? Is it me and you?” he asked.
Nyeri Catholic Archbishop Anthony Muheria pleaded with Kenyans to adhere to the Ministry of Health regulations on Covid-19.
“I stand here on behalf of all religious leaders to ask that all of us to listen to the voice of the Lord. Be your brother’s and sister’s keeper. Wear your mask,” he said.
Others present were Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi, Wiper boss Kalonzo Musyoka and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula.
Also present were First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, former First Lady Mama Ngina Kenyatta, Cabinet Secretaries, Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua and other government officials. Besides the religious leaders, only the President addressed the meeting.
President Kenyatta is presently caught up in accusations of tearing up a political pact to support Ruto for presidency in 2022.
The DP’s allies have accused him of watching from the sidelines as his allies light political fires in the run-up to the elections.
Ruto’s allies have been purged from key positions in Parliament and today, he cannot hold a meeting in Mumias, Kakamega County, without being cleared by the police.
The clearance sought is in line with a directive by the National Security Advisory Council (NSAC) aimed at taming political violence witnessed in recent days.
From bosom friends, the two are now strange bedfellows.
Yesterday’s national prayer meeting was the second to be held at State House since the first case of Covid-19 was reported in March.
The first meeting was held on March 21 and also had the DP, Raila and leaders of other political parties in attendance.
By that time, there was a feeling among allies of the DP that they were being unfairly targeted in the fight against corruption. There were also signs of deep cracks within the Jubilee Party.