President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga yesterday warned Kenyans the handshake journey will not be smooth, but said it is worthwhile.
The two emphasized that their newly found friendship would meet resistance and pitfalls along the way as it focuses on the country’s posterity and not short-term political interests.
“As my brother Raila has said, let us get out of the tarmac road and take the one with thorns because that is the right one,” Uhuru said.
The President said the handshake would unite the country and end tribal hatred so Kenyans do not turn against one another in every election.
“We want a Kenya where people cast their votes and go back to their businesses as they wait for results,” the President said in Kikuyu.
He spoke yesterday during the burial of Kikuyu music maestro Joseph Kamaru at Muthithi Secondary School in Murang’a county.
“It cannot be that every five years, Kenyans have to relocate from their homes because they are afraid,” he said.
Uhuru told off critics of the handshake, saying it would spur development and end tribal hatred and animosity that has characterised the country’s political landscape.
“I want to tell Kenyans that you should not be misled. You should not be misled by cheap politics. Kenya will never achieve her true position in the world unless we come together; unless we unite and bring our respective strengths together and unless we respect one another,” Uhuru said.
Competitive politics must not mean animosity between people, communities or religions, the President said. Uhuru’s remark was in sync with Raila’s earlier speech when he addressed mourners, and who through his parables, warned that the road to Kenya’s peace and stability would be a bumpy one.
Uhuru said his decision to work with the President was to ensure that Jubilee supporters also join their NASA counterparts in “the land of promise.”
“We were heading to Canaan but when we reached River Jordan, we realised it was infested with crocodiles. We then retreated to build bridges so that both Jubilee and NASA can cross the river to Canaan,” said the ODM party leader in reference to the building the bridges initiative. The ex-PM stressed that the handshake assignment would be about finding lasting solutions to the country’s underlying problems that have bred inter-community conflict for decades.
“This is about uniting Kenyans and not about 2022. The 2022 elections will come and go, but this is for the future and posterity,” he said.
After weeks of heated debate and opposition to the referendum calls, Deputy President William Ruto last weekend made a U-turn and backed the plebiscite push in what appeared to be an effort to lower political temperatures.
Ruto rooted for the handshake, telling Uhuru that he now has his ‘unqualified support’ in his efforts to unite the country. “As mtu wako wa mkono [as your errand boy], I will make sure that we all work towards achieving our development goals,” Ruto said.