Sunday October 8, 2017
President Uhuru Kenyatta has said the country will not plunge into politically-instigated violence under his watch.
Even as he exuded confidence that he would win in the October 26 election, Uhuru said many Kenyans were scared of the unfolding scenario that has raised political temperatures, but assured them that he would do anything in his powers to protect lives and property.
“This country belongs to all of us but at this time of rising political temperatures, many are scared and wondering what will happen but I want to assure you that I will do anything in my powers to ensure there is peace and Kenyans elect their president in a free, fair and credible process,” he told Catholic pilgrims at the National Shrine of Mary Mother of God in Subukia, Nakuru County during a prayer rally organised by the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) on Saturday.
The president was reacting to pleas from the church to end the political crisis caused by disputes over how the repeat presidential election should be conducted. The bishops led by KCCB chairman Archbishop Philip Anyolo had asked the president to reach out to Raila Odinga and end the stalemate over the upcoming repeat contest involving the two.
The Catholic Church is concerned that the hard line stance taken by both Jubilee and NASA might lead to political violence. Noting that the country would not achieve prosperity if there is no peace, cohesion and inclusivity, the president challenged the church to include other religions in peace building efforts and future prayer rallies.
Deputy President William Ruto told the congregation he was confident the country will remain united and peaceful during the repeat presidential poll. “God loves our country and our country will not perish. I’m sure because Christ Jesus is still on the throne, this country is going to be safe,” Ruto said.
The bishops urged NASA and Jubilee to soften their hardline stance and embrace dialogue.
“Make us one people regardless of religion, political affiliation and backgrounds,” Archbishop Anyolo said. Insisting on the need for dialogue ahead of the October 26 poll, the bishop said the aftermath of the August 8 General Election had adversely affected the country’s economy and left Kenyans sharply divided along political and ethnic lines.
Peace Archbishop Zacheaus Okoth of Kisumu who conducted the mass, challenged Uhuru and Raila to come together and ensure the country does not disintegrate further.
“Political leaders must embrace peace, dialogue, mutuality and conviviality for the country to move forward together as a family,” Archbishop Okoth said. Citing the theme of this year’s national prayer rally - Peace in the Family, Country and Hope in the Youth - the Archbishop said Kenyans were apprehensive as they head to the repeat presidential poll.
“Today we pray for the gift of peace that revitalises our love for God and each other,” the Archbishop said. Quoting from the book of Isaiah 9:1-6., Okoth said: “the light that enlighten our hearts and minds, let it shine Divine truth in our hearts.”
He added: “May the light of truth be our strength and hope especially in our youth who need peace and security to grow. Our youth you need to become responsible citizens, need basic education.
Our leaders must assure us peace.” And speaking on a tour of Nyandarua County, President Kenyatta said his development record had spoken for itself. He urged the electorate to consider his administration’s achievement and re-elect him. He said that over 1.8 voters from the region did not participate in the August 8 elections and called on them to do so in the forthcoming elections. “This is my humble request to the people of Mt Kenya region.
“Many of you did not vote in the past elections. Let us now participate and vote for Jubilee Party. I am confident that we will win but this cannot happen when people are not voting,” he said.
Uhuru toured Shamata and Nyahururu towns. He castigated the Opposition for faulting development projects that the Gvernment had undertaken and called on Kenyans to ignore them.
During the tour, President Kenyatta was accompanied by Laikipia and Nyandarua leaders among them Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi, his Nyandarua counterpart Francis Kimemia and local MPs. Also in attendance were Gender and Public Service Cabinet Secretary, Cecily Kariuki and her Devolution counterpart, Mwangi Kiunjuri.