President Uhuru Kenyatta says he believes the Orange Democratic Movement party leader Raila Odinga has the interests of the country at heart. He revealed this as the reason behind his decision to support his bid to become the Kenya’s 5th president.
As his term nears the end, the head of state dismissed claims that he was backing the former Prime Minister in order to protect his personal interests. He reiterated that he indeed doesn’t want anything in return for his support for the Orange party leader.
“The same way Raila didn’t ask me anything when I was in need, is the same way I am not asking anything in return from Raila. I just want good leadership for our country.” He said
“Raila never asked for anything from me since the handshake. He just accepted to work with me through consultations about how we will live in peace and carry out development in our country.” He added
He once again lauded the ODM leader for agreeing to bury the hatchet with him for the sake of the country. By agreeing to close ranks with him, President Kenyatta says Raila showed courage. He said Raila had the love of Kenya to know that a handshake was important for to unite country.
“My Handshake with Raila was not easy. There are a number of my supporters who said I shouldn’t go for that handshake. There are also many who were close to Raila who told him you cannot share a table with Uhuru Kenyatta. Some of them are here. I won’t mention their names but they are here. They know themselves.” the president disclosed
Speaking during the ODM party National Delegates Convention (NDC) in Kasarani Nairobi on Saturday, the President also knocked back talk to the effect that the Jubilee government stopped working ever since he had a handshake with the ODM leader.
While fighting off these claims, Uhuru maintained that his administration has done so much in the last four years he has been working in consultation with Raila, beyond what his government did during his first term in office.
“Many do not know the trips I have made alongside Raila in various parts of the country and abroad……Throughout these trips, Raila never asked for anything for himself. He was only interested in seeing development projects being done.” He said
In an apparent reference to his deputy William Ruto and other Jubilee leaders who have since broke ranks with the ruling party, President Kenyatta accused those he shared government with, over decision to oppose every government decision just because he had made peace with the opposition leader.
The President further rebuffed claims the Raila was his political project. He insists that Raila is a self-made politician and can never be anyone’s project.
The President argues that Raila’s opponents were feeling the heat and were sensing defeat in the August elections and that this was the reason behind a campaign to label Raila as a state project.
“When you feel like the tide is changing, the easiest thing to do is describe someone as a project.” Uhuru charged
“It is up to you do decide whether you elect a leader because he can speak very well and can insult others or you elect a leader who is loves peace and can unite Kenyans.” he added
According to President Kenyatta, Odinga is a peacemaker who has demonstrated love and passion for his country over the years. He says the ODM leader has unmatched leadership qualities that can help propel the country to greater development.
“I am not here because of Raila Odinga the politician. The politician is a man I have been in competition with for many years. I am here because of Raila Amolo Odinga the leader.”
“There is a difference between a politician and a leader. A politician takes what he thinks he can get at the moment; a leader is interested in how his country transforms and how our children, their children and the children’s children shall live.” He said
At the same time, the commander in Chief defended the ODM chief against accusations that he was ‘a man of war.’ Instead, he described Raila has a peace-loving Kenyan who was only interested in a just and fair society.
“If Raila was a man of war, he would have resisted any attempt at peace between him and President Kibaki and he would have resisted the handshake with me.”
“The truth is that what creates violence is the system of governance that we have had in place of winner takes all and having certain communities feeling like they have been left out of government and the one person we have worked together to change that system is none other than Raila Amolo Odinga.” He stated
At the height of political divisions that emerged soon after the 2017 elections, President Kenyatta says Raila would have resorted to violence all through. He argues that the ODM leader would have asked his supporters to continue holding demonstrations that had become the order of the day at the time.
He says Raila meant well and always wanted solutions to issues that led to violence after every election.
“A man who looks to understand and identify the cause of violence is a peacemaker.” He told the convention
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