President Uhuru Kenyatta and Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga on Friday said their resolve to work together will not be shaken as they have good plans for Kenya.
They said they had refused to be divided and were keen on addressing several matters before the next general election in 2022 to ensure stability.
The two spoke at Rata in Seme, Kisumu County, where they attended the burial of Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o’s mother, Dorka Owino Nyong’o.
Mr Kenyatta, who received a rousing welcome, said his unity with the ODM leader was purposeful, deliberate and aimed at giving Kenyans a better life.
“That’s why I made peace and united with my brother. We said we can always differ and disagree but asked ourselves, ‘Can it change the lives of Kenyans?’,” he said.
“We agreed that the only thing that could change Kenya was our coming together and working together to straighten things in this nation.
The President said they had set politics aside to concentrate on solutions for Kenyans’ problems.
“The time for politics will come. Let’s fix Kenya first then play politics. We refuse to be divided; let’s continue staying together.”
The President said they were focused on eradicating corruption, fighting tribalism and building enduring inclusivity, pillars for the greater good of the nation.
He called on leaders to join him in the fight against graft and asked them to shun divisive politics, focus on challenges and allow Kenyans to remain united regardless of their political affiliations.
“We said we didn’t want big things; just three things which will translate into big things for this nation,” he said.
“We don’t want Kenyans to think they are not a part of Kenya. Everyone should feel a part of Kenya … If we succeed in these three things, Kenya will transform economically.”
While noting that many good things can be achieved if Kenyans unite, Mr Kenyatta said political instability had cost the country long term investments.
“We don’t want the current status where investors shy away and run away every election year because of uncertainty and political instability. We want to reach a level of political maturity [that allows] long term investments,” he stated.
Mr Odinga said he and the President had made immense progress so they would not turn back.
He also said they would remain true to the Memorandum of Understanding they signed during talks for the “handshake” that was announced on March 9, 2018.
“We agreed that we needed to change this country. I have said before that my brother and I agreed to come together …we know where we are coming from, where we are and where we are going as Kenya. We know where the rain started beating us.”
On development, Mr Odinga noted that the government was implementing several programmes under the Big Four agenda to improve the people’s economic wellbeing.
The ODM leader, who is also the African Union’s High Representative for Infrastructure Development, cited projects including the special economic zones in Kisumu, which he said can only succeed in a graft-free environment.
Mr Odinga said Kenyans were suffering but also noted that they were ready to make sacrifices for a better future.
“What they are not willing to do is [make] sacrifices for nothing,” he said, adding this spirit was what informed the handshake and the Building Bridges Initiative.
Regarding corruption, the ODM boss all those engaging in it at Kenyans’ expense should be arrested and prosecuted.
“There is no pity [at this stage]. We want the lords of corruption thrown into prison … placed behind bars,” he said, noting that graft remained Kenya’s biggest problem.
“[Kenya] plays in the super-league of corruption with giants such as Nigeria, the DRC and Nicaragua.”
Mr Odinga hit out at churches, saying they should stop sanitising the corrupt and acting as the “laundry for dirty money”.
“We are all children of God so stop telling us you are investing in heaven. Who is investing in hell?” he said.
He lauded Anglican Church of Kenya Archbishop Jackson ole Sapit for his recent move to ban harambees in churches.
“Jesus said ‘don’t turn my house into a market place’,” he said.
President Kenyatta eulogised the governor’s mother as a “great, generous, honest and active” person, who supported her community.
Other speakers described the mother of 11 as a matriarch and a hard working individual, whose contributions to Kisumu’s education sector will not be forgotten.
They also said she was selfless and helped mobilise resources for community development and the girl child’s education.
Others said Mama Dorka was a staunch, God-fearing Christian and a generous woman whose doors were always open to all.
Among leaders who attended the burial were Cabinet Secretaries Fred Matiang’i (Interior), Sicily Kariuki (Health) and Eugene Wamalwa (Devolution).
Also present were Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi, Governors Kivutha Kibwana (Makueni) and Charity Ngilu (Kitui), senators and members of Parliament.