President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto yesterday steered clear of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) debate, with the Head of State praising those who have made sacrifices to make Kenya great.
In a deeply conciliatory speech during the Mashujaa Day celebration in Mombasa, Uhuru condemned corrupt leaders and praised State agencies and the Media for sustaining the war against graft.
“A shujaa does not pick soft but wrong options. They are the judges and magistrates, who faithfully and expeditiously discharge their oath of office without cowering in the face of the power and ill-gotten wealth of corruption suspects.
“They are the investigators and prosecutors who brave intimidation and reject inducements so as to bring the corrupt and other criminals to face justice.
“I honour and commend all the journalists who play their proper role as the Fourth Estate, reporting fearlessly by speaking truth to power while rejecting brown-envelope journalism and the allure of sensationalism,” he said.
He said all Kenyans who pay taxes and refuse to give or receive bribes are heroes and heroines.
Uhuru and Dr Ruto avoided the BBI debate even as former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho tried to nudge them to the discourse.
Raila had said the BBI was unstoppable and urged Kenyans to support it because it will end politics of exclusion and foster unity in the country.
As he welcomed Ruto to speak, Joho said he hoped the deputy president would support the handshake and BBI.
The president outlined his development record in the Coast, saying all fishing landing sites that had been grabbed have been repossessed by the State.He said the Kenya Coast Guard Service established recently had stopped illegal fishing by foreign vessels in the country’s territorial waters in the Indian Ocean.
The president said that the revival of the Kenya National Shipping Line will be realised soon despite the recent setback after some groups moved to court to challenge the decision to hand over a terminal to the port to Mediterranean Shipping Company.
Joho criticised unnamed selfish politicians who he claimed had put their interests ahead of the country. He criticised leaders who he said were keen to create division between Uhuru and Raila.
On Friday, Uhuru backed the BBI saying it will end the divisive politics and create the right atmosphere for economic development in the country.He denied claims BBI was a ploy to create a powerful prime minister position for him, saying that he was ready to retire at the end of his second five-year reign.
Ruto’s political allies claim the BBI was a ploy to create positions for individuals and DP now wants the report to be subjected to another round of public participation.
Ruto reiterated that Kenyans will reject the BBI like they did with the Punguza Mzigo initiative if they are not fully involved. Yesterday, Ruto only highlighted the Jubilee administration’s achievement saying in the last seven years the government has made tremendous infrastructure development.
He also said the Kenyans should reject the politics of division and ethnicity so that the Government agenda can be realised.