Uhuru defends Raila handshake in London
President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday defended his now famous handshake with opposition leader Raila Odinga saying arguments by those opposing it have no basis.
Speaking during an address at the Chatham House in London, President Kenyatta addressed a question about the political implication of his unity pact with Mr. Odinga, saying a need to unite Kenyans prompted his decision to reach out to Mr. Odinga.
“It is a Kenyan agenda that we [Government] hope to deliver [development and a conducive environment for business] to the people; and we acknowledge that we cannot do it on our own; we need each other. We should not keep our people engaged in politics 24 hours,” he said, responding to a question from an audience member.
The Head of State also promised that the Government will ensure Kenyans, who feel unrepresented and left out in sharing the national cake, are incorporated in the unity agenda.
A question by a Kenyan audience member was: “Lack of inclusivity in Kenya is a cancer that has really eaten up our society. We need a Kenya, where a boy in Marsabit or Vihiga can get employment without their second names being looked at…”
Responding to the concern about a lack of inclusivity in Kenya, President Kenyatta said: “Our department of National Cohesion has been set up to look into matters inclusivity. The Government recruits its staff, for example, the military at district level, and not at County level.
“Inclusivity [as an ideal situation] is not going to happen overnight. My administration’s agenda, to ensure inclusivity is achieved at both ethnic and gender levels, is clear.” said President Kenyatta.
The Head of State also responded to a question posed by Vera Okeyo, a Kenyan studying in the U.K., who called out some leaders in Government and Kenyans of high social status for not observing the Rule of Law.
“Kenya is a country that lives and abides by the Rule of Law. Anyone who feels he has been mistreated; there is an independent body that has been set up to ensure their grievances are looked into. We have created institutions which you can lodge your complaints about being unfairly overlooked during, for instance, recruitment process,” said President Kenyatta.
He further assured all Kenyans living in the Diaspora that they will be allowed to vote in the 2022 General Election.
President Kenyatta said adequate measures are being put in place to ensure there is complete participation by all eligible Kenyans, who wish to vote in leaders of their choice in 2022.
In the August 8, 2017 election, only Diaspora votes from Kenyans living in Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and South Africa were incorporated in the final tally.
He said last year’s election was used as a feasibility exercise for Diaspora voting and the government had known its key challenges and areas of success, hence, has prepared adequately to ensure all Kenyans living abroad cast their ballot in 2022.
“By 2022, all mechanisms will be put in place to ensure that the entire Diaspora (population) will be able to participate in the general election,” said President Kenyatta, who was responding to a question by an accountant living in the United Kingdom namely Njindo.
In his uninterrupted address, President Kenyatta also urged the UK Government to develop policies, which encourage bilateral activities between the two nations.
The president’s session at Chatham House was moderated by ex-MP of the United Kingdom Valerie Amos, Baroness Amos.
Ms. Amos served as the eighth UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.