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2012 succession talks take centre stage at peace rally

Friday January 21 2011

President Mwai Kibaki (centre), suspended Higher Education Minister William Ruto (left) and Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta during a rally at 64 Stadium in Eldoret town on January 21, 2011. PHOTO / JARED NYATAYA

President Mwai Kibaki (centre), suspended Higher Education Minister William Ruto (left) and Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta during a rally at 64 Stadium in Eldoret town on January 21, 2011. PHOTO / JARED NYATAYA  

By BARNABAS BII [email protected] AND DENNIS ODUNGA [email protected]

Succession politics dominated reconciliation speeches at a rally in Eldoret on Friday.

President Kibaki was on hand to unite communities embroiled in the 2007 post-election violence.

More than 60 MPs attended the rally.

Kuria MP Wilfred Machage asked the President to name his successor when his term ends in 2012 and Chepalungu MP Isaac Ruto promised to mobilise support to whoever President Kibaki anoints.

But Cherangany MP Joshua Kutuny was more categorical and asked President Kibaki to anoint Eldoret North MP William Ruto and Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta to lead the succession race.

“We want the two to be our flag bearers and take over from your unrivalled leadership,” said Mr Kutuny.

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President Kibaki was non-committal and instead called for unity among Kenyans.

“There is only one Kenya and we have to agree to bury our differences and work together,” he said.

He called for speedy resettlement of the internaly displaced, which he said should be completed by June.

“Sufficient funds have been allocated,” said President Kibaki.

But politics took centre stage at the rally with Mr Kenyatta saying: “We are brothers and sisters and you stood by me and I am also ready to support you. In 2007, a bad wind swept across us and separated us. Let’s forgive each other,” said Mr Kenyatta.

Tinderet MP Henry Kosgey praised President Kibaki for upholding a rich legacy. Asked by the crowd to state his political stand, Mr Kosgey said, he was united with Rift Valley MPs saying that Dr Sally Kosgei, who was not at the rally, would expound on their stand.

Internal Security minister George Saitoti said absence of peace in the Rift Valley spelled doom for the whole country, while East African Community minister Hellen Sambili rooted for the trial of the Ocampo Six in the country.

Her call was supported by Mr Ruto, Mr Mithika Linturi (Igembe South), and Linah Jebii Kilimo (Marakwet East).

Vote as a block

Turkana Central MP Ekwee Ethuro and Saboti MP Eugene Wamalwa said they would vote as a block in support of a presidential candidate endorsed by most Kenyans.

Lands assistant minister Bifwoli Wakoli said he had warned ODM MPs against blindly supporting Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

He reiterated that he was still in the presidential race.

President Kibaki disclosed that the government had released Sh1.5 billion to purchase maize from farmers.

“If the money is exhausted and there is still more maize, we shall source for more in order to buy all the maize,” said Mr Kibaki.

The Head of State promised that the Eldoret-Kitale-Lodwar Road would be done as it linked the country to Southern Sudan.

However, he warned tax dodgers.