A local public university that is due to honour President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga says the two have pushed for an environment that promotes scientific innovations.
The Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology (JOOUST) says it will honour the two with honorary degrees because their “handshake’ allowed innovators to work.
The two leaders will be conferred with honorary doctorate degrees at the institution’s main campus in Bondo, Siaya County when it holds a graduation ceremony on Friday.
Prof Stephen Agong, the vice-chancellor of JOOUST told the Nation that they are honouring the two leaders for their peace initiative following their March 9 handshake that ended weeks of political turmoil after the disputed 2017 Presidential election.
“Our theme for this year’s graduation is ‘Science, Technology and Innovation for Peace and Socio-Economic Development’. This decoration, therefore, really fits within that realm given that our two leaders have demonstrated that they are true statesmen by causing peace and harmony for our beloved country.
“Therefore, in terms of social integration and harmony we all now can smile and do business as a country,” Prof Agong’ said.
The event is part of President Kenyatta’s tour of Kisumu and Siaya, for the first time since the divisive elections last year.
In Kisumu Thursday, President Kenyatta will launch the pilot phase of the universal health coverage (UHC) programme and, together with Mr Odinga, head to Bondo on Friday for the graduation ceremony.
Speaking on a vernacular FM radio station ahead of the visit on Tuesday night, Mr Odinga said they “humbly accept the award.”
“We shall be at the University and have humbly accepted the award following our March 9 handshake that ended weeks of heightened tension in the country,” said Mr Odinga.
The award at JOOUST comes hot on the heels of another conferred on the two leaders in October 2018 following their handshake which ended political acrimony and intolerance after the disputed August 8, 2017 presidential poll that was nullified by the Supreme Court.
The London Political Summit, which honoured the two leaders termed them as “great men with a long [and] rich history behind them.”
They were honoured by the British Houses of parliament with the African Peace Award 2018.
The award is presented every year during October’s Black History Month in the UK and this year’s ceremony took place at the Hilton Park Lane Hotel in London.
“This year (London Political) summit would be a unique one, as it offers us an opportunity for the first time, to honour two great sons and esteemed leaders of African politics at the summit. These two great men themselves have a long, rich history behind them as [both] their parents were the founding fathers of Kenyan political and democratic history.
“It is a great privilege to identify with these two great men of honour, Rt Hon Uhuru Kenyatta, and Rt Hon Raila Odinga, for their historic, political sportsmanship and adherence to the principle of political tolerance with the, ‘Peace Accord Handshake’ to end ethnic antagonism and mischievous political competition, public corruption and lack of national ethos, in the history of Kenya politics and democracy,” a press release for the awards said.
As he visits Kisumu and Siaya counties, President Kenyatta is also expected to attend a dinner hosted by his former foe-turned-friend, Mr Odinga, at his Opoda home in Bondo.
Yesterday, the home was a beehive of activities ahead of the meeting.