President Uhuru Kenyatta on Sunday said he will do everything possible to unify the country in his second and final term in office.
During a Sunday service at Redeemed Gospel Church in Huruma, Nairobi, Mr Kenyatta said the Tuesday swearing-in ceremony at Kasarani Stadium would not be about him and winning the October 26 poll rerun, but about Kenyans celebrating their diversity, peace and unity.
“My first responsibility is peace. The second is to ensure the unity of all Kenyans for that is the foundation of the development we are seeking,” he said.
Winners and losers
Mr Kenyatta, 56, begins his final term with the country badly polarised along ethnic and political lines.
National Super Alliance leader Raila Odinga is pushing for electoral reforms after he boycotted the October presidential poll rerun, which Mr Kenyatta won by 98 per cent. Voter turnout was below 40 per cent.
The President asked politicians to use Kenya’s diversity for the national good “instead of abusing it for personal gain”.
The President added that it was normal to compete for political positions “though the competition should not be based on ethnicity, race or tribe but ideas”.
“Like in any competition, there will be winners and losers but in case of the election, Kenyans are winners. Our responsibility after the political competition is to come together and work to build the nation,” Mr Kenyatta said.
He added that Kenyans wanted to live together and not be divided by political arguments.
“Within the political world, it is normal to have differences but that does not mean we cannot co-exist and live together in peace,” the President said.
Deputy President William Ruto urged Kenyans to shun those preaching hate, tribalism and division.
“Let us resolve that we will refuse hate, resist negative ethnicity and reject divisive politics so that we can live together as one people; the people of the great nation of Kenya,” Mr Ruto said.
He asked Kenyans to continuously build friendship and brotherhood because “that is the will of God”.
Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko said his administration was ready to work with the government to ensure the rights of all were safeguarded.
“Women have been stabbed, property looted and destroyed. We will not allow this to continue,” he said.