Uhuru gives terse warning to Nasa at governor burial

Saturday November 18 2017

President Uhuru Kenyatta , First Lady Margaret

President Uhuru Kenyatta , First Lady Margaret Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto console the family of the late Nyeri Governor Wahome Gakuru during the burial service at Kagumu High School on November 18, 2017. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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President Uhuru Kenyatta has put on notice Nasa leaders following violence that rocked the return of Mr Raila Odinga from the US on Friday, saying his government would not tolerate violence.

The President, speaking at the funeral service of Nyeri Governor Wahome Gakuru, who died in a road accident on the Nairobi-Nyeri highway on November 7, said he would not allow “a few people to destroy the country”.

The President was reacting to violence that rocked Nairobi as Nasa supporters engaged anti-riot police officers in violent confrontations.

Five people died, tens were injured and property destroyed during the confrontation.

“We have a Constitution and we are a nation that is governed by the rule of law. We must abide by it. Asking people to abide by it is not going overboard,” said Mr Kenyatta.

The President noted that he was also not above the law, citing his recent decision to respect the law when he was asked to go back to the ballot after the Supreme Court annulled his August 8 election win.

“Even myself as President, I followed the law when I felt I had been wronged. We shall demand that we must be a nation that is guided by the Constitution,” he said.

Appealing to Kenyans to remain peaceful, the President said his government would not allow chaos and violence to dominate the country.

His deputy, William Ruto, accused Nasa of using intimidation and violence to force their way to power. “They think they can use intimidation and violence to further their political agenda but they will not succeed. We will never succumb to intimidation or blackmail,” he said.

“This country is too important to be left in the hands of people who believe in chaos and bloodshed. We will not allow this country to go the slippery road of anarchy, chaos, violence, division and tribalism,” he said.

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko also hit out at Nasa supporters for destroying property and looting shops as they received Mr Odinga.
“We will not allow further bloodshed in Nairobi. We admit that the Constitution allows demonstrations but it also dictates that they must be peaceful,” he said.

Mr Sonko appealed to the President to exercise his powers and restore sanity and normalcy in the country.

“We are requesting our President to stop this foolishness. You are President, therefore do not allow loss of lives and destruction of property,” he said.

National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale and his Senate counterpart Kipchumba Murkomen also accused Mr Odinga of fuelling tribalism and rallying his supporters to cause mayhem.

During the funeral, 10,000 mourners received copies of the Saturday Nation, courtesy of a partnership between the Nation Media Group and the Nyeri county government.

Meanwhile, the leaders, including retired President Mwai Kibaki, eulogised Dr Gakuru as a person who had a development vision for the agriculture-rich county and the country. 

President Kenyatta praised Dr Gakuru’s contribution to the Kenya Vision 2030 blueprint. He said Dr Gakuru believed the two levels of government are not in competition but are complementary.

President Kenyatta also pledged to donate Sh20 million to Kagumo High School to complete its infrastructure development after a complaint by Nyandarua Governor Francis Kimemia, a former student.

The President also declared his support towards an annual marathon in memory of the late governor.

He said the marathon would start next year upon completion of the Sh250 million Ruring’u Stadium.

The service was led by PCEA Moderator Julius Guantai Mwamba.

Retired President Mwai Kibaki, in his message of condolence read by Mr Ruto, described Dr Gakuru as an astute man with progressive ideas.