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Calls for unity as Kenyans mark Jomo Kenyatta's anniversary

Thursday August 22 2013

Deputy President William Ruto (left), Mama Ngina Kenyatta (centre) and Chief of Defence Forces Julius Karangi (right) moments after laying a wreath at the Mzee Jomo Kenyatta Mausoleum at Parliament Buildings, Nairobi, August 22, 2013. Kenyans celebrated the life and times of founding President Jomo Kenyatta with calls for unity in his honour. STEPHEN MUDIARI

Deputy President William Ruto (left), Mama Ngina Kenyatta (centre) and Chief of Defence Forces Julius Karangi (right) moments after laying a wreath at the Mzee Jomo Kenyatta Mausoleum at Parliament Buildings, Nairobi, August 22, 2013. Kenyans celebrated the life and times of founding President Jomo Kenyatta with calls for unity in his honour. STEPHEN MUDIARI  

LUCAS BARASA
By LUCAS BARASA
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Kenyans Thursday celebrated the life and times of founding President Jomo Kenyatta with calls for unity in his honour.

President Kenyatta skipped the 35th memorial of his father as he is on an official visit to China.

Catholic Bishop David Kamau said Mzee Kenyatta who died in 1978, aged 89, stood for unity and that Kenyans should fulfill his wish.

“We should pray for the unity of the country. We should all be united as per the wish of our first President,” Bishop Kamau told a congregation at the Holy Family Basilica, Nairobi.

Earlier, Deputy President William Ruto, former First Lady Mama Ngina Kenyatta, Chief of General Staff Julius Karangi and other government officials and members of Kenyatta family laid a wreath at Jomo Kenyatta mausoleum to commemorate his death.

Bishop Kamau remembered Mzee Kenyatta as a “true son of Africa,” who guided Kenya to political and economic stability.

“He was one of the greatest men in the 21st century and played key role in independence of Kenya and other African nations. He was a symbol of unity, development and good politics Kenya cannot let go,” Bishop Kamau said.

Mzee Kenyatta who became Kenya’s first Prime Minister on June 1, 1963 was also remembered as having been a distinguished freedom fighter, focused, patriotic and that his presidency showed “one cannot be too young or old to be a precious instrument to be used by God".

"He (Mzee Kenyatta) asked the church to denounce evil in the society saying the church is conscience of society. If the church keeps quiet one day they will answer for their mistakes,” Bishop Kamau said.

NEGATIVE ETHNICITY

Bishop Kamau regretted that ending negative ethnicity remains a challenge saying that it should start with conscience of all Kenyans and not just changing government structures.

Mr Ruto praised Mzee Kenyatta as a hero saying the Jubilee administration would work to fulfill his dream and vision for the country.

Mr Ruto said President Kenyatta’s visit to China during the anniversary of founding President was deliberate “as he is chasing after the dreams of his father to make this country a better country".

The DP said President Kenyatta wanted Kenyans to achieve a country they were all yearning for that is liberated from the yoke of poverty and disease.

Mr Ruto said he was 11 years old when Mzee Kenyatta died and he thought it was the end of the world “as it was not possible to imagine Kenya without Mzee Jomo Kenyatta then".

INNOCENT BOY

“I did not know that 35 years later that innocent boy (Mr Ruto) will be a small contributor to the vision of Mzee Kenyatta,” Mr Ruto said.

He said it was not also a coincidence that Kenya is marking its Jubilee this year with Mr Kenyatta as President, adding that just as in the Bible, Jubilee is the year of liberation.

“This is a strong message to all of us in leadership positions to look what contribution we can make so that to achieve what Mzee Kenyatta would have wanted us to do in pursuit of liberating this country,” Mr Ruto said.

He said President Kenyatta is in China to help Kenya’s economy grow to double digits.