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Don't incite Kenyans over election petition, Uhuru tells Raila

Tuesday March 19 2013

President elect Uhuru Kenyatta addresses port workers after a boardroom meeting with the Kenya Ports Authority management at the Port of Mombasa March 19, 2013. On his right is deputy president-elect William Ruto. Mr Kenyatta asked the Raila Odinga's Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (Cord) to stop inciting Kenyans over the petition challenging his election. LABAN WALLOGA

President elect Uhuru Kenyatta addresses port workers after a boardroom meeting with the Kenya Ports Authority management at the Port of Mombasa March 19, 2013. On his right is deputy president-elect William Ruto. Mr Kenyatta asked the Raila Odinga's Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (Cord) to stop inciting Kenyans over the petition challenging his election. LABAN WALLOGA  

By GITONGA MARETE [email protected]

President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta has asked the Raila Odinga's Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (Cord) to stop inciting Kenyans over the petition challenging his election.

Mr Kenyatta said the matter was before the Supreme Court and Kenyans should wait for its verdict.

"The matter is in court and we should not talk in a way that might incite Kenyans. Let us remain calm and wait and stop politicking since Kenyans are tired of politics,” Mr Kenyatta said Tuesday.

He restated that the Jubilee team was ready for the outcome, and urged the Cord alliance led by its presidential candidate Raila Odinga to wait for the verdict.

“The most important thing at the moment is to ensure that we all enjoy peace,” he said at the Coast where he was briefed by the Mombasa Port management on operations at the facility.

He was accompanied by deputy president-elect William Ruto, ministers Chirau Ali Mwakwere (Environment) and Amos Kimunya (Transport), Nairobi Senator-elect Gideon Mbuvi, Najib Balala, among others.

Speaking at Changamwe after arriving in Mombasa where he met leaders elected for the various seats on March 4, Mr Odinga claimed that Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto had not been elected in a free and fair election.

According to the PM, in 2007 he had won by 60,000 votes but was robbed of victory, but vowed not to sit back this time round.

Said Mr Kenyatta, who did not mention Mr Odinga by name: “We are ready for the verdict but we cannot just wait. What we are doing is preparing ourselves so that when the outcome is in our favour we continue with our jobs."

The president-elect assured workers at the Mombasa Port that his government would not privatise the facility, but would ensure that the efficiency was maintained.

He said the port would remain in the hands of the government but measures would be put in place to ensure smooth clearance of goods.

Privatization of Mombasa port has been a hotbed of Coast politics since it was broached by the Cabinet in 2010, with local leaders alleging that the government was bent on selling off the facility, sparking controversy and resulting to frequent workers' strikes.

“The port belongs to the people of Kenya and we have no intention of selling it,” Mr Kenyatta said amid cheers from workers who gathered at the port headquarters.

“But it is saddening to learn that at times cargo stays at the port for over seven days rather than being collected in time to be used for the jobs it was intended for. We want all the stakeholders involved in the clearance of goods to play their part so that we do away with these inefficiencies.”

He said smooth operations at the port were important not only for the country’s economy but also for other nations that depend on it for imports.