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President Kenyatta warns anti-handshake allies

Thursday May 31 2018

President Uhuru Kenyatta

President Uhuru Kenyatta (left) presents Nairobi County titles to Governor Mike Sonko at Jacaranda grounds, Nairobi, on May 30, 2018. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

PATRICK LANG'AT
By PATRICK LANG'AT
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President Uhuru Kenyatta has told off leaders who are against his bid to unite with opposition leader Raila Odinga.

Without naming them, President Kenyatta warned that any attempt to intimidate him over his March 9  handshake deal with Mr Odinga will not succeed.

“Some people have been asking, oh, why did you go to speak with Raila? He is a Kenyan, and I have all the right to speak to him, and others ready to unite Kenyans,” President Kenyatta said at Jacaranda grounds, Nairobi, when he gave out 50,000 title deeds.

He added: “I respect every Kenyan, but I won’t be intimidated by anyone. Let no one think I am one they can intimidate. No!” the Head of State said.

LOSING ALLIES

In the statement was a loaded message that even at the threat of losing his closest allies, the President was sticking to his deal with Mr Odinga.

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A section of Jubilee Party leaders, mostly allied to Deputy President William Ruto, have questioned Mr Odinga’s intentions in the handshake.

They have accused Mr Odinga of  using it to push for a referendum and as a launching pad for the 2022 State House race, claims he has denied many times.

As President Kenyatta defended the deal in Eastlands, Mr Odinga was meeting European Union (EU) ambassadors at the residence of EU Ambassador to Kenya Stefano Dejak, explaining the contents of the pact.

SHUN POLITICS

He briefed them on his recent trip to South Sudan in an effort to  reconcile President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar.

At the Jacaranda grounds meeting, Mr Ruto asked Kenyans to shun politics and focus on development.

“Mr President, we have all agreed that the time for politics is over, and that the government you lead is now focused on uniting people,” Mr Ruto said.

The comment by President Kenyatta about intimidation had been triggered by Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko who, in reference to his “unlikely” choice of activist Miguna Miguna as his deputy, urged the President not to get intimidated by it.

At the function, Sonko alluded, several times, to people he said were working from State House to sabotage him.

SOLDIER ON

“We have done a lot around here. I know people are telling you that I am not working. Your people have harassed me a lot,” Sonko said, vowing to soldier on.

After handing over the titles, President Kenyatta launched 80 kilometres road construction project covering Komarock, Harambee Estate Sacco, Kayole Spin, Doonholm Phase V and VIII, Eldoret and Nyasa roads in Nairobi’s Eastlands.

It is a Sh2.7 billion project in which the national government is pumping in Sh1.8 billion with the county government contributing Sh900 million.

Later, he launched a Sh13 billion ultra-modern 220 Kv gas insulated substation, the first of its kind in East and Central Africa, serving the Industrial Area, Mombasa Road, Upperhill, the Central Business District and Kilimani.