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‘Our handshake goes beyond 2022’

President Uhuru Kenyatta has dismissed political leaders who appear not to be happy with him working together with the Opposition leader Raila Odinga.

He said he is aware such leaders have their eyes on the 2022 succession politics and are worried they or their allies might lose out, but added that the collaboration with Raila goes beyond the next election.

Speaking at Ihura Stadium in Murang’a during a memorial service for veteran politician Kenneth Matiba, the President said he purposed to work with his competitor to unite the country after a long period of politicking which caused massive political and ethnic divisions in the country.

He said some leaders both on his camp and in the Opposition were unhappy with the handshake because they thrive in controversy. He added that uniting the country was the only sure way of making sure everyone is accommodated in the government.

“It is time we leave politics aside and focus on the issue affecting our people and deliver to them what we promised during the election campaigns,” he said.

Uhuru said it does not matter how many agreements are written by leaders to unite because the common and ultimate goal should be to serve the nation, adding that unless there is goodwill, such agreements mean nothing. “We can write as many agreements as we can but self-will and personal commitment will determine if we shall abide by them,” he said.

The President vowed to continue working with Raila for national development and peace and future generations and urged those who are talking ill of their union to desist.

“There is a lot of witch-hunt going on and I implore on those leaders doing that to stop because this country belongs to all of us and if we set it on fire, we shall all be in it,” he added.

The President said there is a lot the leaders have to learn for the political veteran Matiba who was a selfless leader as he sacrificed his health and wealth for the country. He asked Kenyans to wake up and face the reality and fearlessly fight corruption, ethnicity and tribalism instead of sweeping them under the carpet.

“When Matiba spearheaded the battle for the Second Liberation, he was not doing so for his personal gains but for the country and future generations and he sets a very good example for us to follow,” he said.

And addressing the mourners, Raila said he did not join hand with Uhuru for own gains, but for the sake of the country. He said ethnic divisions almost tore the country apart but their handshake has heralded national cohesion. “We are not talking about 2022.

We have a greater vision going beyond this because the country has a future,” he said. “I will be happy to see all Kenyans walking tall because they are proud of their country and leaders as well but this cannot be if we don’t unite and speak in one voice,” he added. He said the handshake will help bring good leadership for the country to realise its full potential.

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