Reconciliation and unity calls dominate speeches at event
Hillary Mageka @hillarymageka
President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto sat side by side yesterday during the national prayer breakfast held at Parliament buildings.
It was the first time the President and his Deputy were being seen together in public after many months.
And perhaps aware of the widely publicised tiff between them, the two leaders used the occasion to reach out to each other, if only for the galleries.
It is the earlier speakers, who set the tone for the reconciliation calls, with the co-chair of the National Prayer Breakfast Committee, Makueni MP Daniel Maanzo calling for unity among leaders.
“We hope that the prayers will provide a platform for the leaders to reach out to each other and reconcile,” said Maanzo.
As if taking queue, Ruto, who has been absent from functions presided over by Uhuru, hailed the President for steadying the “ship of our country” despite the ravages of the contagion.
“Mr President because of your leadership, the ministry (of Health) has done a commendable job, today we are discussing how to vaccinate our people to get out of this pandemic, to begin to manage all other issues,” he stated.
The DP, ever critical of the President’s dalliance with Opposition leader Raila Odinga and his pre-occupation with the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) campaigns at the expense of the Jubilee agenda, for once took time to acknowledge Uhuru’s recent public engagements.
“Courtesy of Jubilee administration, the President launched the other day the Lamu port, among other projects.
We got ourselves a brand new and first female Chief Justice, Speaker Justin Muturi got an appointment with the elders,” the DP said amid cheers from the congregants, who included Muturi.
On his part, the President said there is hope that it is possible to overcome challenges if leaders pull together. “One person cannot change Kenya, but together we will make a huge difference,” the President said.
Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who is still recovering from the Covid-19 infections, however, skipped the event which was held under strict Covid-19 protocols.
Nevertheless, Wiper Leader Kalonzo Musyoka and ANC’s Musalia Mudavadi, who are part of the quartet of One Kenya Alliance attended the event. Participants observed a minute of silence for departed Kiambaa MP Paul Koinange, who was the Chairman of the national prayer breakfast. Only 40 guests were allowed to Parliament precincts.
“The loss of Paul Koinange like that of many others for the last one year is a testimony to the devastating effects of a pandemic that was declared a public health emergency of international concern,” Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said in speech read by Chief Administrative Secretary Mercy Mwangangi.
The three-hour breakfast also provided a perfect opportunity for the three arms of government Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary to reflect with the newly installed Chief Justice Martha Koome making her first appearance.
Special prayers were said for challenges facing the country ranging from the Covid-19 pandemic to stability in families, children, people in leadership positions, corruption among other hosts of challenges.
Despite the limited speeches, celebrated vocalist Hellen Mtawali entertained the guests alongside the Kenya Police Band.