Uhuru calls for support of unity pact to promote growth

President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses wananchi during the commissioning of the dualling of Ngong Road Phase II in Nairobi on March 22, 2018. He has said Kenyans should now focus on development. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • The President said Kenyans and leaders should be pre-occupied with development projects such as affordable housing and healthcare.
  • Mr Odinga insisted that the deal is for the good of the country and that it would be implemented fully.

President Uhuru Kenyatta today spoke for the first time about his surprise unity deal with opposition leader Raila Odinga, saying it is an avenue to focus on development and to stop endless politicking.

This came as Mr Odinga said he and President Kenyatta have every intention to implement the deal, where they have agreed to form a team led by lawyer Paul Mwangi and Ambassador Martin Kimani with a retinue of advisers.

President Kenyatta said the pact with Mr Odinga is a pointer that politicking should now be a thing of the past.

He said Kenyans and leaders should be pre-occupied with development projects such as affordable housing and healthcare, infrastructure, electricity and creation of jobs.

“You recently saw me meeting Raila where we agreed to cool things down and work together for the benefit of citizens. Let us put politics aside and work for the people,” he said when he officially launched the second phase of the Ngong Road dualling project.

The President also called on leaders to stop politicking until 2022, and focus on service delivery to Kenyans.

He said it is time to deliver on the pledges they made to citizens during the electioneering period.

“It is time to shift our focus to service delivery to Kenyans, especially the Big Four development agenda that we have for our people.

"Talking politics every time will not help. It’s time will come, but not now,” he said.

“Our focus as the government is to deliver to our people. The time for politics is over.”

In Nairobi, Mr Odinga met Nasa senators at Panafric Hotel, where he insisted that the deal, which has tested the alliance’s unity, is for the good of the country. He said it would be implemented fully.

“The memorandum is clear. The issues that we want to be addressed are in the document we signed. It will be subject to different interpretations.

"The MoU is very comprehensive and it is something that has been signed between the two of us, and we have every intention to have it implemented,” Mr Odinga said.

At the meeting, attended by Nasa co-principals Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetang’ula, Mr Odinga said the opposition senators had fully endorsed the deal that has calmed the political waters after a protracted election crisis, which led to loss of lives and dwindling economic fortunes.

In the deal, President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga agreed to address ethnic antagonism, lack of a national ethos, inclusivity, devolution, divisive elections, shared prosperity, security and human rights.

But on Wednesday, National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale said electoral justice, an issue close to Nasa, will not be on the table.

“We are not going to talk about electoral justice. That should be very clear. Electoral justice and amendments to the Constitution to create positions, I can tell you without fear of contradiction, are not what Uhuru and Raila will talk about,” Mr Duale told NTV.

But Mr Odinga dismissed Mr Duale, saying the deal was clear, and the issues had been set out.

Mr Odinga also dismissed as a non-issue the threat by a section of Nasa leaders daring ODM to bolt out of the alliance.

“That is really not an issue here. Those are opinions expressed by those MPs,” he said.

Mr Musyoka said Nasa was intact despite talks of divorce after the deal.

“At the level of principals, we are all together. We have restated the unity of Nasa. And, if we have taken that position, our MPs and MCAs should stand guided,” Mr Musyoka said.