President Uhuru Kenyatta has spoken out about the controversy brought on by an audio recording of his deputy, William Ruto, saying that he nearly smacked him for almost resigning after their election in 2017 was declared invalid.
In response to the topic that has dominated political discussion for almost a week, Kenyatta said that if Ruto had dared to slap him, he would have handled it in accordance with the biblical command to “turn to him the other also.”
Kenyatta explained that after his election was declared invalid by the Supreme Court, he was willing to give up the seat for the benefit of national peace, which is why Ruto became agitated. He was speaking at a meeting with religious leaders from Mount Kenya at State House Nairobi.
“Tell me, have you heard since then of chaos or violence between people from different communities. He (my deputy) has been telling you that I made a mistake by shaking Raila’s hands. Since when have we not experienced peace? Tell me the error I made, for which they claim they wanted to slap me, Kenyatta demanded.
He continued, “I have no time or place for violence, so if he had slapped me, I would have turned the other cheek.”
The president continued, saying that although the country was dividing, his deputy and other people were not prepared to open a line of communication with the ODM leader Raila Odinga’s then-opposing camp.
“There are always two parties involved in a deal… You are all aware of what transpired in 2017, when we were on the verge of repeating the events of 2007. People who live in Nairobi near other communities understand what I’m talking about. We first heard that a kiosk had been set on fire there and that someone had died there.
“Unfortunately, my deputy and a few other individuals did not want me to speak with Raila. When they questioned why I was speaking with him, I replied that they were Kenyans and would not be leaving this nation; do you want Kenyans to perish in bloodshed? What’s wrong with approaching them if doing so will lead to harmony and peace? I told my deputy that while we disagree, I will support dialogue if it results in peace. So, after speaking with Raila, we agreed to put our many disparaging remarks about one another behind us and shook hands.
Kenyatta emphasized the need for peace, harmony, and cohesion during the meeting and expressed regret that some politicians were running dishonest, splintering, and misleading campaigns.
“You’ve already started a rebellion, and now you’re going around the nation complaining that you’ve been treated unfairly. A deal is a two-way conversation. You are also mistaken if I’m wrong. In an apparent allusion to his deputy, the President said, “You have no right to seek leadership by lying, insulting, and stealing.
Kenyatta reaffirmed his desire to leave behind a peaceful nation, expressing his excitement for retirement and announcing that he had no intention of holding onto power past August 9th.
“I don’t wish to hold onto power, as they claim. No sleep, difficult work, etc. Ten years is enough for me because this house is full of difficulties. I’m looking forward to August 9,” the President declared.