President Uhuru Kenyatta has openly endorsed ODM leader Raila Odinga’s bid to succeed him, in the August 9th State House race.
The president, while hailing his March 2018 handshake with Odinga, said he had been able to achieve more development projects and stability in the nation than he did in the first term.
“As they speak about Jubilee Party’s death, you can also see what the party has been doing. We have been able to achieve much but there are some projects which are not complete, and hence as Jubilee (Party) we are now coming out of the office getting into real politics.
“And because some were politicking while work was ongoing, we have said we want a coalition unit of like-minded parties and together we join Azimio. We have the candidate, we have the resources and the youth are together with us,” the Head of State said.
The President spoke on Friday at State House Nairobi during a meeting with over 3,000 young leaders convened by the Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth to review the progress of youth empowerment initiatives and affirmative action programmes.
While recalling events leading up to his closing of ranks with opposition leader Raila Odinga in 2018, the President said the ‘handshake’ was aimed at securing Kenya’s stability that had been threatened by post-election political division.
“A lot of what we have been able to achieve has been as a result of peace. What we call the intangible that creates an atmosphere that allows work to happen.
“In 2013 we got the opportunity and we were able to do what we did and we thank God. But 2017 was one of my worst and most difficult years. It was also my most trying time.
“Why? Because we were caught up in a scenario whereby the country had been divided almost down the middle. There were those who were celebrating Jubilee’s win and there were those protesting at Uhuru Park. And we had to make a choice and that choice was not an easy one,” President Kenyatta said.
He said he consulted widely before reaching out to Mr Odinga and commended the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader for agreeing to the ‘handshake’.
At the same time, President Kenyatta dismissed those opposed to his coming together with Mr Odinga as political self-seekers driven by pursuit for personal gain.
As the country prepares for this year’s election, President Kenyatta advised the youth to choose leaders who value their future and not those that are using them as a ladder for selfish wins.
“You must ensure you are fully involved in the political processes. It is the only way to guarantee opportunities and space to drive your agenda in the next administration,” he said.
President Kenyatta enumerated several of his administration’s successes saying Kenya needed political continuity and goodwill for the country to enjoy full benefits of some of the key infrastructure and social projects.
“To move this agenda forward, we must carefully consider our political choices as we seek to elect a new leadership for this country, a leadership that will not shy away from driving the youth agenda forward,” the President said.
He advised the youth to be strategic in their desire to ascend to positions of leadership saying young people should actively engage with the ongoing electoral processes.
Additional reporting by PSCU