Kenyan presidential candidates call for peaceful polls
Posted Monday, February 25 2013 at 11:04
Mr Kenyatta said the race for the country’s leadership should not create enmity between the candidates and promised that he would be the first to congratulate the winner if he himself loses.
Kenyan presidential candidates were on Sunday united in calling for a peaceful election and vowed that the country will never again witness a repeat of the violence that occurred after the 2007 poll.
A meeting that had been convened at Uhuru Park in the capital Nairobi by charismatic preacher David Owuor to pray for peaceful elections also saw two of the country’s biggest political rivals, Cord flag bearer Raila Odinga and Jubilee running mate William Ruto reconcile.
The two have openly differed on various issues including the eviction of those who had settled in the Mau water catchment area and how the Prime Minister had handled the International Criminal Court (ICC) matter.
But on Sunday, the PM said the two met last year and agreed to bury the hatchet, revelations that were confirmed by Mr Ruto.
“I can confirm what the PM has said. We have indeed forgiven each other,” said Mr Ruto amid applause from the thousands of people who had attended the prayer meeting. “We have also forgiven all those who have wronged us and equally ask for forgiveness to all we have wronged.”
Mr Odinga also said he had repented all the sins he may have committed and said his wish was to see the March 4 election held in a peaceful manner.
“This is a great day for Kenya. We left Egypt more than 50 years ago and have been wandering in the desert since. We have now reached the shores of Canaan,” he said.
The country’s leadership has been under pressure from the international community to ensure that Kenya does not witness a repeat of the 2007 violence that led to the deaths of 1,133 people and led to the displacement of over 350,000 others.
Also present at the event was the Jubilee Coalition’s presidential candidate, Mr Uhuru Kenyatta, Ms Martha Karua, the Narc Kenya flag bearer, Mr Peter Kenneth of the Eagle Coalition and Mr Mohammed Dida of the Alliance for Real Change.
Conspicuously absent was Amani Coalition’s presidential candidate Musalia Mudavadi and Safina’s Paul Muite.
Mr Mudavadi was at a Catholic church service in Voi in the country's coast while Mr Muite sent his running mate, Shem Ochuodho, to represent him.
Mr Odinga also sent apologies on behalf of his running mate, Mr Kalonzo Musyoka, who was attending a Jesus Celebration Centre service in Bamburi, Mombasa.
The leaders later held hands and embraced before the thousands of people who attended the prayer meeting.
Mr Kenyatta said the violence that almost took the country to the brink in 2007/08 was a thing of the past.