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Kenyan leaders again keeping hopes alive for national unity deal

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has revived hopes among Kenyans of uniting the country after publicly backing his unity deal with opposition leader Raila Odinga.

The deal signed on March 9 ended political acrimony after hotly contested polls in 2017, creating a positive business environment.

On Wednesday, Kenyatta reaffirmed his commitment to the political pact, reviving hopes for its full implementation.

"Some people have been asking, why did you go to speak with Odinga?

"But I tell them he is a Kenyan, and I have all the right to speak to him, and others ready to unite Kenyans," Kenyatta said in Nairobi at a public forum.

Deputy President William Ruto, who was at the event, backed him:

"Mr President, we have all agreed that the time for politics is over, and that the government you lead is now focused on uniting people."

On Thursday, the clarion call for unity gathered momentum during a National Prayer Breakfast, attended by Kenyatta, Odinga, Ruto and Kalonzo Musyoka.

The leaders apologized to each other for any wrongs they committed during the 2017 elections.

"Let’s work together.

"We can come together and fight corruption and not use tribes and religion.

"We need to go forward together and preach unity," said Kenyatta.

Kenyans supporting the unity deal have welcomed the reaffirmation from the president, noting it has come at the right time.

"I had lost hope in the unity as both Odinga and Kenyatta were talking little about it but I now believe it is on course," Moses Bosire, a matatu conductor in Nairobi, said Thursday.

The unity deal is important and dear to Kenyans because it promises to address many challenges the country is facing.

They include political exclusion, ethnic divisions, unemployment and worrying graft levels.

Political exclusion and ethnic divisions have contributed to acrimonious elections after every five years, with Kenyans fighting every time.

The worst case was in 2007 when elections led to the killing of at least 10 people and displacement of thousands.

As Kenyatta, Odinga has assured Kenyans that the deal is alive and its implementation is on course despite opposition.

"Never again shall a Kenyan die because of elections.

"We will fight corruption together and we are committed to the unity deal and it will be implemented," said Odinga on Thursday.

Political pundits have noted that the assurances from Odinga, Kenyatta and other leaders is what the country needs currently.

"Many Kenyans supporting both opposition and ruling party believe the pact is good for the country but a lot of talk has been coming from opponents of the deal leading to despondency," said Henry Wandera, an economics lecturer and political analyst in Nairobi.

According to Wandera, the benefits of the deal are huge as it affects social, economic and political welfare of the country.

"The shilling has strengthened since March 9 and the economy is expected to grow above 5 percent thanks to the deal.

That shows how significant it is to Kenya," said Wandera.

He added there is plenty of politics surrounding the deal but was hopeful that it would be fully implemented.


Politics based on unity is key to national prosperity says President Kenyatta



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