President Uhuru Kenyatta has pledged a peaceful power handover should he be defeated by the National Super Alliance (NASA) Presidential candidate Raila Odinga in the August 8 general election.
Addressing Kenyans online on his official Facebook page on Sunday morning (July 23), President Kenyatta said he is optimistic of a victory over his chief rival, Raila Odinga, but he underscored the importance of a seamless power handover should Odinga floor him in the August polls.
A Facebook user by the name Martin Muchiri fronted the question to President Kenyatta: “What will you do if Raila Odinga beats you in August 8 general election. Can you promise to hand over power?”
In his response, President Kenyatta said: “The first thing is Raila has to defeat me but I intend to defeat him. But let me put it this way: I have done in the past, will do in the future – accept the will of the people. I am busy campaigning with the hope that my fellow Kenyans will give me an opportunity to continue with the good job that we have already started.
“But as I have also said several times, if the will of the people is that another person should be given the opportunity to lead this nation, I will do everything within my power to ensure smooth transition. But my belief and my hope and my ask to my fellow Kenyans, is that you will endeavor to give me another opportunity to continue the work that we have started together; to build a strong economy; to create opportunities for our young people; to create hope for 45 million of us; and to create a peaceful and harmonious and a united country called Kenya.”
GOVT HAS BEEFED UP SECURITY AHEAD OF POLLS
Another online user enquired from the Head of State what measures the government has put in place to ensure that the country is not plunged into turmoil during the electioneering period.
President Kenyatta, in response, to the enquiry on security assurance during the polls, said: “I believe we have put in place all the necessary mechanisms to ensure that Kenyans are secure before, during and after the elections. But the most important factor is the Kenyan people themselves. We must ensure that we are able to carry out our democratic right; to cast a ballot for those leaders we wish to lead us. But at the same time, we must also ensure that after casting our ballot, we go home in peace, continue with our day to day lives and wait for that body that has been mandated by the Constitution (IEBC) to tell us which of those leaders has won; and for us to accept their decision and move on as a country with the full knowledge that elections come and go but Kenya remains.
“I want to assure all Kenyans that our security has put up all mechanisms to ensure that Kenyans are safe, but above all, it is our responsibility as Kenyans to ensure that we don’t plunge the country into violence.”
HOSTING IAAF WORLD U18 MADE ME PROUD: UHURU
The Head of State also touched on what he feels about leading the nation into hosting a successful IAAF World Under 18 Championships, which took place at the Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi on July 12 to July 16. Kenya scooped position four in the medal table, with 15 medals (4 gold, 7 silver and 4 bronze). South Africa emerged top with 11 medals (5 gold, 3 silver and 1 bronze). China took position two with 11 medals (5 gold, 2 silver, 4 bronze). Cuba pipped Kenya to emerge third, scooping eight medals (5 gold, 2 silver and 1 bronze).
President Uhuru Kenyatta is a proud man, given the successes of the event – from how it was organised to how impressive security was.
Responding to an online user, who enquired about how he feels about having hosted the last World Under 18 Championships, President Kenyatta said: “IAAF World U18 was a great success. We have many of our 17-years-olds and under that made us so proud; proud, proud, proud! They truly exhibited the talents that we have as Kenyans; the achievements that we can reach as Kenyans.
“They did us proud. They may not have come number one, but they put their all into making sure that Kenya was on the map. I personally feel very proud of hosting that event; that attracted athletes from across the globe; and the fact that each and every one of them felt that this was one of the best events ever hosted anywhere in the world, is a reason for everyone of us to feel proud of who we are; and feel proud of our country. I have made my commitment to do everything to ensure the young talents are able to reach and achieve their best.”
HOW I MET MARGARET KENYATTA: UHURU
Another online user sent the President into a rare moment of blushes, when he asked the Head of State how he met First Lady Margaret Kenyatta.
President Kenyatta responded: “This is an interesting one: How did I meet the First Lady? When I met her, she wasn’t the First Lady; she was just another wonderful, beautiful girl. Let me say that I first met her brother. Her brother and I studied together in high school. We became friends. Through him, I managed to meet his younger sister. And we started off a relationship that started from high school until now. So, for all of you: the person you meet today, as a friend and as a partner, could be your First Lady tomorrow. So, I still see her as the girl I met in high school, not the First Lady (laughs).”
President Uhuru Kenyatta said he will soon, before elections, treat Kenyans to another session of Facebook Live, where he responds real-time to questions fronted to him in the comments section.