President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday described political differences as the core of Kenya’s democracy, but warned against using such varying opinions to divide the nation.
He said differences, which are even more during any election, should be respected.
“There is no single Kenyan who went to the ballot box in this election and made a mistake (by voting for their candidate of choice),” President Kenyatta told a congregation at St Stephen’s Cathedral on Jogoo Road in Nairobi.
He spoke during the 39th memorial service for the country’s founding President Jomo Kenyatta.
He went on: “That is the essence and core of democracy. And without that respect for diversity, even our development agenda is not possible.”
“Let us also be able to respect our ability to have differing opinions but differing opinions do not mean enmity, we are still one people.”
President Kenyatta was declared winner after a high-stakes election on August 8.
His closest challenger Raila Odinga has however disputed the poll results and filed a petition at the Supreme Court.
Commenting on his father, who died on August 22, 1978, when the young Kenyatta was aged 16, the President described him as a man who deeply loved Kenya.
“Today we celebrate and remember the life of a man who, together with his colleagues, dedicated his life to attaining the independence of Kenya and for 17 years led as its founding father,” President Kenyatta, who was accompanied by his wife Margaret, and his mother, Mama Ngina Kenyatta, said.
The Head of State was optimistic that he and those of his generation had extended what Mzee Kenyatta and other independence heroes had hoped for the country.
“It is not that we have not made mistakes. We have. But we learn from our mistakes. And I am sure our forefathers will be proud of the achievements we have made,” he said.
Deputy President William Ruto, who also attended the service, described Mzee Kenyatta as a man who had made a huge contribution in bringing Kenya together as a nation.
“This morning, I am sure that Mzee is proud in Heaven to see what has become of the country he found.
“He will be pleased that two things happened: this election canvassed on the basis of issues, rather than ethnicity, and on the need of uniting Kenya,” the DP said.
He praised the formation of the Jubilee Party, after 12 political outfits folded and merged into one, as a critical step in achieving what he said will be a united country.
Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko described Mzee Kenyatta as a patriot, who soldiered on in his quest for freedom despite spending time in jail and facing threats to his life.