President William Ruto has defended his affectionate reference to opposition leader Mr Raila Odinga, who he recently called “my brother”.
The term “my brother” is associated with the former Head of State Uhuru Kenyatta, who usually referred to Mr Odinga as his elder brother.
While addressing a section of Muslim leaders at State House on Monday evening during the Iftar, President Ruto said that if referring to the Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Coalition leader as his brother will make him end the protests, then he will keep doing it.
“If calling Raila as my brother will make him call off demonstrations, I’ll call him my brother ten times, and I will even refer him as my dear brother,” President Ruto said.
During the last regime, both Mr Kenyatta and Mr Odinga would call each other “my brother” as a description of their close working relationship, which started in 2018 after a Handshake.
In his recent address, which was about the bi-partisan negotiation with the opposition, President Ruto said that they agreed to end their differences and allow representatives from both the political divide to table their grievances.
Before then, the President, who is known for being sarcastic, would refer to Mr Odinga with abusive phrases such as ule mtu wa kitendawili, yule jamaa wa fujo, mtu wa handshake and mtu wa kung’oa reli, among other names.
The Monday event at State House was attended by Prime Cabinet Secretary Muslaia Mudavadi and Defence CS Aden Duale, among others.
Criticising the prayers
The President also asked his critics to stop criticising the prayers and services at the State House.
He noted that a section of Kenyans have been complaining about the frequent services that started after the Kenya Kwanza administration took over the office last year.
“I had prayers here sometime back because of the election, and some people started saying that this man has turned the place to be the house of prayers. I know that even tomorrow, they will say that I’ve turned the State House into a place of prayers. I want to ask them to stop worrying, this is the place of prayers, and it will continue to be the place of prayers” President Ruto said.
The President reiterated that Kenya was a God-fearing nation.
“As a person who believes in God, as a religious person, I take a lot of pride in associating with people who believe in God. Because I know the benefits of fearing God,” he said.
President Ruto also said that he had no apology for frequent visits to the places of worship.
He said that due to his belief in God, he will continue to forge ahead uniting Kenyans, and preaching peace. By Kevin Cheruiyot, NMG