The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Calls for Peace, Security at Prayer Breakfast

President Kibaki yesterday led the nation in prayers with calls for peace, security and tolerance ahead of the General Election next year.

The head of state who is retiring next year after serving the maximum two terms allowed under the constitution also urged Kenyans to remain vigilante and hold those aspiring to assume the leadership of the country to accountable moral and developmental agenda. "I urge all aspirants to peacefully seek support without resorting to violence and vulgar language. Kenya's democracy has come of age and we must all learn to tolerate different shades of political opinion," President Kibaki said yesterday

He was speaking at the 10th Annual National Prayer breakfast where he joined National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende, US Democratic senator Chris Coons and MPs to pray for the country. Elections, he noted, should not be the reason for diving Kenyans along tribal lines. He therefore called for preservation of Kenya's unitary state. "Let us also present to God the challenges facing our nation for His intervention. There are many challenges before us especially security related, negative ethnicity, corruption and disease," the president said.

He also challenged every Kenyan to make it an individual responsibility to fight the vices of insecurity, negative ethnicity, corruption and disease. "Unless we take individual responsibility to fight these vices, our efforts as a government will be in vain. I urge you all to hold aspiring leaders accountable to a moral and developmental agenda."

Marende urge leaders to put aside their narrow interests for the sake of the country. "The future of this great nation is predicated upon its leadership," he said. Senator Coons said the US will support Kenya's electoral process but reiterated that Washington had no interest in election neither was it supporting any particular candidate. American people, he said, were interested in a free and fair process whose outcome will be acceptable to Kenyan people. "As we look into the future of Kenya, my prayer is that you will have free, fair, transparent and peaceful elections. We need a world in which we submit to the will of God," the junior Senator from Delaware said.

The occasion also saw the private sector and the clergy take politicians to task to keep peace in their campaigns. Linus Gitahi who spoke on behalf of the private sector said the sector has launched the 'Mkenya Daima' (Forever Kenyan) campaign to foster selfless leadership and nationhood ahead of the General Election. Anglican Archbishop Eliud Wabukala said the ongoing campaigns were threatening the peace and asked politicians to be more responsible. "As I look around at the way politics is being conducted I feel we have not done enough. We must respect the rule of law," the Anglican prelate said. The occasion was also graced by diplomats accredited to Kenya, students, members of the judiciary including suspended Deputy Chief justice Nancy Baraza and invited foreign dignitaries.

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