Nairobi — President William Ruto has asked Kenyans to embrace the spirit of peace, reconciliation and forgiveness.
President Ruto said leaders should put aside politics of the last General Election and take a common stand in addressing challenges facing Kenyans.
Speaking during this year's National Breakfast Prayer Service, held at the Safari Park Hotel, President Ruto said unity among leaders was key to prosperity of the country.
"Today, we are in the midst of a robust national conversation about public policies," he said.
He said Kenya's democratic culture has endowed the country with a rare opportunity to reason together and reconcile the nation's diverse views and resolve the raging disagreement over the revenue mobilization measures contained in the Finance Bill.
"I want to remind all leaders about the expectation that the people of Kenya have: That we love our country dearly, and will do our part to make Kenya work and succeed in promoting the well-being, dignity and liberty of all," said President Ruto.
"As leaders we must feel the pain about millions of our people living in slums if we are really humane,"
He said leaders and Kenyans were expected to be united by a vision of a strong, secure and prosperous Kenya where the people live in prosperity, freedom and happiness.
"I will go further and propose that although our ideas concerning the means, strategies and policies of achieving this vision may differ, we must remain cognizant of a line no one should ever cross: of wishing that this nation fails, or that her people suffer, just to vindicate our politics," he said.
"Neither can we pursue an agenda of sabotage in the name of competition," he added.
The Head of State noted that democracy was a divine political gift, which enables leaders to compete vigorously, as they often do, but also empowers them to reconcile their commitments.
He said leaders must recognize the fundamental unity of their truest aspirations in a single vision for a free, strong, prosperous, united and secure nation.
"This vision cannot admit the weaponisation of political grievances to punish the vulnerable, prejudice the innocent, injure the hardworking and afflict the struggling," said President Ruto.
Dr Ruto said the pursuit of political aspirations must also enhance justice, not undermine it, expand freedom, not constrict it, and must increase democracy, freedom and security, and not promote autocracy, tyranny, impunity, destruction and fear.
As the country participates in the Financial Bill debate, President Ruto prayed for leaders to open their eyes to make informed decisions.
"We pray to God to enable our leaders make informed choices between jobs in housing construction projects and rising youth unemployment, affordable decent housing and high rents as well as slum proliferation and between running our country with tax revenues or living beyond our means in more debt," said President Ruto.
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua said there was need for Kenyans to embrace reconciliation and forgiveness.
"As Government, we want to assure Kenyans that we are committed to reconciliation and forgiveness.
Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi said leaders should take the lead in reconciling Kenyans.
"If you've to reconcile, you should not be bothered by what critics of reconciliation say," said Mr Mudavadi.
National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetangula said national prayer service will be part of Parliament's calendar.
"The National Prayer Service will from next year be held last Thursday of May," said Mr Wetangula.
He said it was time leaders put aside their political differences and unite the country for the sake of prosperity.
Senate Speaker Amason Kingi urged leaders to embrace reconciliation and forgiveness as part of efforts to unite the country for prosperity.
First Lady Rachel Ruto and spouse of Deputy President Dorcas Gachagua said it's through prayers that the country can unite and prosper in terms of development.
Guest Speaker Dr Michael Hastings of Scarisbrick, UK House of Lords asked leaders to be responsible for their deeds.
He said citizens look upon leaders in solving the challenges facing them. - Presidential Communication Service