Deputy President William Ruto has asked for forgiveness from all those he offended hours after President Kenyatta’s appeal.
“In keeping with HE’s (His Excellency’s) statement, I WSR (William Samoei Ruto) unreservedly apologise to anyone offended or hurt in anyway by what I have said or done at any time,” he posted on Twitter.
“Find it in your heart to forgive me. I have forgiven all those who wronged me. Let’s embark on building the bridges of friendship and unity.”
In his one-hour-and-22-minute speech, President Kenyatta on Wednesday extended the hand of reconciliation and unity following his handshake deal with opposition leader Raila Odinga on March 9.
“Since leadership is best done not by exhortation but by example, let me do as I have asked you to do. If there was anything I said last year that hurt or wounded you, if I damaged the unity of this country in any way, I ask you to forgive me, and to join me in repairing that harm,” President Kenyatta told a joint sitting of the Senate and the National Assembly when he delivered his first State of the Nation address.
In his speech, President Kenyatta said that while his deal with Mr Odinga had not solved all the problems, it had formed the first step in healing a divided nation that was at the brink of war during last year’s elections.
“When he and I met earlier in the year, we agreed to work together to strengthen the unity of our country. We hoped to emphasize then that collaboration, comprises both competition and disagreement,” President Kenyatta said of Mr Odinga.
“We did not immediately solve all Kenya’s most pressing problems, nor did we see eye-to-eye on every proposed answer. It is important to emphasize that unity doesn’t mean unanimity.”
Mr Ruto, who was in Parliament when his boss gave the speech, has maintained that the government’s decision to work with the opposition was not aimed at creating leadership positions.
The ongoing talks, Mr Ruto said, should benefit citizens not leaders.
“Even if we amend the Constitution, it should not be for creation of positions like an executive prime minister,” he said.
“Kenyans have the capacity to elect their leaders, not a few of us sitting in corners over a cup of tea and doing the selection.”
Some Kenyans online said they had accepted Mr Ruto’s public apology in a clear departure from their tradition: bashing.
Most Kenyans have in the past said nothing positive while reacting to DP Ruto’s tweets.
But things were different this time.
Sammy Muraya said: “That’s a great move of unsurpassed patriotism, and nationalism, You’re are an iconic statesman your excellency, now deal with the issue of huge Number of unemployed youths, or we shall be forced to be thugs and criminals despite being graduates…”
Abdikadir Aden tweeted: “Thank you Your Excellency. This sets the right tone for our country’s future. Hongera.”
Sammy Chirchir noted: “I have forgiven you your excellency, but please don’t offend me again.”
Patrick O. Kokonya said: “National Reconciliation is not a Choice, It’s a Responsibility of All. God Bless Kenya and her People.”
Sir Harry Okwako said: “Exactly sir well Confessed and said sir, thank for showing true spirit of leadership, caring, and sincere love to all of us Kenyans, Thanx.”
But Dancun Yogoh seemed to find fault in Mr Ruto’s apology.
“You only do it after the president has done it. That means it didn’t come from your heart,” he said.