President Uhuru Kenyatta’s first day of his three-day tour of Nyanza region in his ‘Handshake’ partner Raila Odinga’s backyard of Siaya County was dominated by the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) politics.
While addressing residents, the two leaders sought to assure their supporters that the BBI ‘reggae’ is still on despite facing a major setback at the High Court.
The two leaders attributed the development currently being witnessed in the country to the peaceful environment brought about by the handshake between them three years ago.
During the Sunday tour, speeches revolved around the BBI and referendum and the need for the two to continue partnering even in the future.
The two leaders reiterated that the BBI is crucial to laying a firm foundation for peace, unity and tranquillity, which will ensure development and prosperity for all.
“We have just experienced a minor setback in courts but I am sure that with the brilliant legal minds we have like Orengo, we will definitely emerge victorious at the Court of Appeal so that we achieve our goal to bring Kenyans together,” said Mr Kenyatta.
The President said what they wanted to achieve with the ODM Leader was for the benefit of the Kenyan people and not personal agendas as their critics keep saying.
“This BBI doesn’t help Raila and me or our families. This initiative is for all Kenyans so that we can achieve the necessary development we so desire,” said Mr Kenyatta.
Steadfast in the ‘Handshake’
Mr Odinga lauded President Kenyatta “for remaining steadfast in the ‘Handshake’ and fulfilling their agreement”, pointing out the current development projects as some of the fruits of their partnerships.
“Together we said we are uniting Kenyans to bring development in our nation and that’s why we brought BBI,” the former PM said.
The ODM leader was quick to point out that the President has initiated development projects across the country and not only in Nyanza as claimed by some people.
“These projects have brought smiles to the people of Nyanza and this is what development can do to a people. That is why we are optimistic that nobody can stop reggae,” said Mr Odinga.
“We thank the government for implementing various projects in this region. Since we did the ‘Handshake’, this brother of mine (President Kenyatta) has stood firm. He has ensured all that we agreed upon has been done in Lamu, Mombasa, Athi River, Mandera, Busia as we witness ongoing projects. Be it in Mt Kenya, Rift Valley and Lake Region, there is development taking place,” Mr Odinga said.
The Head of State launched the Sh1.2 billion Kodiaga-Nyangweso-Wagai-Onyinyore-Akala Road and commissioned the Siaya Bondo Water Supply and Sanitation Project in Ndanu, Yala.
The project was financed by the African Development Bank and the government of Kenya under the Small Towns Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project at a cost of Sh2.4 billion.
It serves Siaya, Bondo and Yala towns and Kogelo village and its environs. The project targets to serve 201,258 people with water supply and 51,060 people with sanitation services by 2040.
President Kenyatta later launched the Sh277 million Last Mile electricity connectivity project which targets residents of Gem.
The two leaders were accompanied by the Senate Minority Leader James Orengo, Siaya Deputy Governor James Okumbe and some legislators from Nyanza.
MPs present were Mr Opiyo Wandayi (Ugunja), Dr Otiende Amollo (Rarieda), Mr Elisha Odhiambo (Gem), Mr Samuel Atandi (Alego Usonga), Mr David Ochieng (Ugenya), and Mr Babu Owino (Embakasi East).