Kibaki Burial: Uhuru stays brief as DP Ruto declares 'no handshake in 2022'

Former President Mwai Kibaki was warmly interred at his Othaya home and beside former First Lady Lucy Kibaki in a celebratory ceremony attended by State and civilians alike, on Saturday.

President Uhuru Kenyatta received by his deputy William Ruto at the Nyayo National Stadium on April 29, 2022 during the State Funeral Service for Mwai Kibaki

Among the few allowed speakers during the solemn Catholic requiem mass held at the Othaya Approved School Grounds were both President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy Dr William Ruto.

The Kibaki Family having requested a politics-free endeavour, President Kenyatta kept his address brief, reiterating his detailed speech tribute delivered during the State Funeral Service at the Nyayo Stadium on April 29, 2022.

The President gave his address in Swahili, dedicating most of his time at the podium to the bereaved Kibaki family.

"I got my chance to eulogise our father yesterday... what the Archbishop has stated today is enough for me. Today we are here to bid Mzee farewell in honour, through the Holy Mass we've just held and assure his family that we are still as committed to finishing the journey we've been on with Mzee... and to let them know that all of Kenya is praying for you. So, you are not standing alone, we are with you and we shall continue to be with you," Uhuru stated.

The President concluded by calling all Kenyans to emulate the Kibaki's commitment to action-oriented leadership and thanked the people of Othaya for having produced the former President.

DP Ruto's address in Othaya on Saturday was significantly longer and more detailed than the brief speech he gave at the Nyayo Stadium.

Addressing mourners in the area's local dialect [Kikuyu], DP opened his speech with: "Arata a Kibaki, muriega? (Friends of Kibaki, are you well?)", exciting the crowd into a rousing reply in Kikuyu.

He went on to thank the Kibaki family for having allowed their father to serve the nation and 'sharing' him with the nation.

"From here in Thunguri, he accomplished many things... If there is a demonstration of 'bottom-up', we can learn through Mwai Kibaki. Inspired by Mwai Kibaki, we must keep the doors of opportunity open for many children in this village of Thunguri and many other such villages in Kenya... that they too can be great in their nation if they work hard and if they pray," Dr Ruto began.

Echoing sentiments by President Kenyatta on Friday and those of Amb. Francis Muthaura at the Saturday service, DP Ruto termed Kibaki as "the father of modern Kenya".

DP Ruto credited the former president for the exponential growth of the boda boda sector in Kenya, noting that the Kibaki administration zero-rated motorcycles making them affordable.

The 2022 presidential hopeful also conveyed gratitude for the support Kibaki extended to him personally - during his case at the International Criminal Court (ICC) and during Dr Ruto's respective tenures as Minister for Agriculture and in the Ministry of Higher Education.

At the peak of his address, DP Ruto called for a peaceful election to guarantee that 'a handshake' will not be necessary after the elections on August 9, 2022.

"I think a befitting send off to celebrate the third President of Kenya is for us to go into this election and make sure that the election will be peaceful, and that it won't be necessary for us to have a handshake. That the election will be peaceful. I think we owe it to Mwai Kibaki as we send him off," DP Ruto closed and proceeded to recognize the presence of MCAs, MPs, senators, governors and former vice presidents who had attended the event.

Archbishop Anthony Muheria, the officiant, went on to recognize both Speakers of Parliament and the Judiciary, as represented by Chief Justice Martha Koome.

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