President Uhuru Kenyatta has waded into the controversy triggered by Deputy President William Ruto’s admission on nearly slapping his boss with the popular “ningemchapa kofi” remarks.
Uhuru: What I would have done if Ruto slapped me
Tell me the mistake I made, that they say they wanted to slap me for - Uhuru
While speaking during a meeting with religious leaders from Mt Kenya at State House Nairobi, the President explained that had Ruto slapped him during the heated meeting, he would have handled the situation as guided by the Bible.
President Kenyatta quoted Mathew 5:39 which states “But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also,” and explained that he would have done exactly that had Ruto dared to slap him.
“If he would have slapped me, I would have turned the other cheek because I have no time or place for violence," Uhuru stated.
He added: “Let me ask you, because he has been going around telling you that I made a mistake by shaking Raila’s hands, tell me, have you heard since then of chaos or violence between people from different communities? Have we not enjoyed peace since 2018? Tell me the mistake I made, that they say they wanted to slap me for,” he added.
Ruto and the hard-liners
The president hailed the handshake with ODM leader Raila Odinga, revealing that even when the country was on the verge of plunging into chaos with a clear need for dialogue, his deputy and other hard-liners did not want him to engage with Raila.
“A deal has two people, it never has one… In 2017 you all know what happened, we were almost heading back to the 2007 situation. Those in Nairobi and live among other communities know what I am talking about…we started hearing a kiosk has been burnt there, someone has been killed there…
“Unfortunately, my deputy and some other people did not want me to dialogue with Raila, they were asking me why I was talking to him, and I told them, because they are Kenyans, and won’t leave this country, do you want Kenyans to die in bloodshed? What is wrong with talking to them, if that will result in peace and harmony? I told my deputy, I differ with you, I will embrace dialogue, if that is what will lead to peace. So, I talked to Raila, we forgave each other for the many bad things we had said about each other and shook hands,” said Kenyatta.
'Ningemchapa kofi' remarks by Ruto
A leaked audio recording in which Ruto is heard explaining the events of the day to a group of Kikuyu elders who visited him at his Karen residence on July 1 lifted the lid on what transpired shortly after the Supreme Court annulled the results of the 2017 presidential elections and ordered a fresh poll.
Ruto revealed that Uhuru was not keen on fighting for a second term and even considered heading back to his Ichaweri village.
“So, ndiyo huyo… Oh, sasa, hii maneno, sijui nini, mimi sitaki, mimi nataki kuenda Ichaweri, sasa mimi sitaki, wacha tuachane na hii kitu.
"(There he was, saying that he is not keen on taking part in the repeat elections and that he wants to go to Ichaweri, that we should abandon this thing),” Ruto narrated.
“Mimi nikamwangalia, nikamwambia ‘wewe’! Ni vile tu nilikua na heshima, ningemchapa kofi. Ati sisi tuache?”
"(I just looked at him and only said ‘you!’ It is only that I respected him, otherwise I would have slapped him. How could we just quit?),” Ruto recalled.
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