If you were expecting some sort of drama when President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta met with opposition leader Raila Odinga for the first time since the repeat presidential election, you were let down as the two political juggernauts kept it cordial and set an example for their followers.
The two political adversaries were among hundreds of Kenyans including Chief Justice David Maraga who attended the first centenary celebrations of the All Saints’ Cathedral on Sunday.
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The Anglican Church was celebrating its 100th anniversary with yesterday’s event being the culmination of the celebrations which began in February.
The service was presided over by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican communion, Justin Welby, and Archbishop of the Anglican Church Jackson ole Sapit.
Uhuru, together with First Lady Margaret Kenyatta and CJ Maraga, were seated in the front row as the former Prime Minister was seated two rows behind.
Raila greeted the first couple after he was invited up to the pulpit to receive a book of the cathedral’s history. He appeared very jovial from his body language.
The president-elect was the only public official given time to speak when invited to the pulpit. In his short address to the congregation, Uhuru stayed off politics and instead praised the church for the contributions it has made to the well being of Kenya.
“We are gathered here today as Kenyans to celebrate the great work the Anglican Church has done in Kenya. We celebrate what the church has done in health, education and in spreading the word of God and peace,” he said.
Uhuru said the church’s history is similar to that of Kenya. He added that the two have moved shoulder to shoulder from its time as a protectorate to date.
The also jovial Kenyatta commented on the generosity of the Anglican Church for offering him a chance to celebrate Holy Communion despite him being a Roman Catholic.
“Where I come from [Catholic Church], we don’t offer Communion to strangers and I was quite willing to go up but then I realised that this event is live and my Cardinal [John Njue] may be watching, and I wasn’t sure how he may respond to that,” said Kenyatta.
Archbishop Welby quickly responded in kind when gifting the President-elect after the latter’s address.
“Given that I gave the Pope a gift last Friday and he didn’t say no, I think I’m allowed to give this to you without the Cardinal getting you into trouble.”
The Anglican Church leader further called for reconciliation in Kenya as a way to solve personal and national differences.
“Since independence, Kenya has been a model for Africa, without coup d’etat, without civil war… yes with problems and trials, but for the most part keeping the peace. Can you not show us how to be a country of reconciliation,” said Archbishop Welby.