By PSCU/KBC Team
President Uhuru Kenyatta led the nation in paying tribute to fallen Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) heroes and their families at Defence Forces Memorial Hospital.
Accompanied by leaders from across the political divide and diplomats, the President called for unity of purpose from all saying this was the time, Kenyans must stand as one in the fight against the common enemy.
“We must tell our enemies that we are one nation, today we speak as one nation, the enemy must understand very clearly that at this moment there is no governing party nor opposition we are united and we will not be cowed,” said President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Speaking after visiting the injured KDF officers who were last Friday attacked by Al Shabaab rag tag militia in El-Adde area of war ravaged Somalia, Uhuru said the army and the air force have since recaptured the camp and are currently pursuing the militias into their hide outs.
The President urged leaders not to politicize the fight against Al Shabaab and terrorism, saying Kenyans must join hands against the common enemy.
“In this fight there is no Christian nor Muslim, it is a war against terrorism which we must win as a nation,” said the Head of State.
Saying he was very proud of the men and women in uniform, the President said he was gratified with the hard work being done by the security forces in defending the country.
“Our cause is to protect the people and Constitution of this country, our territorial integrity, to ensure that no enemy within or without is allowed the opportunity to attack us and to take our liberty,” said the President.
The President appealed to Kenyans regardless of faith to pray for the souls of fallen heroes, “and to thank the Almighty God for blessing us with men and women of character and patriotism.”
He hailed families that have personnel working with the security forces saying they are patriotic, “Your families are patriotic; they love this country as much as you do,” said the Commander in Chief.
He said the Kenya Defence Forces is already on the ground in Somalia conducting search, rescue and recovery operations and have recaptured the El Adde base “and are pursuing the enemy deep in their hideouts,” he said and added, “We are at war; the nature of the threat not only locally, regionally but globally is growing. It threatens democracy, development, and the humanity’s hopes for peace.”
President Uhuru Kenyatta called on the Somalia government to be on the right side of history, by ensuring they have in place a credible government that ensure peace and security for all Somalis.
“It is your moment to demonstrate that you are ready to build a stable and credible government in control of your entire territory,” said the President.
The Head of State said Al Shabaab and its fellow terrorist organizations do not know humanity as they disguise their vile aims to oppress and destroy behind a veil of religion and represent an ambition to remake the world into a tyranny of caliphates in which all the precious freedoms we have fought so hard to win would be destroyed.
In an apparent answer to those vouching for a non military approach to the Al Shabaab, war, the President reminded them that, terrorists can never stop attacking until their ability to do so is militarily destroyed, and their ideology discredited in its entirety.
He said the Friday attack has renewed Kenya’s determination to destroy Al Shabaab and all terrorist groups that threaten Kenya.
He appealed to Kenyans to understand that the war requires that each and everybody is united “that we stand shoulder to shoulder to face the enemy of humanity and urged political leaders, both at national and local level to appreciate that the war against terrorism is real and requires an non-political approach.
“You can refuse to be a conduit for the terrorists’ images and messages on social media. You can challenge their ideology wherever you may hear it by proclaiming loudly and proudly that Kenya is a country whose different religions and communities live together in fellowship, and the common aim of building a prosperous and peaceful tomorrow for our children,” said the President.
Deputy President William Ruto who echoed the President’s sentiments called for the need for unity as the country takes the battle to the enemy.
“Every Kenyan must understand that this is a war that requires that we be united as a nation, that we stand shoulder to shoulder to face the enemy of humanity. That we should not be deterred no matter the challenges they try to push our way,” the Deputy President said.
The Deputy President noted that the tenacity of the Kenyan people is insurmountable and “We will overcome El Adde the way we overcame Westgate,” said Ruto.
CORD leader Raila Odinga said while they(Opposition) may not agree on how best to fight Al Shabaab Kenyans must unite and support the government to vanquish the enemy.
Raila who condoled with the families of the departed soldiers, the CORD leader said Al Shabab must be stopped. “When they try to stop us we must take the battle back to them,” he said and added,“
God hates injustice. We must not allow ourselves to be consumed by anger but be forthright in our fight against the enemy.”
Saying that those behind the deadly attack must be brought to account, Raila said if the country pulls together, “We have the faith that this, shall come to pass.”
“As a country, we refuse to cry. We are here to celebrate the heroism of our soldiers. We want you to believe with us in these three words…We Shall Overcome,” said the CORD Leader.
He appealed to Kenyans to each plant a tree in remembrance of the fallen heroes, “The tree will take a long time to grow, just like our wounds will take a long time to heal.”