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CNN hosts Uhuru after ‘hotbed of terror’ gaffe

President Uhuru Kenyatta says his election and that of his Deputy William Ruto is a sure indication that Kenya has “turned the corner” in dealing with ethnic divisions in the country.

In an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS, the President defended his record in reconciling communities who fought in 2008 post-election violence.

“I think we have done tremendously. If you know where Kenya was…and where Kenya is today, we have made tremendous progress,” he said on Sunday night.

“I think the first thing we ought to recognise is that most of the displaced people who ran from their farms or felt that they were not secure, almost 98 per cent are back in their original farms, moving on and continuing with their businesses.”

ODM vs PNU

The 2008 violence pitied communities deemed to support ODM against those thought to voted for PNU.

More than 600,000 people were displaced in skirmishes that also killed 1,113 people.

The investigations that followed culminated in the International Criminal Court indicting both Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto with four others of having had a hand in fueling the violence.

The ICC has since dropped charges for the President and three others; Francis Muthaura, Hussein Ali and Henry Kosgey, while Mr Ruto and Radio Journalist Joshua Sang are still fighting charges of crimes against humanity.

Yet some of those displaced during the violence eight years ago are still living in deplorable conditions in the camps today. On Sunday, some 150 families in Naivaisha complained they had been ignored by the government.

Last week, Deputy President William Ruto distributed compensation cheques worth Sh1.1 billion to IDPs in Nakuru, Uasin Gishu and Bomet counties in what the government argued was the final programme of resettlement.

“Today and tomorrow (Sunday) I will be visiting IDP camps in the three counties to give 5,387 families Sh1.1 billion. Each of the families will be getting Sh200, 000 to help them buy land and start afresh,” said Mr Ruto.

“I know that the number has been changing but I believe that after this round, we will not hear of any more camps.”

The money will benefit 25,000 people has already been deposited in the individual accounts of the IDPs at the Kenya Commercial Bank.

HEALED WOUNDS

On the CNN show, however, President Kenyatta argued the fact that Kenyans elected him and his deputy, people who were in opposite sides during the run-up to the 2007 elections, means the country has healed those wounds.

“The biggest signal that Kenya has really turned the corner, is the fact of my election and my deputy’s election. We were the two who were charged, supposedly with fomenting this particular situation.

“But the people chose specifically to elect me as the president and him as deputy President. I mean, what clearer indication that people have actually come back together?”

The President also talked about the state of the economy saying “the African Renaissance is still on” but admitting corruption is still a challenge.

He argued Kenya’s geographical location also means the challenge of violent extremism is real, but argued that his government was now focusing on dissuading youth from joining violent groups.