Speech by H.E. William Ruto EGH, EBS, Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya on Westgate Mall attack

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My dear fellow Kenyans, I have been away for the last one week at the Hague in the Netherlands, in connection with the case I am defending at the International Criminal Court.

I learnt of the terrorist attack at the Westgate Mall last Saturday with great shock and sadness. It being a weekend, I could not travel at once without the permission of the International Criminal Court’s Trial Chamber, and it was deeply frustrating to be so far away at a time when my countrymen and women were being tormented by these criminals. Even so, I remained in constant contact with His Excellency the President who reassured me, and also received regular updates from responsible State agencies.

At the earliest opportunity, I requested, and was allowed to leave The Hague briefly in order to be home at this time. I feel much better being here than sitting far away at a time like this. Kenya is the only home I know, and my first responsibility will always be to Kenya and its people.

I have been encouraged by the Kenyans’ magnificent response to the attack. Our President’s fortitude in withstanding deep personal grief while leading the nation in taking charge of the situation has been exemplary and humbling.

We have been assaulted by hateful, unthinking cowards whose depravity motivates them to seek gratification in killing and maiming innocent, harmless people. Their moral deformity is monstrous and appalling. Their commitment to evil has robbed their hearts of the merest suggestion of human consideration. That does not mean that they are impregnable; as we have just demonstrated, terrorism can and must be fought mercilessly and defeated wherever it occurs.

I join our President and the Kenyan nation to mourn those who perished in the mayhem, and to comfort the bereaved and the injured. Poleni sana. I have been praying, and will continue to pray for all of you to find divine solace at the feet of God.

I also associate myself with the President’s appreciation of all the selfless and commendable demonstrations of generosity, empathy and goodwill . You have helped a lot to relieve the suffering and grief of affected families and demonstrated to our enemies how indomitable the Kenyan spirit is.

There have been hundreds of thousands of donors, volunteers and Good Samaritans who responded unbidden, and without any hesitation whatsoever, to the suffering of their brothers and sisters. You never asked the name of the affected, where - in this country, or the world - they come from, or whether they were related to you. It was enough that they are human, and that they needed you. And you gave without thought to your own interest, and without expecting any reward. That is the finest demonstration of your innate nobility and integrity that anyone can require of you.

Our officers from KDF and the police services, as usual, continue to serve selflessly and make painful sacrifices on our behalf. I have been deeply touched to learn that many of you died while confronting the terrorists. I join the President and the nation in expressing our appreciation for your service.

Many of our international friends have expressed their solidarity and support to Kenya during the crisis. We appreciate their words of comfort and offers of assistance; just as we are our brother’s keeper, friendly nations are each other’s keepers. Although we have subdued the terrorists on our own, we will not forget that these friends stood by us.

I have learnt that the MPesa Pay Bill account for donation has accumulated over KShs 40,000,000 out of didital solidarity and generosity. I am also aware that hospitals treating the injured turned away hundreds of people when their capacity was overwhelmed with blood donations. Today, the Kenya Red Cross stopped its drive because they were no longer able to receive the donations of the thousands who queued at Uhuru Park and other places in the country. More than these, there are many people donating and helping to keep the multi-agency intervention seamlessly supported. Cumulatively assessed, you have done astounding and wonderful things. But your achievement goes beyond that; your effort transcends the sum of individual contribution. It is a miracle. Kenya is a nation of wonder-workers .And I am proud to be one of you. Truly, deeply, powerfully proud.

We have defeated hatred with pure love. We overcame cruelty with kindness. We have conquered mindless anarchy with sanity and composure. We answered cowardice with solid courage. This way, the seeds of discord and despondency gave way to solidarity and resolve.

And we have triumphed. God, whom we hail in our National Anthem, and acknowledge in our constitution, answered our prayers and stood on our side. Whatever the protestations of the perpetrators of this insupportable attack, they work for the Devil.

We shall not relent. We shall sustain the work of keeping Kenya safe to protect ourselves and our prosperity. We will keep on being what we always have been: a tolerant, open, democratic and peaceful people. God bless all of you.

God bless Kenya.