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Uhuru: I would have turned the other cheek had Ruto ‘slapped’ me

President Uhuru Kenyatta has finally broken his silence on the controversy triggered by a leaked audio recording in which Deputy President William Ruto revealed how he once almost slapped the head of state.

The president, while speaking to religious leaders drawn from all Mt Kenya counties, on Friday corroborated the DP’s revelation that he was ready to give up his quest for a second term in office after the Supreme Court nullified his election victory in 2017.

President Kenyatta said that he could not withstand bloodshed that was anticipated following the polls dispute.

Mr Kenyatta also said that had Ruto slapped him, he would have handled as per Biblical teachings.

“Even if I was slapped because of my decision to resign, I would have asked them to slap the other cheek… I did not have space for war. There can be no development without peace and stability,” President Kenyatta said.

“Presidency is not more important than human lives. Hizi viti umeona tumekalia si muhimu sana kushinda maisha za binadamu (These seats we occupy are not more important than human lives)” the president told the clergy.

The president’s remarks came after the DP said he used the term “slapping” the president figuratively, since nobody could slap the president.

“You sincerely think you can slap the president? That is a figure of speech. The point I was trying to make to this audience was that the president was almost giving up,” Ruto said during a media interview.

The DP went on to recount the incident, that was leaked to the public early this week in an audio recording.

“President Kenyatta told me, ‘William I don’t want to continue, I want to go to Ichaweri.’ I told him ‘my friend, you are not about to do anything silly like that’. That’s what a genuine friend is all about. When your friend is about to give up you must be there to support them, to encourage them, to tell them not to make the wrong decisions,” he said.

Ruto had earlier on said that he has no regrets about urging President Kenyatta not to give up on the presidency.