Kenya stands with the US government in the fight against terrorism, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga has said.
Speaking in Boston on Saturday evening during the Dinner with Champions, an event held in honour of the Kenyan marathon team, Mr Odinga said Kenya just like the US has recently suffered from acts terrorism that threaten to disrupt the way of life of the majority of peace loving people in the two countries.
“What happened here in Boston during the marathon was an act of hate and cowardice that was meant to disrupt the peace and joy that has been associated with one of the most celebrated and historic marathons in the world. The people of Kenya join the people of America in condemning such acts,” the Cord leader told the Nation on the sidelines of the dinner.
Entertainment was provided by Kenyan artistes based in the US. Local children sung patriotic songs in memory of the victims of the attack that killed three people and injured more than 250 others. Caroline Wavai, a Kenyan survivor of the 1998 bombing in Nairobi, led the gathering in observing a minute’s silence.
Receiving the team, Mr Odinga said the history of Kenya’s runners in the Boston Marathon was well documented and he had no doubts that just as has become tradition, a Kenyan will win in Monday's race. “I’ll be at finish line tomorrow to receive you. We hope we win number one, two and three,” he said.
People at the site of the second explosion after the ceremony commemorating the one year anniversary of the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing, on April 15, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts. PHOTO | ANDREW BURTON
Exuding confidence, most of the runners who spoke to the Nation promised to give their best. “We know Kenyans around the world will be be watching us on Monday. We have the plan to win so tell them that we will give our best,” said Micah Kogo.
Rita Jeptoo, winner of last year's Boston Marathon in the women’s category will be competing together with other Kenyan stars like Sharon Cherop who won the marathon in 2012 and Caroline Kilel, winner of marathon 2011.
Others are Micah Kogo who finished second in last year’s event and Wilson Chebet who ran a personal best in Rotterdam 2011.
The former PM who was flanked by Mombasa County governor Hassan Ali Joho and senator Hassan Omar said Kenya’s long distance runners have boosted the name and image of the country. “Our runners are our best ambassadors and we have to support them. That is why I’m here and I’m glad to see so many Kenyans and Americans assembled here today,” he said.
Dinner with Champions is annual event hosted by Run with Kenyans to give support to the elite team that is to participate in the Boston Marathon. Four years on, the event has become popular not only with the athletes who are served familiar dishes such as ugali and chapati but also Kenyans living in the Boston area who get an opportunity to mingle with the stars.