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Kenyatta, Odinga make peace to heal Kenya political divisions 

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga met Friday in an apparent effort to settle months of violent post-election tensions. The meeting came just hours before a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

In the surprise meeting, Kenyatta and Odinga agreed to work toward unifying the country after last year’s divisive presidential election. The two – who, after their meeting, appeared together to give separate statements to the press – acknowledged the country was heading in the wrong direction.

Raila Odinga and Uhuru Kenyatta at Harambe House in Nairobi

Healing divisions

Odinga, who has refused to recognize Kenyatta as president, paraphrased U.S. president Abraham Lincoln. He said Kenyans needed to know where they are and where they want to go before they can better judge what to do and how to do it.

"Fifty-four years since independence, we are challenged to audit our progress toward the ideals for which our fathers fought to establish a free and independent country and for which many of our compatriots died."

As leaders, said Odinga, they had a duty to reflect on their performance in reaching Kenya’s goals since independence: justice, unity, peace, liberty and prosperity for all.

Kenyatta said the two men came to a common understanding that for Kenya to come together, its leaders must come together.

"And this is what me and my brother have agreed," Kenyatta said, referring to Odinga. "That starting today, we will begin a process of bringing our people together. That we will begin a process discussing what ails us and what creates division amongst us."

Reconciliation panned

Miguna Miguna, a prominent Kenyan opposition lawyer and politician who was deported to Canada in February, denounced the Kenyatta-Odinga reconciliation.

In a statement posted to Facebook on Friday, he called the rapprochement "a fundamental betrayal of the innocent Kenyans who have lost their lives" supporting Odinga in several elections over the last decade.

Last fall alone, Kenyan security forces killed at least 55 people in election-related violence, according to Human Rights Watch. Miguna, whose deportation was ruled illegal by Kenya's High court, said in his statement that he would return to Kenya on March 26 "to continue the struggle for electoral justice…."

Support for collaboration

On the streets of Nairobi, Kenyans also welcomed the leaders’ agreeing to work together.

“It’s a really good step towards harmonizing the country," said Brian Wanjoki, a pedestrian. "Because the electioneering period has left us divided ... supporters of both sides. So, I think it’s a really good idea that they’ve met. And, hopefully we can progress from this.”

Another man, Philip Ndung’u, also seemed encouraged by the leaders' meeting.

Noting "the economy has been down," Ndung'u said if the two "resolve their issues, well, at least it will show that we are moving forward and the issue to do with the election is it behind us.”

Devil in the details

Kenya was plunged into political crisis after the Supreme court annulled the August presidential election, due to irregularities, and Odinga and his supporters boycotted a second round in October.

Odinga refused to recognize Kenyatta’s win; in January, he held a rally where his supporters symbolically inaugurated the opposition leader as president. Observers feared further division would follow the provocative action and the government’s crackdown on independent television and the opposition.

Friday’s breakthrough came just hours before U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's first official visit Kenya. That's not a coincidence, said independent political analyst Martin Andati.

"The meeting must have been come out of pressure from the U.S. secretary of state," Andati said. "... You know the West has been very keen on trying to get Uhuru and Raila to meet. So, it helps ease the political tensions....”

While Andati called the agreement on unification significant for healing Kenyan politics, the devil will be in the details. We need to understand what exactly has been agreed upon, he said, noting the Kenyan leaders’ statements contained only generalities.

Comments

0 #1 Akot 2018-03-10 15:24
Kenyatta, Odinga,

Thank you for waking up at last & put long time grudges behind, for the sake of Kenya!

It's time Kenya & Tanzania start funcitoning while waiting for Ugandans to get rid of museveni & rejoin to make us relive the old East African Community respect-friendliness-brotherwood...we were so proud to share!

Kenya & Tanzania refused to give asylum to museveni beause they saw through him years ago, so it's time they isolate the demon who want to dominate the region with his evil plans!

Kenya & Tanzania must now know what real democracy is: it's not continuing asociating with demon museveni in power for +32 years, has made it clear he alone will be chief tribal leader of Uganda forever, that will help the 2 sister countries reinforce the begining of their intention to build Kenya TOGETHER & in peace!

Not to forget that Kenyatta will also leave museveni in power!
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0 #2 kabayekka 2018-03-10 21:55
In a modern democracy these days, a candidate that is found out to rig or to stole a democratic election is disqualified from participating in another election.

What is wrong with African politics that does not see such a viable command and accepts GERRYMANDERING to continue unabated in the electrol system on the African continent?
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+1 #3 kabayekka 2018-03-10 22:09
It is unfortunate that North America and the European Community accepts Gerrymandering to continue on the African Continent even if it is a criminal offence in their own countries.

These are countries that should be setting up an example to the rest of the countries that aspire to democratic systems of civilization.
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+1 #4 charles semambo 2018-03-11 04:41
I hope all of can learn what our brothers in Kenya are doing, they have both realized that the country is bigger than all of them and more still both their fathers fought a bitter war which none of them ever won.

Therefore we should all salute these two gentlemen for showing whats eluding us here in Uganda, statesmanship, not in NRM nor the Opposition.
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+1 #5 WADADA rogers 2018-03-11 11:19
This was a deal reached after Odinga realised the old adage that if you cant beat them, you join them.

Secondly, Odinga has always lacked consistency, he says one thing to mean another but this time round, he was very crafty during the joint unity speech, he refused to refer to Uhuru as President but as my brother.

Rumour in the corridors is that he has successfully divided the opposition and has cut a deal which will see his daughter become a running mate in the next presidential elections to either Gideon Moi or Ruto the current vice president. Such is politics.
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+1 #6 WADADA rogers 2018-03-11 11:28
When all is said and done, I think the decision controversial as it is to the likes of Miguna Miguna, Kalonzo etc should be welcomed, Kenya is bigger than these two elephants who often fight leaving the grass-Kenyans to suffer
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+1 #7 Apollo Ekelot 2018-03-11 12:37
A great move to say I must say. I am wondering when Museveni and Besigye will have such a meeting for the sake of Uganda our country.

Kenyans are looking to probably better and stable days ahead because of this selflessness.

The chest thumping by the two Ugandan leaders for 20 years now is a costly affair that we should never have gotten into in the first place!

Just imagine the cost of maintaining Museveni as the strong man and keeping Besigye out of things!

Museveni's big army of the presidential guard...... and all the police meant ensure Besigye is checked!

The only time the police are most active is when they are tackling Besigye or when they themselves are involved in crime; what a pity!

Since Besigye became as issue, police numbers including budgets have catapulted several times with no accompanying benefit to Ugandans who have suffered at the bane of criminals! It takes coming down from the pedestal which Museveni believes is beneath him. How sad?!
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0 #8 Ocaya pOcure 2018-03-12 00:36
Fellow Ugandans, we must ethnic chauvinism

I think Kenyan politics due to consistent and maturity political stands by Raila Odinga Amolo, it seems Kenyans will succeed to build a strong political system. Why?

Because in Raila Odinga we do not see the pursuance of politics of individual merits politics – aka – pira kena – for myself, which had constantly been used by the NRA/M politicians when they went to their infamous Luweero triangle and came to power using the ethnic majority syndrome politics!

Pathetically, the NRA/M7 regime used the Baganda folks as cannon powder based on the doctrine of anti – OBOTE and UPC had consumed Baganda politics since the 1966 political crisis.

This dubious and bad political chapter does not exist in Kenya if my history teaches me right!
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+1 #9 Ocaya pOcure 2018-03-12 00:38
Fellow Ugandans, agreeable, Buganda had been in existence before the state we call Uganda.

Clearly, I think the 1966 political crisis had been a political waterloo for both OBOTE and Buganda folks.

It had sadly been the Trojan horse in Uganda politics. It was this Trojan horse, which became the political foundation the NRA/M7 politicians used and got the ground to launch her warfare politics against OBOTE and UPC government with dire consequent on the whole Ugandans. This kind of politics, I think had not been in Kenyan politics.

Their political equation to fight for justice had not been on ‘ethnic majority syndrome,’ and chauvinism!

In Uganda, we are unfortunately stuck always and remained rigid and quite static in following the sad doctrine of ethnic chauvinism left by British Colonials.
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0 #10 Akot 2018-03-12 19:08
Ocaya pOcure, how is Payiiro?

Well stated, but today, it's not Dr Obote but another conqueror that Bugand is playing with, while the rest of the country just watches as if they are not concerned!

Sir E.Mutesa ll made a choice & the Republic of founded, yet, when Dr Obote became power hungry, all Buganda had to do, as it should today, is make it's stand clear & not help museveni conquer the entire country!

Buganda should by now know it's only safe with the other tribes & not with museveni who is on the point of owning each & every tribal land!

What is so dangerous for Ugandans Uniting to throw museveni out then go for the kind of governance they want?

How will tribally divided Ugandans fight museveni after they shall have helped him own their country constitutionally?
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