OPINION: Uhuru-Raila Meeting A Surprise That Must Bear Fruits

Raila (L) & President Uhuru (R)

Though the opposition, the religious fraternity, the business community and investors, stakeholders, the diplomatic community and the international community have for months been pressing for dialogue between President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga when it came it was the biggest surprise of the year.

As a matter of fact it was the biggest surprise to the Kenyans who have for more than a year been treated almost on a daily basis political confrontations, threats, posturing, clashes…name it between the two leaders – a situation that degenerated to the worst levels ever in the run up to, during and after the farcical mess that were the last general elections.

One of the most important points about that meeting is the total secrecy in which the planning and the scheduling was executed clearly in direct communication between President Kenyatta himself and his opposition rival Odinga. It is clear that even some of their closest political allies and aides were completely kept in the dark.

Indeed it is very telling that on his side President Kenyatta kept his own Deputy President William Ruto in the dark more so that even Kinuthia Mbugua, the man who handles the President’s diary as Comptroller of State House, knew nothing of its planning and execution.

It has since emerged that so was Interior minister Fred Matiang’i and the Deputy Chief of Staff, Njee Muturi, both who were at Harambee House where what could be said to be the historic meeting between the two leaders took place.

On the other hand Odinga kept even his own National Super Alliance (NASA) co-principal in total darkness only for them like millions of other Kenyans to learn of the meeting after it took place. That must have also included some of his closest political allies like Siaya Senator James Orengo and Kisumu Governor Prof. Anyang Nyong’o.

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The biggest irony here is that President Kenyatta the man who was behind the switching off air the country’s leading media outlets, the Citizen TV, NTV and KTN over live coverage of Odinga’s swearing in at Uhuru Park as a Peoples’ President needed them to tell the world about their just finished more than two hours meeting.

What is clear is the fact despite what President Kenyatta and Odinga discussed in the closed door meeting, leave alone its planning and execution, the biggest stage has been set for the country’s political speculators and political rumour mills grinders since they were handed more than they could chew.

Indeed on both sides of the political divide many feathers will be ruffled by the move executed by the two principals particularly those grinding their own political axes for political and even financial survival – the end result will be predictable anger, condemnation, accusations and counter accusations…name it to give fodder to the political speculators and rumour mill grinders.

However, considering the extreme political temperatures the country has been experiencing since long before the August 8th, 2018 general elections to date with devastating consequences to the economy the meeting was a welcome relief as many stakeholders across the country have already said in reaction to the occurrence.

It must be very clear that what the country really needs is national healing and economic propensity where money circulation in the economy is not a nightmare that the country has been going through over the last six years – all this boils down to the fact that the national interests are greater than those of any individual.

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What remains to be seen are the fruits to the country of this meeting, particularly the melting down of the extreme political tensions and temperatures worsened by a constantly deteriorating economy to the extent that the government has since literally admitted that it was indeed broke.

It has since emerged that those who sat in the meeting included President Kenyatta and Mr. Martin Kimani, on the one side, and Mr. Odinga, Mr. Junet Mohammed, Mr. Mwangi and Ms Winnie Odinga on the other.

The talks lasted for two and half hours. When the leaders emerged to make a televised address, they told the nation of their desire to work together to halt the country’s descent following a divisive general election last year.

Indeed the media was there to report quote as the Saturday Nation reported: “We must confront and resolve our differences,” Mr. Odinga said, referring to the President as “ndugu yangu (my brother). “We want to unite Kenya.”

President Kenyatta was quoted as saying: “We will begin the process of bringing our people together, and pledged talks on what ails the country and find solutions. The future must be dictated by the stability of our country.”

Odinga pointed out that there are changes that are required in our system of governance for us to succeed and we have been in the process of reform to deal with them for the last twenty years and yet, despite all the reforms, we continue to have deep and bitter disagreements. Ethnic antagonism and divisive political competition have become a way of life.

It has since emerged that the two leaders agreed to rollout a programme that will implement their shared objectives revolving around the war on corruption, ethnic antagonism and competition, lack of national ethos, inclusivity, devolution and divisive elections as part of the grand scheme to unite the country.

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To implement the programme, the two agreed to set up an office and retain a retinue of advisers to assist in the implementation. They picked Mr. Martin Kimani and Mr. Paul Mwangi to oversee the establishment of the programme.

The two leaders urged the Kenyan public to overcome the negative cycle by acting on the understanding that elections on their own are not solution to our national challenges at the same time pleading with the nation to faithfully adhere to the Constitution, halting antagonism and profiling and ensuring the promotion of inclusivity.

Indeed these are some of the most critical issues that are killing this nation that long overdue from being addressed and permanent solutions put in place to protect the interests of the nation and its people.

The most important and difficult thing is implementing these issues to the letter not forgetting that in the process there will be many pitfalls and roadblocks deliberately erected and fiercely guarded by those who have their own political and financial exes to grind.

It must not be forgotten that these characters with personal axes to grind can be so viciously violent and fearless to them nothing can stand in their way, the solution to deal with them is equal measure of deadly ruthlessness if the national interests are at stake.

Indeed in politics there are no permanent enemies, recently the Citizen Weekly splashed on its front page – “Raila’s Secret Telephone Conversations With Uhuru” detailing how the two often had frequent discussions on telephone that were always kept secret from the public or even ardent supporters.




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