By John Oywa
President Kibaki capped his three-day tour of Nyanza with a symbolic meal at Prime Minister Raila Odingaâs rural home in what is billed as the dawn of new friendship between the two coalition principals.
He also laid a wreath at the mausoleum of Railaâs father, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, in Bondo, on Saturday.
It was a spectacle to behold as the two leaders, whose political differences led to post-election violence last year, settled to a sumptuous lunch in a tent at Railaâs Opoda Farm.
Surrounded by ministers from both sides of the coalition, the two leaders devoured delicacies of tilapia, chips, traditional ugali and beef prepared by Kisumu Hotel staff, under the supervision of Railaâs wife, Ida.
The hotel belongs to Maseno University. As they ate and exchanged pleasantries, the university band belted tunes from the far corner of the tent.
In his vote of thanks, Raila told Kibaki: "Mr President, this is our ancestral land. The land where I built belonged to my grandfather, Raila, after whom I am named."
Later at Jaramogiâs home, Kibaki laid a wreath on the opposition leaderâs tomb, said brief prayers and toured the Jaramogi Memorial Museum.
Pupils and women groups sang as Raila took Kibaki on a tour of the mausoleum where Jaramogiâs rich political history is stored.
At one corner of the museum, the President came face-to-face with paintings of himself, Raila, and Dr Kofi Annan, the man who saved Kenya from further bloodshed and brought the two leaders to form a coalition Government.
Although Kibaki attended Jaramogiâs burial in 1994 as Democratic Party leader, on Saturday was the first time he returned to Bondo.