Differences: The good and irony of leaders’ unity pact

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga on during the famed March 9, 2018 handshake. [File, Standard]

Exactly one year after the handshake, a fresh storm contrary to the unity objectives of the event is erupting in the political landscape.

While majority agree that the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga on March 9, last year, has calmed the country, there is concern the gesture may have sowed new seeds of discord.

In a bolt from the blues, the pact between President Kenyatta and former premier upset the political configurations, giving rise to different formations.  Raila had, at Uhuru Park taken a solemn oath to be true to God for the leadership as president of the people’s assembly.

Coming from a divisive poll and two swearing-ins, the handshake by the President and his political foe-turned-brother Raila was an air of fresh breath according to Suna East MP Junet Mohamed. Ford Kenya leader and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula believes the handshake was a welcome move but insists there was a lot that needed to be done to ensure the lull becomes permanent.

“At the moment the handshake is under good will of two people, this makes it very temporary, we need to expand this to run in the veins of every Kenyan regardless of tribe, race or their economic background,” he said.

The truce according to Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru has delivered a needed break from combative and polarising post-election politics.

Both levels

“It has allowed both levels of government to focus on what Kenyans need most, development and empowerment of its citizens,” Ms Waiguru said.

Majority leader Aden Duale while acknowledging the handshake cooled the political temperatures in the country notes that Raila embraced it for political expediency.

“Raila wants to use handshake to destabilise Jubilee, his hands are not clean on the genuineness of bringing people together,” said Duale,

Kipkelion West MP Hillary Kosgei says the pact between Kenyatta and Raila was suspect given that the opposition leader was now using that leverage to fight Ruto.

Kikuyu MP Kamau Ichungwa’h was more categorical that Raila and his brigade had permeated into government and brought in their bad manners of propaganda and innuendos to forestall government projects.

Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi though argues that the arrangement was good and healthy after a long period of campaigns, divisions and politics, has now vowed to oppose it. “We noticed the handshake was an insincere move not meant for the goodwill of all Kenyans,” Sudi said.

“We have a duty to ensure the President succeeds for Kenyans to reap benefits of the big four agenda, our interest is not politicking like some who are in government now,” said National Assembly Minority leader John Mbadi Mbadi.

Some Jubilee MPs have become critics of the President. “If Uhuru believes corruption is rampant, he ought to dissolve it and call for a fresh election,” Kimilili MP Didmus Barassa dared.