Phone call that brought Raila to the table

The President first reached out to Raila Odinga three weeks ago. [Photo: Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

President Uhuru Kenyatta first reached out to NASA leader Raila Odinga three weeks ago.

In a tightly kept secret, the two leaders have been holding talks with close allies and aides for days. Only a few persons in both camps and senior intelligence officials were aware of the talks.

According to a source, Uhuru succumbed to pressure from both his camp, religious leaders and international community concerned over a divided nation.

The talks, Sunday Standard has learnt, began about three weeks ago when the President called Raila. Since then, there has been a flurry of activities that culminated in the deal on Friday. The President’s close family -- including his mother and former First Lady Mama Ngina and younger brother Muhoho -- have been keen on Uhuru’s legacy, which to them would only be achieved with a united country.

The source said the Kenyatta family had sent fillers to the ex-Prime Minister. Also instrumental in the deal was Raila’s wife Ida, who is said to have been reluctant to have Raila sworn in as ‘People’s President’ on January 30.

After the Friday talks, the President elected to appoint a senior spy, Ambassador Martin Kimani who heads the National Counter Terrorism Centre, to fine tune the dialogue with Raila’s ally and lawyer Paul Mwangi.

Some Jubilee insiders had been pushing for the President to approach Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, but the President opted to talk to Raila.

In the dark

NASA co-principal Musalia Mudavadi on Saturday intensified the war within the Opposition terming Friday’s meeting as a two-people affair. “For the record, and on the basis of the statement released, I can categorically state that the meeting was between two individuals.”

“It does not bear the imprint of NASA Summit as it ought to be. It was not processed through the NASA structures. Indeed, nowhere does the MOU allude to or mention NASA, including the signing off. Instead, the two repeatedly invoke their names and personally commit to each other and not to all Kenyans,” Mudavadi said.

Welcoming the unity, Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) Chairman Kiprono Kittony said it will boost the business environment.