No handshake in the offing, Ruto says

Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya leader Raila Odinga (L) sharing a moment with President William Ruto at a past event. [File, Standard]

President William Ruto has ruled out the possibility of having a handshake with Raila Odinga despite a call for truce to calm the political unrest in the country.

Speaking on April 4 where he honored the invitation ahead of the 9th session of the Joint Permanent Commission for Cooperatives in Kigali-Rwanda, the president scrapped the handshake that took place between former president Uhuru Kenyatta and Odinga.

"The history we have of handshake is where there was a fusion of government and the opposition and the results were very disastrous for Kenya. There wasn't any accountability, the whole system went rogue," said Ruto.

On March 9 2018, former president Kenyatta held talks with Odinga deliberating to put an end to the tension and anxiety that had gripped the nation after the 2017 general elections.

The peace talks then culminated into a handshake at the front steps of Harambee House, which wiped away the political tension in the country.

Raila and Kenyatta then formed the Building Bridges Initiative taskforce that for over one year collected views all over the country on curing divisive politics and fostering cohesion in the country.

The post-election unrest has engulfed the country yet again after the 2022 elections with the opposition chief Raila claiming that "his victory was stolen from him" among other grievances.

After two weeks of holding demonstrations in the country, Raila called off his demonstrations on Sunday, April 2nd to come to talks with the president.

This came hours after the president had extended an olive branch calling the opposition to meet and resolve contentious issues threatening peace in the country.

They both agreed to adopt a parliamentary bipartisan approach to sort out the grievances that had been aired by the opposition team.

However, the president has rebuffed the peace making agreement with the opposition leader through a handshake that he claims would amalgamate the opposition into the government.

"The handshake that brings the opposition and government into some conundrum, a mongrel and an outfit that is undemocratic, unconstitutional and illegal." He said in Kigali.

Plans are underway by the Azimio la Umoja and Kenya Kwanza coalitions to hold parliamentary group meetings before the House sitting resumes on Tuesday April 11.