Spectacular rebound in Kenya this week. Uhuru Kenyatta and Raïla Odinga decided to bury the hatchet.
To everyone’s surprise, the Kenyan President and his opponent met on Friday morning, 9 March.
While Raïla Odinga does not recognize the re-election of the head of state, he self-proclaimed president of the people, and that attempts to dialogue had so far failed, the two men announced the end of their divisions.
They also signed a new document to get the country out of the crisis.
It’s a handshake that took everyone from class to class.
Even the main allies of Raïla Odinga swear they did not know. But it may not be by chance that this reconciliation came just before the visit of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Indeed, the Americans were almost the last to push further dialogue.
Churches and entrepreneurs were also pushing behind the scenes. Which could have unlocked.
According to Murithi Mutiga, President Kenyatta begins his last term and had to reconcile with his opponent. “It was a question of political heritage and the economic stability that he wanted wasn’t possible without social cohesion,” says the researcher of the International Crisis Group.
As for Raïla Odinga, he is reinstated as the undisputed leader of the opposition, while his coalition was falling apart.
It will now be necessary to see what political responsibility he will endorse. “To leave a man who has so many supporters without any position, it destabilizes the country. He could get an official status,” says Murithi Mutiga.
“Building the bridges of a new nation”
A good source believes that the words spoken by the two leaders are very strong. But it will be necessary to see if this will be followed by effect.
In any case, this joint declaration could sign the end of the crisis. Except for a few extremists, supporters of each side seem to accept this surprise reconciliation.
To get out of the crisis, Raïla Odinga and Uhuru Kenyatta have signed an 8-page document, in which Kenya faces each other, which entitled “building the bridges of a new nation”, it is a summary of the problems that plague the country.
The agreement is written with amazing openness, while both sides seemed irreconcilable.
Kenyatta and Odinga recognize the failure of the reforms of the last 20 years.
The document dates back to the construction of independent Kenya. Even the founding fathers are not spared.
“He missed them with a collective approach which resulted in exclusion and animosity”, written on document.
More surprisingly, Kenyatta and Odinga share their responsibility and describe themselves as “two leaders symbolizing the repetition of divisions”.
The two men are committed to finding solutions
The president and his opponent describe without taboos ethnic antagonism and demand the end of tribal profiling. “We had hard words to each other, but we stayed as friends,” say the two men.
They also stated the lack of inclusion, the failures of decentralization, and the endless cycle of electoral violence each time, they commit to finding solutions.
According to a diplomatic source, the Church, which pushes for a dialogue, could have drafted this agreement. “I have never seen a text so clear and constructive. But it will be necessary to see if it will be followed of effects”, confides by an expert.
In the end, Kenyatta and Odinga are announcing the upcoming creation of an office, headed by two men of confidence, to set up this program.