Ruto and Raila call for end to divisive succession politics

Deputy President William Ruto (right) and ODM leader Raila Odinga at Uzima University in Kisumu yesterday. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

President Uhuru Kenyatta, his Deputy President William Ruto and ODM leader Raila Odinga have moved to calm the rising political temperatures in the country by calling for an end to divisive politics. The three leaders whose political interests have sparked verbal warfare across the country, gave a message of hope to the country even as tension continued over succession politics. Ruto and Raila shared a platform in Kisumu for the first time since the 2022 presidential succession debate exploded onto the open and gave reconciliatory speeches while President Kenyatta’s message was read by Defence Cabinet Secretary Rachel Omamo. The DP and Raila sat next to each other at Uzima University College where they witnessed the installation of Phillip Anyolo as the Kisumu Archbishop even as tense body language betrayed their reconciliation tone. In the past few weeks, Ruto’s allies have gone ballistic over claims Raila was using the handshake with President Kenyatta to sideline and block him from the Uhuru succession race. It has seen Jubilee split down the middle as pro-Ruto party members claiming even the President was no longer keen on him (DP) after his new-found friendship with Raila. The ODM leader who spoke first, said the prevailing peace and political stability was hard to come by and should be protected at all costs. Raila lauded the church’s role in pushing him and President Kenytatta onto the negotiation table where the last year’s March 9 golden handshake was brokered. “We have been through very dark and trying times and we wouldn’t wish to go back there. A time like this last year, Kondele was impassable, darkened in ever rising black smoke from smoldering tires, that is why we decided to sit down and talk,” he said, in reference to peace talks with Uhuru.

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