After the handshake: Uhuru and Raila unveil dialogue team


Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga have formed a 14-member advisory committee to work towards uniting the country and reforming public institutions nearly two months after their historic handshake.

On 9 March, President Kenyatta and Mr. Odinga met at Harambee House and agreed to bring Kenyans together after a divisive presidential election which Mr. Odinga boycotted citing lack of confidence in the electoral commission and which Mr. Kenyatta won by more than 98 percent.The two leaders said they set aside their differences and initiate reforms to “enaure prosperiry, fairness ans dignity for all Kenyans.”

“The National interest must always prevail over those elections. And this is why me and my brother have agreed that starting today, we will begin a process of bringing our people together. That, we will begin a process of discussing what ails us and what creates divisions amongst us. And we look forward to the support of every single leader,” said President Kenyatta on 9 March.

The adivisors, comprising of politicians, religious leaders and scholars will work under the direction of ambassador Martin Kimani and lawyer Paul Mwangi. Kimani and Mwangi were picked by Mr. Kenyatta and Mr. Odinga respectively.

“It is notified for the general information of the public that President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga have appointed a team of 14 advisors to assist in the work of the Building Brides Initiative,” reads a statement sent out by Mr. Odinga’s spokesman Dennis Onyango.

The Uhuru-Raila handshake attracted praise and criticism both from the ruling party – Jubilee – and the opposition, Nasa coalition.

Some within the ruling  Jubilee party suspect the Uhuru-Raila deal is connected to the 2022 presidential election and is meant to stop Deputy Preaident William Ruto from ascending to the presidency and, Raila’s co-principals in Nasa want to be pary of the dialogue.

Ruto’s suporters claim the handshake between President Kenyatta and Mr. Odinga and a push for constitutional change that might create the office of a prime minister  will affect the deputy president’s chances of clinching the presideny.

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