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Uhuru and Raila talks a step in right direction

Friday March 9 2018

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President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga’s surprise meeting that was followed by a joint statement on Friday shook the political establishment.

But in politics there are no permanent enemies; only common interest.

On paper, the meeting was pitched as a platform for commencing national healing in the wake of last year’s explosive and rancorous political campaigns and elections that left the country deeply divided.

The elections brought out the worst in our politics, governance systems and national ethos.


Alongside the wide divisions, we have evolved an exclusionary system where a few communities benefit inordinately through government appointments and business opportunities to the chagrin of others.


Whereas Kenya prides itself on having a progressive Constitution with far-reaching safeguards for fundamental rights and strong focus on citizens’ empowerment, enjoyment of such gains is not possible without corresponding political will.

Even then, it has transpired that some of the novelties associated with the Constitution are only good in theory, but not in reality.

There are several and critical matters that must be resolved through a political process.


And this is the reason there have been persistent calls for a structured national dialogue to redress constitutional and political gaps.

Top on the card is the skewed electoral process that has perennially been contested and generated ethnic passions leading to conflagrations.

Added to this is structural and administrative deficiencies in government and weak base for devolution.

More than ever before, corruption has emerged as a single killer disease in public life, tearing right at the soul of the nation but is shielded by politics and ethnicity.

Tackling these require joint and unwavering commitment from all the political players.

It is too early to predict with accuracy the implication of the new political partnership between the two protagonists.

Similar initiatives and promises have been made before, particularly when the government found itself under high pressure both internally and externally, but never went full cycle because of other deeper interests.

Nevertheless, this is a start in the right direction.

Let the leaders demonstrate commitment to national healing, reconciliation and renewal through action; not mere words.