Wednesday, 23 May, 2018

Kenyan opposition suspends plans to oust president

DP Ruto's message to Kalonzo Mudavadi and Wetangula Deputy President William Ruto
Sammy Stanley | 13 March, 2018, 15:07

Leaders of Kenya's ruling Jubilee party, led by Deputy President William Ruto, have lauded last week's meeting between President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga, saying it sets the pace for peace and reconciliation in the country.

The meeting on 9 March 2018 between Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga was as unanticipated as it is significant.

The opposition National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition said it welcomed the new spirit of cooperation - though it warned that the suspension could be lifted if the government did not address divisive issues including land. "Fellow Kenyans, we are sailing in this one ship", Mr Odinga said.

In the election aftermath, about 150 people were killed and Mr Odinga subsequently swore himself in as the "people's president" and refused to recognise election victor, Mr Kenyatta, as head of state.

The People's Assembly was announced in the wake of presidential election in August, and a repeat vote in October, both won by Kenyatta and both dismissed by the opposition as fraudulent.

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Mr Odinga said Kenyans "cannot remember why and where they disagreed in the first place".

"As we fight ostensibly to save ourselves from each other, the reality is that we need to save our children from ourselves. My brother (President Kenya) and myself have, therefore, come together today to say this dissent stops here", Mr Odinga said. "This is a call to self-reflection", the opposition leader said. "Our only option is to come together and begin the process of healing", he added.

United States Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, who ended his three-day official visit in the country on Monday, had equally commended Kenyatta and Odinga for accepting to work towards achieving national unity and cohesion.

Their joint statement said "Kenyans should overcome negative ethnicity by acting in the understanding that elections on their own are not solution to our challenges".

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