Handshake Anniversary: How Raila Reaped Big

  • Today marks exactly one year since President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga agreed on a truce, with the famous handshake on March 9, 2018.

    While it has pacified the country, observers have reckoned that the handshake has also come with dividends for Odinga.

    According to Dr Godwin Siundu of the University of Nairobi, Odinga is no longer under pressure from his NASA co-principals to support their ticket for the 2022 poll.

    Additionally, all the police officers attached to him who were withdrawn by the State at the height of a bitter exchange with the President in 2017 have been reinstated.

    His position as African Union special envoy on infrastructure came as a result of the cooperation.

    Uhuru once intimated that were it not for the handshake, the AU, a club of heads of state, would not reward an opposition leader with such a high-profile slot.

    In February, during the 11th  African Union summit in Ethiopia, people would have been forgiven if they thought the ODM leader was one of the heads of states by the way he mingled freely with the other presidents.

    According to Dr Siundu, Odinga, the man defined by his abrasive brand of politics, has now mellowed into more or less an appendage of the ruling party. He no longer criticises the government.

    Odinga is of the view that he no longer needs to raise issues in the media since he has a direct audience with the President anytime.

    Before the armistice, no Cabinet Secretary (CS)  would appear in public with him. Nowadays, the CSs usually frequent his Capitol Hill square private offices reportedly to receive advice on how to achieve efficiency in the running of their dockets.

    “I do this as part of the effort to involve the public in government affairs. I am a member of the public. Remember, I have been in government for many years and could help them with a thing or two,” Odinga noted in a past televised interview.