Locking Ruto Out of Meetings Saved Kenya From Bloodshed, President Recounts

In his memoir, My Life, My Purpose, former Tanzania President Benjamin Mkapa recalled how leaving Deputy President William Ruto who was a member of ODM then and Martha Karua of PNU from the post-independence violence mediation team in 2008 helped Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga reach an agreement. 

Mkapa also revealed that Karua and Ruto were the most difficult persons to deal with during the mediation talks.

Eventually, the talks were successful leading to the signing of the National Accord and the formation of the Grand Coalition Government.

Ex-Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete at a past state function in Tanzania.

In the book launched in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday, November 12, Mkapa recounted the interesting happenings during the 39-day meditation that was chaired by the late United Nations Secretary-General Koffi Annan.

“The atmosphere changed when we got Kibaki and Odinga together without Karua and Ruto present,” Mkapa divulged.

Mkapa who handled mediation talks in Tanzania, South Sudan and Kenya added that it was the decision of his successor Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete to sidestep Ruto and Karua.

According to the book, the two parties, ODM and PNU kept on arguing about who won the elections.

“We would meet each team separately, then together. When together, they would have fierce arguments. Sometimes I thought they would literally go for each other’s throats,” Mkapa revealed. 

In the end, Kibaki and Raila reached an agreement to the chagrin of Karua and Ruto.

“When these two (Ruto and Karua) heard that they were being invited to witness the signing of the agreement, they were furious, saying there had been a conspiracy to persuade Kibaki to agree,” Mkapa wrote.

When the Daily Nation reached Ruto for comment, the Deputy President told the newspaper, "Kenya has moved on". Karua replied, 'let him (Mkapa) have fun.'

NARC Kenya party leader Martha Karua.

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