'Handshake not about 2022': Raila narrates how Uhuru reached out

Nasa principal Raila Odinga with his wife Ida, Kisumu Governor Anyang' Nyong'o and Mombasa's Hassan Joho at Ihura Stadium for Kenneth Matiba's funeral service, April 26, 2018. /ALICE WAITHERA
Nasa principal Raila Odinga with his wife Ida, Kisumu Governor Anyang' Nyong'o and Mombasa's Hassan Joho at Ihura Stadium for Kenneth Matiba's funeral service, April 26, 2018. /ALICE WAITHERA

ODM leader Raila Odinga has allayed fears that the handshake with President Uhuru Kenyatta is about the 2022 election.

"... I believe

strongly on what we agreed on and we are not thinking about 2022. We are thinking beyond 2022," he said in Murang'a on Thursday.

"We agreed that the division that has prevented Kenya from achieving the Kenyan dream must end with us."

Raila, who joined mourners for Kenneth Matiba's funeral service held at Ihura Stadium, said the division in the country will end with the unity pact he reached with Uhuru on March 9.

"Our vision is to give our children a better

country; a country that Kenyans

can walk tall in. Kenya has great potential. What is lacking is proper leadership," he said.

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Raila narrated how he received a text message from Uhuru inviting him for dialogue

at Harambee House in Nairobi, a move which culminated in the famed handshake.

"After what we have been through in this country, when my brother sent a message to me that we should talk, I told him that I am always ready to talk for Kenya," he said.

He said they talked for long about issues such as tribalism, corruption and electoral injustice.

"...and we went to the beginning and discussed

how it [the problem] started, how the rain began to beat us and what we needed to do," he said.

Raila said: "We

discussed how we had many countries owing to divisions brewed by ethnicity, tribalism, corruption, and insecurity."

The ODM leader said the issues, once addressed, will help bring the people together.

In his address, Uhuru echoed Raila's remarks saying the future of Kenyans matters more than an event of electoral competition.

A new and vicious political battle is looming between Raila and those who view the handshake as being about the next general election.

Deputy President William Ruto's camp has opposed changes being floated by the proponents of the unity deal.

The DP has also been on a massive charm offensive to expand his political base amid disquiet in his inner circle that the handshake is designed as a hurdle on his path to power.

He has also been reaching out to political kingpins associated with the Opposition.

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