Kenya: Nasa Leader Raila Tells Off Critics of Unity Pact

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Nasa leader Raila Odinga conclude a joint press conference about the country's growth, at Harambee House in Nairobi on March 9, 2018.

Nasa leader Raila Odinga on Sunday told off those castigating him over his new-found alliance with President Uhuru Kenyatta and asked them to take their negative energy elsewhere.

He dismissed those opposed to his handshake with the President, saying it is not a crime for him to open talks with him.

"What is wrong if Raila Odinga talks with President Kenyatta? It is the trend the world over.

"Even US President Donald Trump is contemplating meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un," Mr Mr Odinga said after attending a church service at the Christ is the Answer Ministries in Ongata Rongai.

He later accompanied President Kenyatta to the Barclays Kenya Open Golf championship at the Muthaiga Golf Club.

It was the first time the two leaders were seen together in public since they agreed to work together two weeks ago.

ELECTIONS

In a thinly veiled response to his co-principals, who have of late been accusing him of betrayal after he agreed to bury the hatchet and work with the President, Mr Odinga said it was necessary to change tack to solve the deep-rooted divisions that have prevailed in the country since independence.

The ODM leader said elections come and go, adding that the outcome should not be used as a tool to further divide the country, which has suffered due to its leaders' failure to unite and steer it to greater heights.

Mr Odinga said his handshake with President Kenyatta was not about Nasa or Jubilee but the unity of the country.

"People have been asking what is beneath my handshake with President Kenyatta; some have said that I have joined Jubilee while others are saying I want to divide Jubilee.

"People will have a different interpretation but as a country, we have decided to chart a new course," he said.

"We know where we have come from, where we are, and where we are going as a country. Isn't it time to take a different lane when things are not working normally?" he asked.

INVITATION

In Muthaiga, Mr Odinga said he attended the golf event at the invitation of President Kenyatta.

"I could not let him down," he said, maintaining that he agreed to work with the Head of State for the benefit of the country.

"We met and agreed to work together because Kenya is bigger than any one of us... the handshake will, indeed, unite us as a country," he said.

Deputy President William Ruto also pointed out that the pact marked the end of tribal politics in the country and had laid a foundation for the empowerment of Kenyans.

Speaking at the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA), in Runda, Nairobi, Mr Ruto said the handshake was not based on personal gain but was for the good of the country.

"In 2012, we promised to unite the country but some people thought we were overambitious. Kenyans prayed and, finally, it has happened; we are now one country," Mr Ruto said.

POLITICSMeanwhile, a section of Jubilee leaders have asked Mr Odinga stop sending mixed signals.

"The unity pact is, indeed, good for the country. But Mr Odinga should be sincere on this issue. He should tell us if it is about the unity of all Kenyans or something else," Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung'wa, who accompanied the DP, said.

"If the unity is about all Kenyans, he should allow his co-principals in Nasa to join him for the sake of a united nation that everybody will be proud of," he added.

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