Kenya: Handshake Has Nothing to Do With 2022, Uhuru Kenyatta Says

President Uhuru Kenyatta leads discussions during Africa Leaders Roundtable business forum at Guildhall in London on April 18, 2018.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has dispelled fears that his now famous handshake with opposition leader Raila Odinga is aimed at opening a new political front in Kenya.

President Kenyatta who was speaking at Chatham House in London, UK on Tuesday, said he reached out to Mr Odinga with the sole aim of uniting the country which remained divided along tribal and party lines after the 2017 General Election.

UNITY

The President said his working together with Mr Odinga should be seen in the light of the context of working to deliver to citizens.

The pact between Mr Kenyatta and Mr Odinga has rattled some political circles as others speculate on the 2022 succession politics.

Deputy President William Ruto's camp has been uneasy over fears that the new-found unity between the political rivals may spoil his chances of ascending to the presidency in 2022.

Political temperatures within the ruling party have been rising since Mr Odinga visited retired President Daniel arap Moi at his Kabarak home last week. The visit was interpreted as Mr Odinga's attempt to endorse Mr Moi's son Baringo Senator Gideon Moi.

Tiaty MP William Kassait Kamket, who attended the two-hour meeting claimed that the main agenda of the discussion was to have Mr Odinga endorse Gideon in 2022.

But on Wednesday, President Kenyatta insisted that his handshake with Mr Odinga has nothing to do with 2022 politics.

POLITICS ALL THE TIME

"We cannot achieve the social and economic needs of our people in an environment of constant political bickering," said the President.

He said political competition is an essential component of democracy but all leaders must rise above the noise and focus on the needs of the people.

"It is a Kenyan agenda that hope to deliver development and a conducive environment for business] to the people; and we acknowledge that we cannot do it on our own; we need each other. We should not keep our people engaged in politics 24 hours," he added.

The Head of State also promised that the government will ensure Kenyans, who feel unrepresented and left out in sharing the national cake, are incorporated in the unity agenda.

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