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Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta shakes hands with opposition leader Raila Odinga outside Harambee House, Nairobi, Kenya, March 9, 2018 (AP photo by Brian Inganga).

Kenya’s Political Rivals Are Now Calling for Unity, but Is It Just for Show?

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Throughout Kenya’s latest election crisis, there was little love lost between the country’s two political archrivals. Raila Odinga, the opposition standard-bearer who lost last year’s bitter presidential race, accused the incumbent, Uhuru Kenyatta, of presiding over an “electoral dictatorship.” Kenyatta, meanwhile, implied that Odinga, in calling for a boycott of their runoff contest in October, was trying to deprive Kenyans of their right to vote.

Last week, however, the tenor of the exchanges between the two men, whose rivalry extends a family feud that can be traced back to the early days of Kenya’s independence, changed completely. After meeting for secret talks aimed at forging a rapprochement, they issued a joint statement committing to “a process of discussing what ails us and what creates division amongst us.” Appearing outside Harambee House, the president’s office in Nairobi, they shook hands for the cameras and called each other “brothers.” ...

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