Kenya: Christians welcome meeting between President and Opposition leader

Source: Fides

On Friday, March 9, the President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta, held a surprise meeting with his political rival, Raila Odinga leader of the National Super Alliance (NASA) in Nairobi. The two leaders gave a joint address to the nation promising to work together to bring healing and reconciliation among Kenyans.

This marked an important turning point after the contested elections in 2017, which were repeated in October after the Supreme Court declared void the vote held in August. In both votes Kenyatta was proclaimed the winner. In a joint address President Kenyatta and the Opposition leader said they had accepted the programme to "build a strong and united Kenya."

Kenyan Sr Margaret Mutiso, from the Daughters of the Sacred Heart, told Fides: "I am happy with the gesture and there is certainly going to be a reasonable degree of peace and reconciliation among the followers of the two leaders. It is a fact that each of them has a huge following, a sizeable constituency that each of them commands. Their meeting and promise to work together has the potentiality of contributing to the healing of the nation.

"President Uhuru needs Raila to be able to move the nation forward and leave behind a legacy as he ends his second term as Kenya's president; Raila needs President Uhuru to pursue his agenda of reforms more effectively," Sr Mutiso said.

On 30 January Odinga proclaimed himself "President of the people" challenging Kenyatta, with a move move that resulted in a political stalemate.

"When two bulls fight, it's the grass that suffers, when they stop the fight even if one is defeated, the grass begins to grow," Sr Jecinter Okoth, a Franciscan Sister of St Anne in Nairobi said.

"Raila and President Uhuru have made the best move, coming together at a time when every Kenyan citizen with sound mind was waiting for a better move in Kenya. Life was getting difficult day by day for the "mwananchi" (ordinary citizen)," Sylvester Omondi of Subukia Parish in Nakuru diocese told Fides.

Eveline Shitabule, from All Holy Angels parish Lutonyi, in the diocese of Kakamega western Kenya said: "This is the most recent miracle that has happened in Kenya! We've been praying for peace in our country and God does answer prayers."

But Christine Akello a Kenyan living in London commented: "Although their coming together is a good move, I feel disappointed because this was to be done right after elections before so many people lost their lives."

Tags: Kenya, President Uhuru Kenyatta, Raila Odinga

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