Uhuru, Raila plan ‘Handshake’ tour

Uhuru, Raila to embark on joint countrywide tour

President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga will begin joint nationwide tours next week, with their allies saying an offensive against Deputy President William Ruto is underway.

Officially, the joint tours, which begin in Nyanza, Western, Coast and upper Eastern, are to commission development projects. But according to their allies, the former rivals will reinforce the unity agenda following their 2018 truce.

The joint tours are also viewed as a dress rehearsal for campaigns ahead of the Court of Appeal’s verdict on the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) to amend the constitution.

During his visit to Murang’a, on Tuesday where he was accompanied by pro-Handshake leaders for an event to celebrate artists, Mr Odinga declared the dawn of a political movement.

“We are here today and you can see the face of Kenya. Now from Gatanga we are marking the beginning of a new journey. When I said we were working on something, some people did not believe me. But now it’s starting from here. The resolve to unite Kenya as a result of the Handshake begins here,” Mr Odinga declared.

The ODM leader announced that together with the President, they will from next week begin the countrywide tours.

Unite Kenya

“Next week we shall be in Nyanza, then move to Western then Coast. We shall criss-cross the entire country to unite Kenya as one nation with Uhuru standing on one side and Raila on the other,” Mr Odinga said.

On Wednesday, a member of the Presidential Delivery Unit told the Nation that the President is likely to first visit Homa Bay and Migori counties.

Maendeleo Chap Chap leader and Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua who was also with Mr Odinga in Murang’a said the two leaders were keen on consolidating the country with joint unity meetings.

“The idea is to tell Kenyans that we are one people irrespective of personal political ambitions. They also want to remove the poison that has been planted in people’s mind and let them know the truth,” said Dr Mutua.

His Kirinyaga counterpart, Ms Anne Waiguru, who was also in the Murang’a meeting, said whereas the meetings by the two leaders will be development oriented, they cannot rule out politics.

“Matters to do with politics and the upcoming election season will also be a priority. Eastern has been done, Western is also coming then thereafter to the rest of the country,” Ms Waiguru said.

“The time is now ripe to hit the ground to sell this vision for a united country,” ODM secretary-general Edwin Sifuna declared.

“The President and former Prime Minister will share the itinerary with the public once it is finalised.”

Market the Handshake

Nominated MP Maina Kamanda said several events were in the pipeline, particularly in Mt Kenya region to market the Handshake.

“The programme we have to be executed in Central, for example, will send some of these people in the DP’s camp into their holes. They won Kiambaa and thought they had entered State House, let them continue day dreaming,” added Mr Kamanda.

Mombasa gubernatorial aspirant Suleiman Shahbal who accompanied Mr Odinga to Murang’a said the Handshake spirit will be extended to the feuding Nasa leaders and bring them into the fold.

“I am involved in efforts to ensure there is unity between Mr Odinga and Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka whom I met recently over the same,” Mr Shahbal revealed.

Political analyst Dismas Mokua observed that the meetings are part of a strategy to keep the Handshake alive and to managing supporters’ expectations around the BBI. Another analyst, Javas Bigambo said, the joint meetings are good for Mr Odinga’s politics and survival.

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