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Mixed reactions greet surprise Uhuru-Raila unity deal

Reactions to Friday’s surprise deal between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga continued to soar even as division emerged within the former’s Jubilee and latter’s Nasa parties. Led by Deputy President William Ruto, majority of leaders supported the agreement to unite Kenyanas, adding that the meeting should not be criticised.

He asked Nasa co-principals Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang’ula to play a leading role in uniting the country for the sake of development.

“I want to tell those who are yet to join us to come so that we can take this country forward,” he said. Ruto was speaking at the African Inland Church (AIC) in Njoro, Nakuru county, where he attended an inter-denominational service.

The DP said Jubilee has been keen on uniting Kenyans, a crusade that began in 2013 when he joined forces with Uhuru. But even as Ruto spoke, Wetang’ula blamed Raila for betraying them when he held talks with Uhuru.

The Ford Kenya party leader blamed Raila for sidelining other co-principals saying they are the ones who have been agitating for dialogue. “All along we have been advocating for talks to cool down political temperatures in the country and it was wrong for Raila to sideline other Nasa co-principals,’’ he said.

Speaking at Kimabole village in Mt Elgon during a funeral of Rebecca Kibaba,Wetang’ula said they felt betrayed. But it was the unlikely support by ANC party officials, who disowned Mudavadi, that surprised many.

Led by Vihiga Senator George Khaniri, the ANC members told Mudavadi to drop his hardline stance and join Raila in charting the country’s progress. “As a country, we should move on from politics and focus on development,” said Khaniri.

Mudavadi tore at Raila’s move saying “the pact with Uhuru does not reflect the will of the people of Kenya neither that of the coalition”. He said the coalition has been rooting for constructive dialogue on matters national interest and not talks between two individuals.

Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho welcomed the move saying: “I wish to express my support for my party leader in his efforts towards unity.” Mwingi West MP Charles Nguna termed Odinga’s meeting with Uhuru as a selfish political game aimed at finishing Kalonzo politically.

But Mwingi Central MPGideon Mulyungi said he supports the meeting because it is aimed at uniting Kenyans. Kirinyaga Senator Charles Kibiru and Gichugu MP Kithinji Gichimu welcomed the move but warned Raila against thinking he is equal to the President.

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