Bernard Gitau @benagitau
The impact of the March 9 Handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga that brought down political temperatures raised by last year’s election continues to reverberate across the political arena.
Yesterday, it was the turn of Raila and Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru to patch up and “let bygones be bygones”, as the former said in a tweet after the two met at the Capitol Hill offices of the former Prime Minister.
Raila also said Waiguru had agreed to withdraw a defamation suit against him, which was filed in September 2015 when she was the Devolution Cabinet Secretary.
The suit was linked to the then opposition Cord’s demand that Waiguru takes responsibility for the Sh791 million National Youth Service (NYS) scandal.
She eventually resigned from the Cabinet, amid protests of her innocence saying she was, in fact, a whistle-blower in the scandal which saw, among others, her Principal Secretary Peter Mangiti and NYS director general Nelson Githinji charged.
But that was water under the bridge yesterday as Raila and Waiguru warmly shook hands and smiled.
“She (Waiguru) said her case against me is now settled. We have agreed to “let bygones be bygones” and leave the matter of the NYS scandal in the hands of investigators,” said Raila in a tweet.
A beaming Waiguru announced that she and Raila were now friends in the spirit of “cohesion and reconciliation”.
“I had a meeting with the former Prime Minister on the outstanding matter in court. In the spirit of cohesion and reconciliation in the country, the matter stands settled,” said the Kirinyaga county boss, who is also pursuing former senators Boni Khalwale and Johnson Muthama for linking her to the same scandal. She did not indicate whether she was dropping the cases against the two.
Waiguru’s name has been mentioned among likely running mates of Deputy President William Ruto in the 2022 presidential election. The governor has also reconciled with Ruto after falling out with him over the same NYS scandal.
Raila and Ruto are seen as leading contenders for the presidency when Uhuru completes his second and final term in four years’ time.
Some clerics and traders in Murang’a county recently asked Ruto to pick Waiguru as his running mate as Mt Kenya region plots for the post-Uhuru era.
The country’s political landscape changed on March 9 when Uhuru and Raila reached a unity pact following last year’s hotly contested election which included the historic nullification of the first race by the Supreme Court and a repeat election which Raila’s Nasa boycotted.
Raila was recently appointed as African Union High Representative for Infrastructure Development while his Nasa co-principal Kalonzo Musyoka early this week formally took up a new role in monitoring the peace process in South Sudan.