NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 21 – CORD leader Raila Odinga and Gatundu South Member of Parliament Moses Kuria on Tuesday met over lunch where the two agreed to work together and spearhead national reconciliation.
The two chatted over a meal of fish, ugali and traditional greens – ‘osuga’ – at Ronalo Foods in Nairobi.
The two, whose relations were further soured by remarks made by Kuria that amounted to threats on Odinga’s life, were accompanied at the lunch by his eight co-accused and CORD Principals Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetangula.
Those at the luncheon were Senator Johnson Muthama, MPs Kimani Ngunjiri (Bahati), Timothy Bosire (Kitutu Masaba) and Florence Mutua (Busia Woman Representative).
Others were Aisha Jumwa (Kilifi Woman Representative) and Suna East MP Junet Mohamed who sat through the lunch but did not partake of the meal since they are fasting.
Kabete Member of Parliament Ferdinand Waititu was absent at the lunch but was said to be attending a funeral.
The meeting comes after the release of the eight legislators who had been detained for hate speech and incitement to violence charges.
Their appearance at Kowese, as the food joint is popularly known, attracted a huge crowd outside with each person trying to give supportive messages to the leaders.
These past weeks had seen leaders both from the Jubilee and Opposition CORD exchange bitter words in public leading to the arrest of the eight.
In one of the instances, Ngunjiri led a demo in Nakuru against Odinga where he made inciting remarks that later landed him in police cells.
The period between the arrest and release of the detained legislators has seen the emergence of a friendship between the MPs from rival camps, who rarely share a common platform let alone a meal.
Kuria has apologised to Odinga for his utterances saying it was a spur of the moment and that he didn’t mean it.
He also called on Kenyans not to be swayed by politicians and to maintain peace.
“I have nothing against Odinga and he has told me he has forgiven me. This engagement is meant to foster unity and it’s my hope that Kenyans will remain so too,” said the Gatundu South MP.
Ngunjiri also apologised for his actions in Nakuru saying that he realised there are more factors that are uniting to Kenyans than those that divide.
“Dividing the country along ethnic lines will not be of any benefit to the country or to anyone. My own son has married from a different community what will become of the children if we entertain this?” asked the legislator.
Odinga said the lunch with the legislators should show Kenyans that they have no ill motives against each other.
“As you can see, my brothers and I have enjoyed lunch together, this shows that we have nothing against each other and Kenyans should ensure that on their part,” he said.
“Yes, as the Opposition there are issues that we can’t turn a blind eye on, but it doesn’t need to result to loss of lives, destruction of property or even using inciteful remarks,” said Odinga.
Led by Muthama, the leaders said the conditions in the cells are dehumanizing after spending four nights behind bars.
“We have tasked Timothy Bosire to present a motion in Parliament on improving the state of our police cells,” said Muthama.
After talks with the Opposition leader, Kuria told journalists he is confident the Jubilee-CORD talks on IEBC and other matters will bear fruit.