, NAIROBI, Kenya, March 9 – Kenyans are divided on the effects of the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, a year later.
Kenyatta and Odinga shook hands on March 9, 2018 in a historic gesture that followed acrimony from two disputed elections the previous year, in which the former Prime Minister accused Kenyatta of stealing the vote.
While some believe the handshake sowed seeds of discord among politicians allied to the two top leaders, many like John Muremi and George Ngugi–taxi drivers who spoke to Capital News beat in Nairobi–say the famous handshake has brought unity and political stability in the country.
“The handshake has played a big role because we are more united than ever; no fear no tribalism because we are now working as one people regardless of our political affiliation,” said Muremi.
For Marya Akinyi–a trader in the capital—the handshake has created conducive working environment which was affected after the 2017 general election that had threatened to divide the country.
“I remember after election things were difficult even to do business but now it’s a totally different story because things have changed, and we are now working and doing our businesses peacefully,” she said.
Mike Mbugua and Joan Kerubo, residents of Nairobi have a different opinion of the handshake, which they say killed the opposition and cracked the good relationship that existed between President Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto.
“Personally, I feel like the handshake has secluded some people and more so the Deputy President,” Kerubo said, president Kenyatta and his deputy were very close during campaigns and even after elections but after the handshake we can all see they are no longer together.
All in all, most of those we spoke to said that corruption has become more rooted in the country and urged Kenyatta to continue with his spirited onslaught to eliminate it.
“I commend our President and his whole team who are doing everything to fight corruption and ask them not to relent in this fight because this is one thing that he will be remembered for,” Mbugua said.