Editor’s Note: March 12, 2018

Kenya’s ‘reconciliation’ is no cause for celebration

After months of political uncertainty following disputed presidential elections last August Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta and longtime rival Raila Odinga met publicly on Friday, promising to resolve their differences in the interest of national unity.

This comes little over a month after Odinga declared himself the ‘people’s president’ at a symbolic swearing-in ceremony, having boycotted a presidential re-run in October.

The reconciliation will bring some relief to East Africa’s leading economy, but is no cause for celebration. 

The National Super Alliance – an opposition coalition which Odinga fronted during the election – apparently had no knowledge of the plan, and looks to have been hung out to dry. Miguna Miguna, a prominent lawyer and staunch ally of Odinga, who was deported to Canada for his role in his swearing-in stunt, has called it a betrayal.

It bears the hallmarks a backroom deal between two figures who have long dominated Kenyan politics.

Not only does this raise the spectre of new political division and uncertainty, but with growing concerns about fiscal management and mounting debt Kenya could have benefited from someone like Odinga leading a strong and credible opposition to hold Kenyatta’s government to account.

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