Pressure from western nations and financial woes had everything to do with the much-publicized handshake between Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta, Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi says.
In his new autobiography titled “Soaring Above Storms of Passion”, Mudavadi claims that Raila had been banned by several western nations and was under siege, a move that forced him to reach out to President Kenyatta.
He details that Raila was a worried man. He was particularly perturbed on the United States’ next course of action over the prolonged political tension after the 2017 disputed election.
The National Super Alliance (NASA) co-principal in the 2017 Presidential election writes that Raila kept the details of negotiations with the President hush-hush.
It was during a meeting with other NASA co-principals — Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetangula — that the former prime minister shared his fears.
“Raila also mentioned to us in that meeting that he had received letters of cancellation of his visas by various foreign missions in Kenya. He showed us a copy of one such letter he had received from a leading western mission, ” Mudavadi is quoted by Daily Nation.
Mudavadi would later learn that the visa embargo had affected several other leaders.
He writes that he “cross-checked” with the US ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec, “who affirmed that he was aware of the developments.”
In the book authored with his ally and ANC Secretary-General Barack Muluka, Mudavadi details that financial woes Odinga’s party was in led to the truce between him and the Jubilee leader.
He mentions that litigations against NASA leaders nearly brought Raila’s party to its knees financially.
“We learnt that the financial capacity to handle these cases was not there. basically the situation was becoming unbearable, ” Mudavadi writes.
He writes that the January 30, 2018, mock swearing-in at Uhuru park went against the stand of the rest of the NASA co-principals.
It was also in defiance of the caution by the world and regional leaders.
The leaders had called for dialogue between Raila and his then political arch-rival Uhuru.
About the March 9, 2018, handshake, the ANC boss says it became as a shocker.
He writes that he was on his way to Mombasa when he received a call from Vihiga Senator George Khaniri who alerted him of the “Handshake” in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s office at Harambee House.
“A flurry of other phone calls flowed in. Kalonzo called me to ask if I was aware of what was going on. I told him I was not aware, ” writes Mudavadi.
“They wanted to know whether we were now going into a coalition government with Jubilee.”
Following the truce between Raila and Uhuru, the Building Bridges Initiative task force was born to mainly operationalize reconciliation across the country following the aftermath of the disputed 2017 election.
Last week, the team chaired by Garissa Senator Yusuf Haji submitted the report to the two at State House, Nairobi.
The report recommends, among other things, the creation of the Prime Minister position and the runner-up in a Presidential election becomes the leader of opposition in parliament.
In its proposals, the BBI team retained the President as the Head of State.
The BBI report proposed that the Prime Minister may be dismissed by the President or through a vote of no confidence in the National Assembly.
The big question in the country now is on the implementation of the report with a section of the political class rooting for a referendum while another calling for a parliamentary process.