The Handshake of Peace and the agreement that helped stave off a political crisis following the 2017 presidential election fallout has also recast politics in Kenya since 2018. The future is looking no less fragile than the past.
This time five years ago, Kenya was still recovering from a bitter presidential election that descended into a constitutional crisis between two Kenya historic political adversaries, which dates back to the country’s independence. Thus, the initial ballot was annulled by the Supreme Court for irregularities, incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta won a repeat election that the opposition leader and perennial presidential candidate, Raila Odinga boycotted. As a result of state interference and people disenchantment, amid rising tensions, Rt. Hon. Odinga rejected the outcome and subsequently proclaimed himself the “People’s President” in an unofficial swearing-in ceremony, this singular act led to a state of anarchy, but then came the great moment of shock and surprise.
With memories still fresh of violence that followed Kenya’s 2007 election, where more than 1,000 people died, Kenyatta and Odinga abruptly shifted course hoping to end ethno-political divide and make peace for the greater good of the Kenyan people. In a meeting at Harambee House (the President’s office in Nairobi), the two shook hands and agreed to a truce before many in Kenya, Africa and around the world, of which observers anxiously hoped would eventually lead to a realignment of the political landscape of Kenya and its democratic peace, as the economic heartland of East Africa.
Four years after, the handshake and agreement for political order and democratic peace has continued to be upheld by the two divides, bringing about the rebalancing of politics in Kenya and its democratic future, as the country prepares for the fourth coming election in August 2022. We are certain that the space between the last protracted, confusing and violent electoral cycle almost tore the country apart. The coming of the Brotherhood Peace Initiative, which ended the ethnic differences, and built a new political order, bridging the gap for the upcoming election, which may be even more decisive and more fairly contested than the previous two or three electoral circle. There have been positive feedbacks on the election expectations, in terms of conduct, electoral participation and eventual outcome, which has to be guided by the principles of true sportsmanship and in the spirit of peace, even as the two main contenders, Rt. Hon. Odinga, “The Baba” and Vice President Roto may see this as a turning point in the political history and democratic advancement of Kenya.
We at the London Political Summit and Awards wish to stand in full solidarity with our mentor, a great Pan-Africanist and Democrat, Rt. Hon. Railia Amoo Odinga a successful campaign and victory at the elections come August 2022, as he becomes the next Executive President of the Republic of Kenya.
This year at the 7th Annual London Political Summit and Awards, we would be recognising and honouring great leaders of Thought and Peace Advocates with the Annual Uhuru/Railia African Peace Accord Awards in London, a symbol of their Peace Handshake initiative.
By Godson Azu.
Godson Azu is political commentator and co-convener of the London Political Summit and Awards in the UK.