BY KORIR JUMA,NAIROBI,6TH AUG 2022-Azimio La Umoja – One Kenya presidential candidate Raila Odinga says he is ready to shake hands with his main rival Deputy President William Ruto whether he wins or not during next week’s general election.
Speaking during his final campaign rally at the Kasarani Stadium on Saturday, Odinga pointed out that this will enhance the spirit of reconciliation following the hotly contested election.
He indicated that his political ambitions go beyond himself but depends on the goodwill of the nation, in the spirit of reconciliation.
The battle for votes by the two frontrunners has been dominated by mudslinging, tit-for-tat claims of rigging which has led to the elections being taunted ‘cut-throat’ competition.
“I want to assure Kenyans that I will continue with this HANDSHAKE DOCTRINE, the doctrine of unclenching the fist. For the sake of Kenya, I will shake the hand of my rivals and pay the political price if I have to,”
“I will shake the hands if I win, and I will shake the hands if I don’t,” Odinga said.
The Azimio La Umoja One Kenya presidential flag bearer mentioned that in his political trajectory the spirit of reconciliation is enshrined.
Odinga emphasized that in the event he ascends to power, he will not sideline his rivals.
“We can get to Canaan a divided nation that is half bitter and half happy. In my government they will be no revenge. I pledge to be a president of all,” Odinga assured.
Odinga who is known as the father of ‘handshakes’ has previously revealed how his handshake with former President the late Daniel arap Moi helped unite the country, after setting aside their political differences, opening up for multiparty democracy in the country.
In 2008, Odinga had the historic handshake between him and the late president Mwai Kibaki which restored the spirit of harambee among Kenyans in April 2008, after the post-election violence of 2007 due to the contested poll outcomes.
Odinga accused Kibaki of stealing the Dec. 27 election and fighting over their dispute killed more than 1,000 people and forced 600,000 from their homes.
In 2018, Odinga yet again had a handshake with his erstwhile rival President Uhuru Kenyatta following the 2017 repeat presidential polls.
The March 2018 handshake precipitated a union between the duo which led to President Kenyatta endorsing Odinga as his preferred successor.
“I have made this decision because I did not choose my liberation CAUSE. The liberation cause CHOSE me,“
And when I was tempted to RUN away from it, the CAUSE always found me. This is why I always found a place in my heart to reconcile,” Odinga stated.
Odinga whose political journey was marred by controversy was arrested thrice during President Moi’s regime.
He was first arrested in 1982 when he was linked to a failed attempted coup. He was subsequently detained without trial for six years until February 6, 1988.