Inside Politics

‘I have not asked for handshake’ – Sakaja clarifies calls for talks between Raila, Ruto

Monday, March 13th, 2023 16:04 | By
Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja. PHOTO/Facebook
Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja. PHOTO/Facebook

Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja has denied reports in a section of the media suggesting that he is pushing for a political truce between President William Ruto and opposition leader Raila Odinga akin to the ODM leader’s handshake with former President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2018 following a disputed election.

Sakaja yesterday urged the Head of State to reach out to the opposition to avert planned mass action that could plunge the country into a crisis.

A section of the media indicated that the outspoken politician allied to the Kenya Kwanza administration was asking for a handshake between the two leaders, claims he has vehemently denied.

In a tweet, Sakaja maintained that he was only calling on the leaders to come together to have a discussion on Raila's demands to the government.

"Not accurate. I have not asked for a handshake but a discussion. Everyone should be heard. We have only one Kenya. No annex," Sakaja responded to a tweet published by a local news outlet.

He had earlier asked the two leaders to embrace dialogue for the sake of the country's economy.

Sakaja, who was speaking on Sunday, March 12, after a church service in Kahawa West, Roysambu, claimed that although Ruto is willing to work with all Kenyans, his close allies have made it hard for him to engage the opposition.

Greater good

He said it is time Ruto reaches out to Raila for the greater good and to save the majority of Kenyans and their businesses, and investments from collapsing.

"No one wants a handshake but you must acknowledge all leaders and hear what are their legitimate concerns. This country is bigger than any one person. The economy is tough and the people are suffering. People's livelihoods are at stake and now that things are picking up, it is time for us to talk," he remarked.

"Kenya Kwanza's politics and leadership is that of inclusion and I know that is what the President stands for despite being surrounded by people who are afraid of unity. However, there are other leaders who are trying to become hardliners, to tell the president not to reach out."

Raila last Thursday launched a resistance movement to pile pressure on President Ruto’s administration as he seeks to drive a political and economic reforms agenda whose end game is to force the government to ease the cost of living, reduce taxes and become more inclusive.

Raila said the political outfit dubbed Movement for the Defence of Democracy will among other things lead in peaceful protests, sit-ins and boycotts aimed at forcing the government to make life more bearable for Kenyans as well as push for electoral reforms.

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