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Raila Odinga And Ruto Handshake; The Long Awaited Handshake


On 13th May, 2023, history was made in Kenya as two of the country’s most prominent politicians, Raila Odinga and William Ruto, shook hands at the funeral service of the late Mau Mau fighter, Field Marshal Mukami Kimathi that took place in Njambini, Nyandarua County. This momentous occasion marked the first public appearance of the two politicians together since the hotly contested August 2022 general elections, where Ruto emerged as the fifth President of Kenya, beating Odinga and other contenders.

For many Kenyans, this handshake signifies a turning point in the country’s political landscape, especially after the events that followed the elections. After his loss, Odinga accused Ruto’s team of rigging the elections, leading to protests across the country. The situation was further complicated by rising living costs, which Odinga blamed on the government’s failure to address the issue.

The handshake between Odinga and Ruto is a significant step towards reconciliation and healing in the country. It sends a message of unity and cooperation, which is essential for the development and progress of Kenya. It also shows that the two leaders are willing to put aside their political differences and work together for the common good of the country.

Raila Odinga and ruto handshake
Raila Odinga and ruto handshake

The handshake also brings to mind a similar event that happened in 2018, where Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta shook hands, ending months of political tension after the 2017 general elections. That handshake paved the way for the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), which sought to unite Kenyans and address some of the challenges facing the country, including corruption, ethnic divisions, and electoral violence.

However, the BBI was dealt a blow after the High Court declared it unconstitutional in 2021, leading to a prolonged legal battle. With Ruto now in power, it remains to be seen whether the BBI will be revived or whether a new initiative will be launched to address these issues.

Nonetheless, the handshake between Odinga and Ruto is a positive sign for Kenya’s political future. It shows that the country’s leaders can put their differences aside and work towards a common goal. It also sends a message to the citizens of Kenya that their leaders are committed to peace, stability, and development.

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