Will President William Ruto follow in the footsteps of his predecessor and reach out to Raila Odinga, or will he completely ignore him.

Kenya’s political environment has recently been quite tense, with numerous protests and demonstrations taking place in Nairobi and a few other parts of the nation. With the opposition AZIMIO and the ruling Kenya Kwanza Coalition at odds with one another, Kenya’s political landscape has been marred by tensions and polarization.

The two have frequently exchanged jabs, with each accusing the other of political animosity and betrayals. Many Kenyans believe that the nation is divided along ethnic lines as a result of this situation, which has polarized the political landscape. Due to the perceived political risk and instability, this division has had a significant negative impact on Kenya’s economy. Businesses and investors have shied away from the nation.

While some contend that President Ruto ought to reach out to  Raila and other opposition leaders, others think that doing so would not be in the nation’s best interests given Raila’s history of using unconventional tactics to seize power.

Critics argue that Raila’s tactics are contrary to democratic and good governance principles and that his inclusion in the government could lead to instability and conflict. Furthermore, they argue that reaching out to Raila could be interpreted as a sign of weakness on President Ruto’s part. They argue that President Ruto was democratically elected and has the mandate to govern and that he should not be forced to cede power or compromise his agenda to appease the opposition.

Additionally, some detractors of the idea contend that Raila is a polarizing figure who has consistently advanced a political agenda based on ethnicity and tribalism. They assert that Raila has consistently worked to bolster his ethnic Luo group’s power at the expense of other communities. Therefore, any efforts to include him in the government risk escalating ethnic tensions and polarizing society.

On the economic front, opponents of the idea argue that the ongoing demonstrations and protests are not solely the result of a political divide. Instead, they claim that the protests are being organized by individuals and groups seeking to further their own agendas. As a result, they believe that reaching out to Raila and the opposition will not necessarily end the protests or lead to a more stable political environment.

Those in favor of President Ruto reaching out to Raila Odinga and the opposition leaders argue that the current political climate in Kenya is characterized by high levels of polarisation and political tension, which are not conducive to the country’s stability or development. Reaching out to Raila and the opposition leaders would be a significant step toward promoting national unity and inclusivity.

Second, proponents argue that Raila Odinga and his coalition have a sizable following in Kenya and that their inclusion in the government would bring new perspectives and ideas to the table. They believe that an inclusive government would be better able to address the country’s challenges while also promoting economic growth and development.

Supporters of the idea argue that if the current protests and demonstrations continue, Kenya’s democratic gains could be jeopardized. A peaceful and stable political environment is essential for attracting investment, promoting economic growth, and implementing policies and programs that benefit all Kenyans. Reaching out to Raila and the opposition would be a significant step toward creating such an environment.

They also contend that inclusivity is a fundamental tenet of democracy and good governance and that President Ruto bears responsibility for ensuring that all voices are heard and considered. They argue that excluding the opposition would be undemocratic and would exacerbate political unrest and instability.

In the event that President Ruto reaches out to  Raila, it is important to remember that in a democratic system, the winner of the election has the mandate to form the government, and any inclusion of the opposition should be done in a way that does not compromise the integrity of the electoral process or unduly influence the government’s policies and programs.

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Dr. Mary Mugo
Strategy, Leadership, Team Development, and Governance Consultant.


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