Death of the Handshake and the BBI? Jokes on you

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The last two months have been bleak for proponents of the BBI, and those of weak faith in the Handshake, a noble process the life of our nation depends on. However, it is the ODM Party that has been rocked by the strongest political flutter from 12th March, when its leader tested positive for Covid-19.

After Hon. Raila Odinga’s hospitalization, the orange party has stayed in the headlines for all political reasons, including, but not limited to, being short-changed by Uhuru, looking for an exit strategy in the BBI, or joining hands with William Ruto.

However, it is events of Bonchari and Juja by-elections that have some quarters within ODM calling for Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi to be reprimanded, and for him to take responsibility for the state brutality witnessed last week. On Saturday, a concerned Hassan Joho (ODM deputy leader) called on the party’s supporters and the country at large to move on from the by-election, and focus on building back the economy.

”It is time for both winners and losers to end all the blame games, the grandstanding, extended celebrations and lamentations and focus all our energy on uniting the country to fight the coronavirus pandemic, help those in need and invest in economic revitalization and recovery,” a statement by Governor Joho read in part.

A look down the memory lane, Kenya’s most critical moments in history and those where monumental changes transcending generations happened, are those that the Gikuyu and Luo Nations joined hands to commit to a cause. The BBI has been a joint initiative, run by President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga for the last three years, and the two will see it to its logical conclusion. But not without casualties on both sides.

At independence, first Vice President Jaramogi Oginga Odinga rejected an offer from the British Empire, to become president. Oginga equated Jomo to God and vowed there would be no independence with Kenyatta in detention. This was the first major relationship of mutual assistance between the Agikuyu and the Luo, a thing replicated in 2002 with Kibaki Tosha, the Grand Coalition government which birthed Katiba 2010 and now with the Handshake between Uhuru and Raila.

We are currently at a cross-road, eye-balling a moment of significant change reverberating generations. Just like in 1962, 2002, 2007/08, and 2021, we have opposing camps on both sides. Hardliners, saboteurs, egomaniacs, ‘cows’, moderates, and many more.

What determined the outcomes and successes of these events was how committed the leaders of both sides were committed to the bigger picture. In all these instances across history, there have been monumental challenges on both sides.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga have invested so much on the BBI, they have even paid higher individual prices, in terms of reputation, to let the initiative fall on the face. Current squabbles between the handshake partners, perceived rivalry among senior ODM officials or legal hurdles facing the BBI should not make the initiatives detractors think the end is here.

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