Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta met opposition leader Raila Odinga in public on Friday for the first time since last year’s hotly-disputed elections, with the pair promising to heal the country’s divisions.
The surprise meeting at Kenyatta’s downtown office on Friday ended with the symbolic appearance of the two men standing side-by-side to deliver a joint statement.
Calling one another “brother,” they announced a plan for “a programme” to overcome deep and long-standing ethnic and political divides, although they provided few details of what it might involve.
“While we know addressing Kenya’s ethnic and political divisions will take some time and effort, today both of these men showed great leadership in coming together and in the agreement they signed,” he told a press conference in Nairobi after meeting with Kenyatta.
While political violence did not come close to that which followed the 2007 vote – when over 1,100 lives were lost – the disputed elections led to the deaths of over 100 people, most of them shot by police.