A historic handshake | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 11, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 11, 2018

A historic handshake

It was a handshake that drew a line under Kenya's bruising election, left many people bewildered and swung open the starting gate for the 2022 presidential race.

After months of insults during a deadly and divisive election, the two heirs of Kenya's most powerful political dynasties, President Uhuru Kenyatta and his rival Raila Odinga stood side by side, shook hands and pledged reconciliation.

Even in a country used to the political game of thrones, where betrayals are commonplace and bitter rivals forge alliances almost overnight, the gesture on March 9 stunned the nation.

Kenya's presidential election in August plunged the country into turmoil, after Kenyatta's victory was annulled by the Supreme Court, citing flaws in the process, which ordered a re-run.

Kenyatta, 56, subsequently won an October re-run after Odinga, 73, boycotted the election which he said would not be free and fair.

Protests and political violence left at least 92 dead during the election period, mostly at the hands of police, according to rights groups.

The handshake, which came after Odinga held a mock swearing-in ceremony in January, has brought an end to the vitriolic attacks between the rivals.

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