Opposition peace offering after Kenyatta charges dropped
06 December 2014, 09:31
Nairobi - Opposition chief Raila Odinga offered congratulations Friday to his arch-rival, President Uhuru Kenyatta, after crimes against humanity charges were dropped, an apparent conciliatory move aimed at easing possible tensions.
"On my own behalf and on behalf of my family, I wish to congratulate the President on this personal triumph that is also of great significance to our country," Odinga said in a statement that was significant in its message of appeasement.
The International Criminal Court had charged Kenyatta, 53, with five charges including murder and rape and deportation for allegedly masterminding post-election violence in the east African country in 2007-08 during which more than 1,200 people died and 600,000 were displaced.
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Bitter memories are still fresh from the violence, which shattered Kenya's image as a beacon of stability in east Africa. Violence erupted when Odinga accused the incumbent President Mwai Kibaki of rigging his way to re-election.
"It is my hope that with this burden taken away, my brother President Uhuru Kenyatta, will now focus all his energies and attention on serving the people of Kenya to the best of his ability," Odinga added. "I wish him well in this noble task."
What began as political riots quickly turned into ethnic killings of Kibaki's Kikuyu tribe, which launched reprisal attacks, plunging Kenya into its worst wave of violence since independence in 1963.
After the violence ended, Odinga took the position of prime minister, but he narrowly lost to Kenyatta in elections in March 2013.
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