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How Raila, Moi 'handshake' brought Nyanza to a standstill

Curtis Otieno
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Opposition leader Raila Odinga shakes hands with former President Daniel Arap Moi at his home after in April last year. [Source/Raila Odinga/Twitter]

Before the 2002 merger between the then National Development Party (NDP) leader Raila Odinga and the then President Daniel Moi truce, the nation was once again heavily polarized.

This called for reconciliation, a similar one that was seen early last year between President Uhuru Kenyatta and again Raila, only that the initial one was done in Homa Bay.

The truce followed Raila's loss to Moi in the 1997 elections but Raila and his team would later join Moi, only to kill the KANU party months later and join the NARC party.

This came at a time when the NDP was a predominantly Nyanza party whose only two members were not elected in Nyanza, this being Raila (Langata) and George Nyanja (Ruiru).

On the feted day, February 1998, all roads led to the Homa Bay Stadium where Raila and Moi were the chief guests before the entourage left for the Kisumu Statehouse.

Just as was the case in Kisumu December last year, Moi, Raila and their allies received a rousing reception at each stopover.

The agreement was that Raila's Nyanza backyard would in exchange receive a number of favours, including the revival of sugar and cotton industries and other development projects.

The role of identifying the projects was left to then Karachuonyo MP Adhu Awiti and Professor Edward Oyugi.

However, they were never to be realized as by 2002, Raila decamped to the NARC party which went ahead to beat Moi in the following elections through retired president Mwai Kibaki.

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