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April 19 - 25, 2013


 Coastweek   Kenya

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Uhuru Kenyatta and William
Ruto meet with Raila Odinga

The leaders also discussed modalities for a bipartisan approach to issues in Parliament, the leadership of critical House Committees and the role of the minority party

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto on Saturday held unity talks with the country’s opposition leaders to create national cohesion in the East African nation after hotly contested general elections.

A statement issued after the meeting said both Kenyatta and Ruto met with former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and ex-Vice- President Kalonzo Musyoka who conveyed their message of goodwill to the president and his deputy saying they wished them well in running the country.

In light of the recently concluded general election that was closely contested, the talks also touched on the need to bring Kenyans together and unite the country,” the statement said.

During the meeting, 51-year-old Kenyatta who was inaugurated on Tuesday expressed the willingness of the Jubilee leadership to nurture a working relationship with all Kenyans irrespective of their political affiliations in order to strengthen national unity.

The leaders called upon Kenyans to now rise above the differences that arose during the electoral period and join hands in nation building as members of the same Kenyan family,” the statement said.

The Saturday’s talks also focused on the upcoming State Opening of the 11th Parliament, which the two Coalition of Reform for Democracy (CORD) leaders promised to, attend.

The leaders also discussed modalities for a bipartisan approach to issues in Parliament, the leadership of critical House Committees and the role of the minority party.

Both Kenyatta and Ruto pledged that the Jubilee Coalition, which commands majority in both houses, is committed to ensuring the existence of a strong opposition party as a necessary tool for democratization and to ensure steady check on the government.

The president and his deputy said they were keen to see the minority party playing a critical role in key committees like the Accounts Committee.

The leaders agreed to ensure ethical relations between the parties and in general politics.

Kenyatta was sworn in for a five-year term as Kenya’s new president on Tuesday, thereby ending the ten-year presidency of Mwai Kibaki and the five-year tenure of the coalition government formed after the bitterly disputed 2007 election.

Kenyatta’s inauguration followed a Supreme Court ruling on March 30 that declared his victory over Odinga in the ballot on March 4, by a 50.07 percent to 43.3 percent margin, to be legitimate.

Political analysts said the relatively peaceful nature of the election and Odinga’s acceptance of the Supreme Court’s verdict - as well as the reduction in uncertainty - bodes well for political stability and investor confidence.

Moreover, they said Kenyatta will not have the untrammeled powers enjoyed by his predecessors and will need to work more closely with the other arms of government, including the National Assembly, a new Senate and 47 new counties, because of the reforms embodied in Kenya’s 2010 constitution.


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