NAIROBI, (Xinhua) --
In 2018, Kenya experienced political stability
and unity after the divisive polls of last year.
There has been
little or no political bickering this year, with both ruling
party Jubilee and opposition National Super Alliance politicians
working together for the common purpose of the country.
tranquility followed the March 9 pact between President Uhuru
Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga.
The deal came as a
shocker to friends and foes of the two long-time rivals, who had
fought bitterly in two elections in 2017, the main one which was
won by Kenyatta and contested by Odinga at the Supreme Court.
The top court
annulled the win, ordering a fresh presidential election on Oct.
26, 2017, which Odinga boycotted and his supporters violently
protested preventing polling in his strongholds.
On Jan. 30, 2018,
Odinga swore himself in as the "People's President" in Nairobi,
heightening political tensions and anxiety as the government
cracked down on opposition politicians.
However, the truce
between Odinga and Kenyatta ended the acrimony, putting Kenya on
a different political trajectory that has seen the leaders
across the political divide united.
"Some people have
been asking, why did you go to speak with Odinga? But I tell
them he is a Kenyan, and I have all the right to speak to him,
and others ready to unite Kenyans," President Kenyatta said in
one of the many meetings he held this year to drum up support
for the unity.
"Never again shall a Kenyan die because of elections. We will
unite and fight corruption together and we are committed to the
unity deal and it will be implemented," said Odinga on the other
Many Kenyans, both
those supporting Odinga and Kenyatta, believe the pact has been
good for the country and would foster development as the
president serves his second term.
cooled down political temperatures to levels last witnessed
before the Kenyatta era that started on 2013, but most
importantly, it brought hope and optimism to millions of
Kenyans," Henry Wandera, an economics lecturer and political
analyst in Nairobi, said on Thursday.
He noted that the
benefits of the political stability have reverberated across the
"The economy is
projected to grow 6.3 percent this year and this is because of
the stability and the shilling has strengthened since then,"
Following the truce,
the business environment improved, with both big and small
organizations registering improved trading as compared to 2017.
sector has similarly benefited greatly from the stability the
country is enjoying, with the east African nation seeing a
steady arrival of foreign tourists as the West refrained from
issuing any travel advisories. Kenya this year expects to
attract more than the 1.45 million tourists recorded in 2017,
according to the Ministry of Tourism.
The Kenyan shilling
has similarly remained stable against the U.S. dollar, rising
1.8 percent to the greenback this year, a performance analysts
attribute to the peaceful environment.
According to Wandera,
on the political front, the deal slowed down succession politics
that had started to gather pace soon after 2017 polls, forcing
key political players back to the drawing board.
This has allowed
Kenyatta to implement his legacy projects dubbed the Big Four
Kenyatta and Odinga
have since been awarded honorary doctorate degrees by the
Jaramogi Oginga University of Science and Technology based in
western Kenya for fostering unity in the country.