In Summary
  • The meeting could also signal a rapprochement between Mr Ruto and Mr Odinga, who have been critical of each other in recent months.
  • The Jubilee administration, which President Kenyatta leads, has been on Mr Wanjigi’s case for over one year.
  • Mr Wanjigi was driven to the Karen lunch date in one of Mr Odinga’s vehicles.

Deputy President William Ruto on Friday hosted President Uhuru Kenyatta, opposition leader Raila Odinga and businessman Jimi Wanjigi at his private residence in Karen, Nairobi, in a move seen as opening a new chapter in the now on, now off relationship between the State and the shadowy businessman.

The meeting could also signal a rapprochement between Mr Ruto and Mr Odinga, who have been critical of each other in recent months.

Their meeting comes only a day after President Uhuru Kenyatta warned that leaders from his central Kenya backyard will be surprised by his choice of successor when he eventually reveals who he will support for the 2022 presidential election.

INVESTIGATION

The Jubilee administration, which President Kenyatta leads, has been on Mr Wanjigi’s case for over one year.

The businessman bore the brunt of a State-sponsored investigation before and after last year’s general election.

He is currently fighting a case in which he is accused of being in possession of guns illegally. At the height of his tribulations, he told journalists that the Jubilee Party was formed in his house, yet the police had the temerity to break in their quest to arrest him.

At one point, Mr Odinga had to keep an overnight vigil in Mr Wanjigi’s house to stop his arrest. On Friday, Mr Wanjigi was driven to the Karen lunch date in one of Mr Odinga’s vehicles. They made their way to Karen shortly after midday.

LUNCH TALKS

Earlier in the day, all four had attended a memorial service for the former Maendeleo ya Wanawake chairperson, Jane Kiano at the ACK St. Francis Church in Karen.

Multiple sources confirmed that Mr Wanjigi attended the lunch date even though he did not appear in the official photos of the meeting sent to newsrooms by the Deputy President’s press team.

Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, who also attended the meeting, confirmed that Mr Wanjigi attended the lunch talks, as did Mr Odinga’s spokesman, Mr Dennis Onyango.

The first to arrive at the DP’s home after the host was President Kenyatta who spent about twenty minutes with Mr Ruto. According to Mr Ruto’s Twitter handle, the two discussed issues related to national development and unity.

Mr Odinga and Mr Wanjigi drove into Mr Ruto’s home 20 minutes after the President had arrived. Mr Odinga had been scheduled to host Nasa Members of Parliament and a delegation from Embu at his Capitol Hill offices between noon and 2pm.

MEMORIAL SERVICE

Even though both delegations turned up for the meetings, Mr Odinga did not show up, apparently held up first at the memorial service and later at the lunch meeting. His aides later cancelled a scheduled press conference.

The ODM director of communications, Mr Philip Etale, said that the two cancelled meetings are likely to happen next week.

By late last evening, it was not clear what was discussed at the lunch meeting that lasted for about an hour. It was also not clear whether the meeting was a coincidence or had been planned.

There were also conflicting reports about what led to the meeting. While an ally of Mr Odinga said it was just an abrupt invite for lunch, Mr Murkomen said it had been planned by the DP to extend an olive branch to Mr Odinga.

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