Kenya’s leaders try to heal rift

Kenya’s president and prime minister have met for the first time since a power struggle broke out a week ago which threatened the unity government.

Kenya is polarised by conflicting loyalties to the two leaders

They agreed to settle issues that had strained their relationship, Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s spokesman said.

They fell out after President Mwai Kibaki overturned a decision by the prime minister to suspend cabinet ministers over corruption allegations.

The pair formed a coalition to help end riots after the 2007 election.

After the talks, Mr Kibaki’s office released a brief statement saying: “The consultations centred on a wide range of issues touching on the grand coalition government.”

akoyo Midiwo, from Mr Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), said more meetings would follow.

“The two principals agreed to work more closely and settle the issues that had been straining their relationship,” he said.

The president then went on to open parliament with a call for unity.

Occasionally stumbling on his words, he said that despite coming from diverse origins, Kenyans were one people, one family.

“I appeal to honourable members to shun the divisive parties and politics, and focus on the greater good of our country,” he said.

“Whatever differences that may arise between us, we should amicably resolve in the national interest.”



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