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Decoding the body language at Raila-Uhuru State House meeting

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Politics may be dirty, but it doesn’t create permanent enemies. And so it happened that President Uhuru Kenyatta and his nemesis Raila Odinga shared a meal over lunch today, just hours after the government threatened to arrest him for organising a parallel Madaraka Day rally.

It’s also telling that Raila, the CORD leader, had to hastily leave a funeral he was attending in Narok after getting a phone invitation him to State House, Nairobi, from Uhuru. With tensions mounting ahead of tomorrow’s rally, the timing of the call was curious, coming as tensions grew over plans to hold a rally at Uhuru Park parallel to Madaraka Day celebrations to be held at Afraha Stadium in Nakuru

In what could have been a veiled attempt to dissuade the former Prime Minister and his co-principals from holding the rally, the President invited them to the national Madaraka Day celebrations to be held in Nakuru County.

Here is a video recording of the event courtesy of Daily Nation

The body language at the meeting spoke of friends whose only difference is their political fate. Uhuru greeted Raila affectionately, addressing his as brother. “Habari Ndugu (how are you brother),” he said as he shook Raila with both hands, the utmost show of respect, perhaps assuring the opposition chief that there are no hard feelings.

Deputy President William Ruto’s informal address, though, betrayed some tensions between the two. He greeted Raila, casually saying, “How are you Boss,” without facing Raila in the face.

Raila is also seen exchanging pleasantries with Majority Leader Adan Dual and Security minister Joseph Nkaissery and laughing their lungs full. On the political stage, they are enemies but in private they are bosom friends.

Though it later emerged the invite extended to Raila and his Cord co-principal Moses Wetang’ula was to attend a State Luncheon in honour of Park Geun-hye, the visiting President of the Republic of South Korea, Raila expressed hope the opportunity will pave way for discussions on some of the issues raised by his Cord coalition, top among them is its position on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, (IEBC).

CORD co-principal Kalonzo Musyoka is on a tour of China where he is attending annual World Eminent Chinese Entrepreneur Congress. Earlier today, he issued a terse statement condemning the government decision to bar Cord from accessing Uhuru Park.

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