President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya called opposition leader Raila Odinga “his brother” on Friday and promised “we will begin a process of bringing our people together” after the 2017 contentious elections.
Odinga told national television “it is time to resolve our differences,” as the two politicians made their first public appearance together since the Oct. 26 repeat presidential election in 2017.
NAN reports that Kenyatta was sworn in for a second term in November after an extended election season which saw the Supreme Court nullify an August presidential poll and order a re-run in October, which Odinga boycotted.
Months of acrimonious campaigning and sporadic clashes between government and opposition supporters blunted growth in Kenya, East Africa’s richest economy and a Western ally in a volatile region.
In January, Odinga took a symbolic presidential oath in a Nairobi park in a direct challenge to Kenyatta.
The two men have defied calls from Kenyan civil society and religious leaders and Western diplomats to hold talks to overcome deep divisions opened up by the disputed elections.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrives in the Kenyan capital later on Friday, part of a seven-day visit to Africa as the U.S. seeks to bolster security alliances on a continent increasingly turning to China for aid and trade.