Interior PS Karanja Kibicho has candidly admitted that the March 9, 2018 handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga rescued the country from the brink of a civil war.
According to the PS, the volatile campaigns ahead of the August 2017 General Election had taken its toll on Kenya’s socio-political and economic well-being, leaving the country polarised.
Speaking for the first time about the Handshake, Kibicho said the heightened political temperatures, occasioned by protests and threats of secession after the election and dynamics of the repeat presidential election, had greatly stretched resources, both human and financial, to maintain law and order in the country.
He also said an estimated Sh30 million per month was being spent on operations by the police service to quell violence across the country.
According to People Daily, estimates indicate that the country used Sh200 million to deal with the tension, which lasted almost seven months—August 2017 to March 2018.
“As a result of the volatile situation in the country, police officers were too stretched to focus on deserving issues of detection and prevention of crimes.
We used to spend millions of shillings on police operations then. That money is now put in good use to secure the country,” Kibicho was quoted by PD.
The brainchild of the two leaders, the Building Bridges Initiative, has come up with a wide-ranging series of recommendations to curb election-related violence, including restructuring the government to re-introduce a hybrid system of government featuring shared power between a president and a prime minister with members of Parliament now allowed to become part of the Cabinet.
Election losers have been tossed a bone with the runner-up in the presidential elections automatically gaining a seat in Parliament as leader of the official opposition.
President Kenyatta had recently offered the public a glimpse of how the two came together after the contested election and the repeat presidential election.
“I want to thank my brother Raila Odinga because our first meeting was not easy. Just as you were worried, we too were worried. We wondered about what we would tell each other when we met. When we finally met, we took tea for about 45 minutes in an awkward environment. We made small talk about our families. It was difficult talking to each other because of the pent up emotions from the elections,” the Head of State said during the launch of BBI at Bomas Nairobi.