After the 2017 elections which Raila Odinga’s NASA lost to Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee, Uhuru and government in general had to find something to keep Raila busy.
One way was bestowing envoy status, which has kept him engaged to some extent. Without it, Raila would just be roving around and having a disruptive influence.
This engagement is among the fruits of the handshake between Uhuru and Raila.
Envoy status and the role he plays in the handshake have given Raila state benefits, including the state settling some of his bills, providing security, a fleet of cars and staff.
This envoy status is not empty or in vain. Raila’s engagement with South Sudan has borne fruit, as he brought the warring factions of Salva Kiir and Riek Machar to the dialogue table. They have met for the first time and agreed almost on every issue that will see sanity return to South Sudan.
Stability in South Sudan brings peace dividends that will be felt across the region. Kenya, which has been training their police and civil servants, will also be able to access cheap oil and be relieved from the burden of hosting South Sudanese refugees.
Cheap oil has a multiplier effect on the economy. The cost of production will drop and so will the cost of living.
Currently Raila is in India negotiating trade deals and promoting diplomatic and bilateral ties.
Raila can project the country’s influence and image and bolster relationships because he commands massive international respect. He is an international figure with numerous connections, more than Uhuru enjoys.
So if we combine Uhuru and Raila’s diplomatic forays, they will bring a lot to the country. It is only in Uhuru’s time that we have had the American president visit. A host of other host of international icons have flocked here. If you add what Raila is doing, we will woo many to Kenya, have an upper hand in negotiating trade, strengthen relations, attract more FDI and create more opportunities in tourism and education.
Political scientist- Martin Andati
Credits, The Star