Kenyan President William Ruto on Wednesday met with Tanzanian counterpart Samia Suluhu Hassan, a day after opposition leader Raila Odinga claimed he had snubbed her mediation offers to address the Kenyan political crisis two weeks ago.
The two presidents met on the sidelines of a conference on human capital in the Tanzanian commercial capital Dar es salaam.
The two, Odinga and Ruto have been on the opposite sides of a political bickering surrounding the cost of living, taxation policy as well as post-election disagreements following last year’s tightly contested presidential polls won by Dr Ruto.
Those disputes led to violent protests for the last three weeks, causing fears the country could plunge into a political crisis.
Ruto announced on Wednesday he was travelling to Dar es Salaam to attend the Human Capital Summit, meant to discuss harmonisation of labour policies in the East African region. But he addressed Odinga, offering to meet him to discuss the crisis once he returned to Nairobi.
“My friend Raila Odinga, (I) am off to Tanzania for a human capital meeting to harmonise the expansion of employment opportunities in our continent. (I) Am back tomorrow evening (Wednesday), and as you have always known, am available to meet one on one with you anytime at your convenience,” Ruto tweeted.
Ruto’s Spokesman Hussein Mohamed told the media on Wednesday there had been no protocol arrangement for the two leaders to meet.
“President Suluhu must have been here for holiday and Kenya is open to anyone to visit. Information going around that President Ruto did not meet her is because it was not a state visit, since there was no protocol followed,” said Mohammed.
They met in Dar at the Africa Heads of State for Human Capital Summit which kicked off on Tuesday targeting to review the continent’s higher demand on human capital development and future.
But it seems it could offer an opportunity for Kenya’s political protagonists to address their continual beef.
Odinga had told an international press briefing earlier in the day that President Samia had travelled to Kenya earlier this month to help forestall a street protest that was threatening to balloon into a serious political crisis.
“Samia Suluhu came here two weeks ago at the invitation of President Ruto to mediate, but she was kept waiting not from our side, we were available, but the other side was not available,” he said.
“She spent two nights here and it was all in vain. Other people have tried but he’s the one who’s resisting. I am ready to sit with other people to discuss these issues,” Odinga stated during the interview with the International Press Association of East Africa.