I will only hold talks if there's a mediator: Raila to Ruto


• President Ruto had on Tuesday evening told Raila that he is ready to meet him for one on one talks at the opposition leader's convenience.

Raila Odinga and President William Ruto

With opposition leader Raila Odinga demanding the participation of a mediator, the push for negotiations to end the nation's political crisis has taken on a new direction.

The leader of the Azimio coalition stated that while he is willing to speak with President William Ruto, such discussions will only take place in the presence of a neutral third party mediator.

“He is not somebody you can trust, he keeps changing words that is why I insist there must be a mediator between us,” Raila was quoted as having told AFP on Wednesday.

“I am ready to talk if there is a mediator between us.”

This would be a change from his conversations with Retired President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2018, when they first met and shook hands at Harambee House.

After that, Raila would collaborate closely with Uhuru, who had previously supported his bid for the presidency in 2022 before Raila ultimately lost to President Ruto.

The debate could follow the format of the 2007–2008 discussion that gave rise to the government of National Unity, if the Ruto side consents to a mediator leading the negotiations.

Kofi Annan, a former United Nations secretary general, played a key role in negotiating a settlement between Raila and then-President Mwai Kibaki.

With President Ruto, whom he has claimed to have defeated in the 2022 elections, Raila has said that he is not seeking a handshake—a euphemism for power sharing.

On Tuesday night, President Ruto had informed Raila that he is willing to meet with the opposition leader one-on-one whenever it is convenient for Raila.

"My friend @RailaOdinga, am off to Tanzania for a human capital meeting to harmonise the expansion of employment opportunities in our continent. Am back tomorrow evening, and as you have always known, am available to meet one on one with you anytime at your convenience," the president said on Tuesday.

Even if it was said that Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu had been ignored, President Ruto has never in public broached the subject of third-party mediation.

Suluhu was allegedly in the nation for two days to arbitrate negotiations between Raila and Ruto, but the government side rejected the offer.

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