At the end of the Madaraka Day festivities which were held at the Jomo Kenyatta Stadium in Kisumu, president Uhuru Kenyatta bid a quick farewell to distinguished guests and dignitaries before leaving. Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto were among the guests that had to wait for the president of Burundi, Evariste Ndayishimiye, to vacate the venue before they could live.
Awkward moments were expected between the two, with they, having been bitter rivals and harsh critics of each other ever since their public and spectacular fallout soon after the contested 2007 general elections.
However, to everyone’s shock and surprise, the scenes that were witnessed between the two went contrary to what anyone else expected.
Soon after the Deputy President saw off the president, he started conversing with former Prime Minister Raila Odinga as Burundi President Evariste Ndayishimiye’s entourage left. But their talk was not the usual exaggerated and contrived chats that prominent people usually have just so as to maintain appearances for the camera. As a matter of fact, the mirth that was displayed in their body language was indicative of two men who have long shared camaraderie and an intimate friendship.
What is also likely to further raise eyebrows isn’t simply the fact that the two rivals were engaged in such a cordial exchange, but also, the duration of the interaction.
While, ideally, the two would have been struggling to put up with the other’s company, with each whiling away the seconds, waiting for president Evariste Ndayishimiye to exit so that he took can make his quick escape, this wasn’t the case.
Not only was their exchange actually long, but as a matter of fact, it was so long that for a while, one could notice Deputy President Ruto keeping his entourage waiting as he continued chatting with the former Prime Minister.
When the two were finally through, Ruto hoped at the front of his SUV before it sped off amidst tight security.