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Raila mingles with Ruto allies at King Charles banquet

It was a rather surprising sight to witness opposition leader Raila Odinga grace the State Banquet of King Charles III and Queen Camilla at State House, Nairobi, on November 1, 2023.

And in what was an unusual experience, the Azimio leader mingled with various Kenya Kwanza political bigwigs, in a move analysts say showcases the maturity within Kenyan politics.

Among the standout moments was the time President William Ruto stood by and watched the King share light moments with the opposition leader. The visiting monarch and Mr Odinga shared a hearty gesture for a few minutes after the Head of State had formalised the introductions.

The Head of State and Azimio leader have been at loggerheads in the recent past, owing to several issues including the high cost of living and the results of the 2022 presidential elections.

In other highlights, Mr Odinga, who finished second behind President William Ruto in the 2022 presidential elections, was seen heartily chatting with United Democratic Alliance (UDA) Secretary General Cleophas Malala.

Malala is Mr Odinga’s foe turned friend turned foe with the latest fallout out between the two politicians coming in the run-up to the last general elections.

Incidentally, Malala recently suggested that Mr Odinga should be arrested for leading anti-government protests around the country.

Others present during the chat was Tourism Cabinet Secretary Alfred Mutua, Interior Principal Secretary Raymond Omollo and National Assembly Minority whip Opiyo Wandayi.

Mutua and Omollo are Ruto’s close political allies.

With the formalities over, Mr Odinga found himself sitted next to Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen and Kiambu Governor Anne Waiguru who are both close allies of President Ruto.

Conspicouly absent at the event was Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua who has consistently vowed at public rallies he will not allow Mr Odinga to visit State House or seek a political ‘handshake’ with President Ruto.

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