A video clip showing President Uhuru Kenyatta dancing during the birthday party of Opposition leader Raila Odinga shows how close the two leaders have got since the last year’s March 9 handshake.
The presence of Raila’s brother Oburu Oginga, sister Ruth, daughter Rosemary, wife Ida and other close relatives was further testimony of the decades-long friendship between the two families, which has often been rocked by political rivalry.And reading from their body language, it appeared that those present were willing to banish old ghosts and reaffirm the ties that had long bound the Kenyatta and Odinga families.It was also instructive to note that among those dancing away in merriment were two former harsh critics of Uhuru - governors Ali Hassan Joho of Mombasa and Kilifi’s Amason Kingi.
In the wake of last year’s détente, Joho has become one of the President’s allies after a period of public acrimony.The Mombasa Governor also brought his reclusive but influential brother, Abubakar Joho, to the party. Not to be left behind was Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko, another old Joho rival now turned friend.The short clip that went viral was taken on Monday evening at Raila’s Nyali home where friends and members of Kenya’s most recognisable families congregated to celebrate Raila’s 74th birthday.It was clear that Uhuru, who was accompanied by his nephew Jomo Gecaga, was having the time of his life as he danced and laughed aloud to the ‘Happy Birthday’ song by Tanzanian musician Harmonize.
Earlier in the day, the President had hinted that he would attend the party when addressing Mombasa residents at the launch of the Mama Ngina Waterfront Rehabilitation project.Leaders at the public function, including Joho and Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala, were joined by wananchi in wishing the former Prime Minister a happy birthday.Uhuru and Raila then proceeded to Joho’s office to cut and share the birthday cake before converging at Raila’s Nyali residence in the evening.In the clip, those present can be seen doing their utmost to put their best foot forward as the happy birthday song blares from the speakers.A real party mood is in the air as the crowd boogies outside a cobble-stoned entrance painted blue and white to comply with the Mombasa County’s colour code directive. In the foreground is a pool with flower wreaths floating in the green water, which also seems to move in the rhythm of the song.
Joho, who is in the foreground, can be seen dancing with Mama Ida as Raila tangos with two other ladies. He then appears to decide that in the birthday spirit, it is best to “donate” one of his dance partners to the President, who looks as though he has been doing his best to catch Raila’s eye.Raila expertly manoeuvres his dance partner in Uhuru’s direction, steering her, gently; one hand leading her elbow with the other gently pushing her in the back through the crowd.The President, in a show of enthusiasm, receives her with gusto and raucous laughter. Smiling ear to ear, he holds both her hands high as they waltz behind the former PM.A white man dressed in all white, but whose name has not been provided, is seen holding a half-full glass. Reports indicate he is a German living in Mombasa.All the while, Raila, busy doing his signature jig with a lady draped in purple, is seen to be reminded by Abu Joho that he is shirking his duties. “Baba, Mama Ida will be cross if you continue to ignore her this way,” Abu appears to remind Raila.
Abu then moves to his brother into whose ear he whispers and the younger Joho steps back, allowing Mama Ida to fall straight into her husband’s arms.Raila and Mama Ida dance together to the crooning voice of Harmonise.The Joho brothers move inside, past Sonko, who has been dancing with the white guest wearing shades, and the President, whose killer moves have attracted Ruth into his circle. Uhuru owes her a dance, regardless!