The crucial role of DPP Haji in Ruto-Raila truce

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji has been revealed as a key player in the recent negotiations that resulted in a truce between President William Ruto and opposition leader Raila Odinga.

According to multiple sources in both the President Ruto and Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition camps, Mr. Haji was at the center of the talks that led to the press conferences by the protagonists announcing a ceasefire on April 2.

President Ruto initiated the talks through Mr. Haji, who led a team of five in discussions with a group of three from Mr. Odinga’s side.

“It is the President who sent emissaries to Raila. We formed a team of two people to engage the other side,” said ODM Deputy Party Leader Wycliffe Oparanya.

His account of events was corroborated by Jubilee Secretary-General Jeremiah Kioni, Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei, and several other politicians who did not want to be named.

Siaya Senator and Mr. Odinga’s elder brother, Oburu Oginga, together with Prof Makau Mutua, were part of the initial team of negotiators from the opposition coalition.

The talks began two days before the press briefings but gained momentum on Sunday, April 2, to prevent demonstrations that Mr. Odinga had named the “mother of all protests.”

The protesters had been demanding reforms in the electoral system, which they accused of being rigged in favor of the ruling party. The demonstrations led to deaths, injuries, and widespread damage to property.

Under pressure from the American, British, European Union, Chinese, and Japanese governments, President Ruto and Mr. Odinga called a truce and halted the violent confrontations between protesters and state security personnel.

In a move that surprised many, Mr. Haji played a central role in the talks, leading to the dropping of cases filed against opposition leaders, which set the stage for the start of negotiations.

Opposition leaders had been charged with engaging in illegal demonstrations and malicious damage to property. However, their cases were withdrawn immediately after the truce, leading to questions about Mr. Haji’s independence as a key stakeholder in the justice system.

Despite this, Mr. Oparanya downplayed the involvement of a public servant in political negotiations, given the then widening gulf between Azimio and the government.

“It was not a concern to us at that time because you don’t know the relationship between who was sent and the President. Perhaps the president did it because of the trust he has in Haji,” he said.

The former Kakamega governor also revealed that more emissaries joined both sides, and discussions started in the morning and involved coming up with proposals before the opposition finally agreed to suspend the anti-government demonstrations.

Another opposition politician, who did not want to be named, described Mr. Haji as the main person from President Ruto’s side.

The involvement of Mr. Haji in the talks has generated mixed reactions, with some questioning his independence as a key player in the justice system. However, others have downplayed the discussions, saying they are unnecessary noise that has the potential of derailing the talks.

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