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Mkapa’s damning book on Ruto, Karua and 2008 peace talks


A book on the intricate details of the 2007 post election talks between Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga written by former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa has sold out.

According to The Citizen newspaper, there were 1000 advance copies of the book titled ‘My life, My Purpose‘.

“1000 copies were too few for a function like that…but we could not bring many because it was expensive to transport additional books via air transport,” the report reads.

However, the publisher said within the next three weeks, the book will available in different forms.

Uongozi Institute noted that Tanzania’s current Head of State John Pombe Joseph Magufuli, former Presidents; Ali Hassan Mwinyi and Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete were among those who attended the book launch.

Also present were current and former high-level government officials; business leaders; development partners; academia; representatives from book stores, libraries, civil society and youth.

In the 320-page book, Mkapa intimates how William Ruto and Martha Karua were apparently the most difficult leaders to deal with.

According to him, it was on the advice of his predecessor Jakaya Kikwete that they decided to lock out Ruto and Karua from the talks.

“The atmosphere changed when we got Kibaki and Odinga together without Karua and Ruto present,” he says in his book.

At the time, Ms. Karua–the then Justice Minister– was allied to Kibaki and Dr. Ruto was Odinga’s running mate.

According to Mkapa, the Koffi Annan-led talks were characterised by tension and high emotions.

“We would lock ourselves in until we finally resolved the outstanding issues,” he says.

For hours one end, the mediators would be in a room at the Serena Hotel with Kibaki, Odinga and their lawyers Amos Wako and James Orengo respectively.

“We stressed to the two leaders that what mattered was mutual respect and establishing a working relationship as it was a high time for them to be pragmatic,” the book reads as quoted by The Citizen.

The talks would finally lead to a power-sharing agreement with the establishment of the Office of the Prime Minister and creation of a coalition government.

Mkapa’s book was launched in Dar es Salaam on November 12 which is also his date of birth and costs £31 (Ksh. 4,095).

He has also written another book that was released in 2013 titled The Mkapa YearsCollected Speeches.

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