Obama Mocks Raila Odinga’s Double Stance On US/Kenya Relationship


Everybody knows quite well the stance of Opposition leaders’ particularly Raila Odinga’s on  issues concerning US government getting involved in Kenya’s internal matters when they were in power. The ex Prime Minister always took time to speak against the US Government interfering with Kenya’s internal affairs whenever there was need to do so.

Also, we vividly recall in 2009, when Raila Odinga was the Prime Minister, he opened the war front with Western countries telling them to give up on “lecturing” African nations on governance issues. He advised the West to concentrate more on how to further open up more trade avenues in the continent to enable the economy of African countries to grow rapidly than dishing out a series of lectures every now and then.

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While he was addressing delegates that were to attend the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act forum that took place in Nairobi, Mr Odinga revealed the continent had achieved a lot by “toppling dictators” who had given Africa a bad name. In his words,

“Lecturing us on issues that deal with governance and transparency is in bad taste. The continent is still recovering from an era of dictatorship and tyrannical leadership that many African countries struggled hard to dislodge. “We therefore don’t need lectures on how to govern ourselves… we only require lectures on how to trade not only with ourselves but with the rest of the world to enable us prosper.”

Recently, President Barack Obama visited Kenya and when speaking at a forum with civil society, he took a jibe at the Opposition, saying he found it odd that they would want the US to interfere with Kenya’s internal affairs, but took the opposite stand when in power. He openly criticized the Opposition over double-speak on various issues affecting Kenya saying everyone wants the US to be “very involved when they are not in power” but when in power, want the super power not to interfere.

According to him, he met with the key Opposition leaders earlier Sunday at the VIP area of the Safaricom Stadium Indoor Arena in the afternoon after addressing Kenyans at the same venue. Among them were Cord leader Raila Odinga and his co-principals Moses Wetang’ula of Ford Kenya and Kalonzo Musyoka of the Wiper Democratic Movement, and also Narc Kenya’s Martha Karua. He narrated what he had told a leader who has been exerting pressure on him to challenge the government, but had previously opposed US involvement in Kenyan affairs. In his words;

 It’s funny though that one of the Opposition leaders – I won’t mention who – was saying we really need you to press the Kenyan government on some issues and I had to say to him, I remember when you were in government, and  kept on saying why are you trying to interfere with Kenya’s business? You should mind your own business.

He said everyone wants the US to be very involved when they are not in power but when in power want the super power “to mind its own business.”

He also made it clear that America would continue to be honest and to promote the kinds of policies and interests they believe in.

He told the Opposition there was a legitimate elected government and the US would work with the recent regime although it will always listen to all segments of society.

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The Opposition  laid bare several other complaints during their meeting with Obama including demanding that President Obama should put pressure on the government to allow electoral reforms, that they should look into high-level of corruption in the country,as well as growing insecurity and the government’s failure to tackle the threat of terrorism. They raised gender issues and ways of deepening ties with the US.

During the meeting that lasted almost 45 minutes, Mr Odinga and other Opposition leaders accused Jubilee of rigging the 2013 presidential election. Mr Odinga has been asking that Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru steps aside to create way for investigations into corruption in the National Youth Service. But she has protested her innocence. The Opposition went on to accuse President Kenyatta of practicing tribalism and ethnic exclusivity in appointments to the most important government positions. In fact, the issue of strengthening devolution was the focus of the meeting.