By Salim Lone
At a time when the Uhuru Kenyatta regime is reeling from the most sustained condemnation that any Kenya government has ever received from the international media, the Western envoys moved yesterday to deflect attention towards Raila Odinga by accusing him with the gravest charges one can level at a leader. They asserted that he is “stoking and threatening violence” and using “extra-Constitutional measures to seize power.”
The reality is the opposite, and there has been growing international recognition of it: that it is the government’s actions primarily that have brought Kenya to the brink.
With yesterday’s statement, the envoys moved well beyond their interference in Kenyan’s electoral process to a full-fledged entry into the battle itself on the side of Uhuru Kenyatta. Rather than promoting peaceful healing, this condemnation of Raila will lead to increased radicalization on both sides of the divide. Those wanting more forceful action to correct the rigged election and state killings will be even more enraged, and Jubilee supporters will now want Uhuru to clamp down even more forcefully and lawlessly than he has.
Given the power and the armed might of the state, the envoy’s charges could lead to Uhuru’s regime doing further harm to Kenya’s stability with the kinds of action that have been in full global glare. That glare finally increased after the regime’s refusing to heed orders by the highest courts of the land on its shutting down television stations for nearly a week and refusing to produce in court Miguna Miguna, whom they in fact ending up deporting after illegally revoking his nationality.
As for that scurrilous accusation against Raila, the reality is that he had repeatedly pushed back against the strongest pressure – and indeed condemnation for the first time ever – from his vast base to take the oath as the People’s President, which is not a formal state office and is entirely permissible constitutionally. He resisted doing even that for weeks so that he could get the international community to pressure Uhuru Kenyatta to engage in a serious dialogue addressing the grave crisis our country faces.
Raila Odinga has been in fact holding the country together in the face of his supporters’ intense outrage and demand that he lead them in a much more visceral response to the regime’s stealing the election and killing large numbers of unarmed protestors subsequently. Even after the swearing in, Mr Odinga continued to talk of a dialogue and in fact met US Ambassador Godec again last week to pursue it.
Salim Lone, Adviser,
H.E. Raila Odinga, The People’s President of Kenya