‘You Can Only Be Observers’—Kenya Opposition Chief Odinga Slams Foreign Envoys

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Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga whose National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition contests the legitimacy of the October 2017 elections slammed foreign envoys asking him to recognize the government of President Uhuru Kenyatta.

“They can only be observers,” Odinga said on Sunday, adding that: “Their only interest is to do business at the behest of their countries. They are not interested in our democracy.”

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United States Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec has led Western envoys in insisting that the legitimacy of the government of Kenyatta should be acknowledged if Odinga’s much sought after dialogue with the President is to happens.

Along with Godec, eleven ambassadors and high commissioners including; UK’s Nic Hailey and Canada’s Sara Hradecky in a statement last week urged him to “accept the fact that Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto were the legitimate President and Deputy of Kenya” after the Supreme Court upheld their election on October 26 last year.

“The Opposition needs to accept this as the basis for the dialogue that it, and many Kenyans, want. Stoking and threatening violence are not acceptable, nor are extra-Constitutional measures to seize power,” they said.

Odinga took a symbolic oath as the “peoples President” on January 30, 2018  in the heart of the capital of East Africa’s wealthiest economy intended as a direct challenge to Kenyatta. Odinga insists he, not Kenyatta, was the true winner of a disputed presidential election last August.

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The government has since responded with a crackdown on dissidents.

Kenyatta’s victory in August was annulled by the Supreme Court over irregularities but he won a re-run, which Odinga boycotted because some electoral commission reforms he demanded did not take place.

Kenyatta was sworn in for a second term in November and state institutions report to him.

 

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