Sunday, May 17, 2009



Saturday, May 16 2009

Prime Minister Raila Odinga leaves the country on Monday for a three-week tour of the United States.

It will be the first time that Mr Odinga is visiting the US after the election of President Obama, whose father was Kenyan.

It was, however, not clear whether Mr Odinga will travel to Washington D.C., the seat of government or meet US President Barack Obama.

The White House could not confirm whether Mr Odinga would meet President Obama or any of his senior advisers during the visit.

Kenya’s ambassador to the US, Mr Peter Ogego, said the prime minister was not expected in Washington.

“Raila isn’t coming to Washington at all,” Mr Ogego said.

But both the ambassador and Prime Minister’s Press Service director Dennis Onyango confirmed the PM will be in Chicago to speak at a business meeting and at the State University of New York at Buffalo to give a lecture.

“It is true the PM will be going to the US on Monday,” Mr Onyango told the Sunday Nation by phone.

Mr Odinga will speak at the Global Business Coalition meeting in Chicago on Wednesday, May 20, and later on Saturday at a graduation ceremony at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Kenyan professor Makau Mutua is dean of faculty of law at the university. Mr Odinga will deliver a lecture entitled, Governance and Democratic Transition in Africa.

“Hosting Prime Minister Odinga and conferring honorary degrees to Irene Khan, a leader of the international human rights movement, and Mason Davis, a champion of civil rights in America, is a testament to the UB Law School’s strong tradition of teaching and scholarship in human rights law,” said Prof Mutua

Mr Odinga’s visit comes at a time when Kenya is being watched keenly by Washington over the implementation of the National Accord that ended the 2007 post-election violence.

Mr Johnnie Carson, the US assistant secretary of state for African affairs, was in Kenya last week and met President Kibaki and Mr Odinga.

Mr Carson, a former US ambassador in Nairobi, said there were “enormous concerns” in Washington that the grand coalition government appeared lethargic, and that the Accord was not being implemented fully.

“Washington’s fear is that failure to implement the Accord could undermine Kenya’s political stability,” Mr Carson said.

Washington is also concerned by the spate of extrajudicial killings and impunity, he said. He asked the government to implement critical reforms to ensure the country did not experience violence again.

“You know how strongly people feel about Kenya. If there is another crisis here, it would be enormously devastating. If the country does not make economic progress, there could be more violence in the next elections,” he said. “To have economic progress, you must have political stability and punish impunity.”

Mr Carson observed that Mr Odinga had a long history of fighting for democracy, including serving jail terms for his beliefs, and asked him (Mr Odinga) to stand up for Kenyans.

"This cannot be the democracy you fought for when people are being killed by the State. It cannot be what you went to detention for...” Mr Carson told Mr Odinga.



Submitted by nmjoe
Posted May 17, 2009 02:55 PM
Nobody here even know who raila is.In the US foreign leaders come and go unnoticed.Meanwhile the white house has just announced Obama will be visiting Ghana. Kenya features nowhere in american policy

Submitted by SJ502
Posted May 16, 2009 11:10 PM
However, there will be no red carpets and special bathrooms in USA. Everybody gets to be treated equally there... and tough questions will be asked on the going ons at home!

Submitted by kiambidm
Posted May 16, 2009 10:36 PM
What a contradiction? Prof Makau Mutua has made it clear in his writings that there is no love lost between him and Raila, and yet invite him to deliver a talk on governance? Clarify these issues please, Prof. Mutua before you lose your credibility!