Just what exactly is former Prime Minister Raila Odinga up to asks the Kenya Forum, especially after the contradictory reports being witnessed in sections of the media?
RAILA – “I WILL – WILL NOT, COMMENT ON THE ICC”
The front page of The Star yesterday, for instance, ran the headline ‘RAILA TELLS OFF THE AU OVER HAGUE’, under which Raila was quoted as dismissing the African Union (AU) for its hard line stand in support of Kenyatta and Ruto over the ICC. “Africa must stop passing the buck and take responsibility for its own peace and development”, Raila was quoted as saying, adding that the anti- ICC crusade led by President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda was misplaced.
Contradicting what was reported in The Star, an article on page two of the Daily Nation under the headline ‘RAILA SAYS HE WONT ADDRESS ICC ISSUE’, stated that Raila had on Tuesday this week said that he would not publicly address the ICC indictments of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto during his visit to the United States. “I don’t want to discuss that’’,Mr Odinga was reported to have said during an interview with The Nation.
HAS RAILA SECRETLY BECOME PRESIDENT UHURUS’ SPECIAL ENVOY?
Raila has denied speculations that he is now Uhuru’s special envoy and refuted claims that he had requested the treasury to provide an additional Sh34 million for his travel expenses but as it emerges, during his trip in Washington, Raila was apparently chauffeured around in the Kenyan ambassador’s official car and his schedule is said to have been coordinated by the Embassy.
Raila’s visit to the US had been cited as crucial for Kenya especially since it came ahead of President Obama’s scheduled visit to Africa.
Kenya’s Prime Minister had been invited to address scholars and international policy enthusiasts in Washington, DC at an event organized by the Woodrow Wilson Centre, which is one of the most influential international policy think tanks in the US.
RAILA: KENYA-US RELATIONSHIP NOT DAMAGED BY ICC
In his address Raila Odinga maintained that he saw no signs of damage to the longstanding relationship between Kenya and the US and that he has been having talks to ensure that the US-Kenya relationship does not go sour as a result of the ICC cases.
That Raila Odinga is one of the few influential African leaders who possess an international clout, particularly in the West, even after losing the 2013 Presidency, is still quite evident. It would come as no surprise therefore for the Jubilee government to lure him on board as a key intermediary in mending the soured relation between Kenya and the US.
WHEN ONE DOOR CLOSES…
Perhaps this visit confirms Raila’s declaration that losing the Presidential race opened a window of opportunity for him to engage at a different level on behalf of Kenyans.
This issue notwithstanding, as Raila remarked sometime back, “kuvunjika kwa mwiko si mwisho wa kupika/when the cooking spoon breaks, it doesn’t signify the end of cooking”, and in his own words, losing the Presidential race has indeed opened a window of opportunity for him to engage at a different level on behalf of Kenyans.