US re­grets Raila move to exit poll

Daily Nation (Kenya) - - NATIONAL NEWS - BY KEVIN J KELLEY In New York

A state depart­ment of­fi­cial said yes­ter­day that the US re­spects but re­grets Nasa leader Raila Odinga’s an­nounced in­ten­tion to with­draw from the sched­uled Oc­to­ber 26 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

Re­spond­ing to a Na­tion query, the of­fi­cial also said Mr Odinga was wel­come to visit the US con­trary to some me­dia re­ports early in the week that he had been de­nied a visa to the US.

That claim was at­trib­uted in re­ports to State House di­rec­tor of dig­i­tal com­mu­ni­ca­tions Den­nis Itumbi.

Asked whether Mr Odinga had been blocked from vis­it­ing, the state depart­ment of­fi­cial said, “It is our un­der­stand­ing that noth­ing pre­vents Raila Odinga from get­ting on a plane and fly­ing to the United States.”

Mr Odinga is in Lon­don, where he is ex­pected to give an ad­dress to­day at Chatham House, Royal In­sti­tute of In­ter­na­tional Af­fairs.

In its email mes­sage to the Na­tion, the state depart­ment re­it­er­ated that the US does “not back any party or can­di­date in Kenya. We re­main com­mit­ted to sup­port­ing a free, fair and cred­i­ble elec­tion that is con­sis­tent with Kenya’s Con­sti­tu­tion, cur­rent laws, and in­sti­tu­tions.”

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