Raila: Kenya is hurtling to­wards dic­ta­tor­ship

The East African - - NEWS - By KEVIN J KEL­LEY Spe­cial Correspondent

OP­PO­SI­TION LEADER Raila Odinga de­liv­ered a de­fi­ant and ag­grieved ad­dress on Thurs­day at a Wash­ing­ton think tank, warn­ing that Kenya is hurtling into out­right dic­ta­tor­ship.

He said Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta has no in­ten­tion of re­lin­quish­ing power through demo­cratic elec­tions.

The Nasa chief also charged that the Keny­atta ad­min­is­tra­tion has em­barked on “a reign of ter­ror.”

In­no­cent civil­ians have been killed dur­ing peace­ful protests in re­cent weeks, he said, ad­ding that the Ju­bilee gov­ern­ment has sought to in­tim­i­date the In­de­pen­dent Elec­toral and Bound­aries Com­mis­sion and Kenya’s Supreme Court.

Mr Odinga gave a 90-minute speech and ques­tion-and-an­swer ses­sion at the Cen­tre for Strate­gic and In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies.

Not­ing that the Kenyan pres­i­dency has been dom­i­nated by two eth­nic com­mu­ni­ties through­out the coun­try’s 55 years of In­de­pen­dence, Mr Odinga said “the big­gest prob­lem in Kenya now is ex­clu­sion.”

As a re­sult of dom­i­na­tion by “a pow­er­ful elite,” some Kenyans are be­gin­ning to ad­vo­cate se­ces­sion for their re­gions, he ob­served. But Mr Odinga did not en­dorse those calls, in­stead de­scrib­ing talk of se­ces­sion on the Coast as “dan­ger­ous.”

In com­ments lack­ing of­fers of com­pro­mise and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion, Mr Odinga also had harsh words for the US gov­ern­ment.

He pointed to the “dis­ap­point­ing role of our part­ners” in fail­ing to con­demn the con­duct of the Au­gust elec­tions and the new round of vot­ing last month.

De­spite the un­com­pro­mis­ing tone of his re­marks, Mr Odinga of­fered as­sur­ance that “not all is lost.”

He re­it­er­ated his call for fresh elec­tions within 90 days un­der the aus­pices of a re­formed elec­toral body.

But Mr Odinga gave a dis­mis­sive re­sponse to a ques­tion about pos­si­bly ac­cept­ing a power-shar­ing ar­range­ment with Pres­i­dent Keny­atta.

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