Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga has slammed the Barack Obama administration, saying the US President has not helped Kenya, contrary to great expectations.
In an interview at Boston University, where he has been for the past two months, Raila said it was unfortunate that Obama refused to come to Kenya during his visit to Africa last year. Read The Interview Here
“It’s really unfortunate that Obama did not come to Kenya last year when he came to Africa. One hopes that he’ll come before his term is up. I would like to extend the invitation to him to come to Kenya. I think it would do Kenya good. He has his grandfather and stepfather here and, in their lifetimes, they really wish to receive one of their own while he is president,” said Raila.
The Cord leader added that Obama’s Kenyan heritage ought to have brought better tidings for Kenya once he became the president of the world’s most powerful nation.
“It should have been a good selling point for Kenya, but I don’t think it has given Kenyans an advantage as one might have expected. Maybe Kenya has also by extension inherited some of Obama’s enemies,” Raila said.
Obama has given Kenya a wide berth since he was elected America’s 44th President in November 2008.
During his first term, Obama made his first trip to Africa as president, visiting Ghana in 2009. After being reelected to serve his second and last term, Obama made a second trip to Africa last June, where he visited Senegal, Tanzania and South Africa. His term as US president will end on January 20, 2017.
Obama visited Kenya in 2006, shortly after he was elected to the Senate, but before he announced his 2008 run for the White House.
During the interview at Boston University African Presidential Centre, Raila expressed optimism that Obama will tour Kenya while still serving as president.
However, he noted that many Americans fear insecurity in East Africa and Africa generally. “I think this comes from the US State Department travel advisories, urging people not to visit what may be a dangerous destination for Americans. But I don’t think that one is safer in Chicago than in Nairobi.”
He added that despite the weaknesses that exist, the investment climate has improved substantially, particularly in Kenya and in East Africa generally. “That fact is not appreciated here in the United States,” said Raila.
On Kenyan politics, Raila said he is yet to decide if he wants to run for president again. He noted that after losing the last elections to the Jubilee team, he has been busy doing workshops, public speaking, studying and also teaching African politics.“I spend a lot of time at the library, reading.” noted Raila.
He also spoke on homosexuality, terming it “as old as humanity”.
– The Star