US President Barack Obama Sunday reprimanded an opposition leader for asking the US government to do things to Jubilee that he opposed when he served in government.
“There is an opposition leader who asked me to do more and force the Kenya government to certain things. But I reminded the leader that he opposed this kind of intervention when he was in government. Was he just raising these things because he is in opposition?” Obama wondered.
Obama made this disclosure when he met representatives of civil society organisations and students at Kenyatta University shortly before he concluded his three-day visit to Kenya.
Obama had just met opposition leaders Raila Odinga, Moses Wetang’ula, Kalonzo Musyoka and Martha Karua at the VIP lounge in the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani before he headed to KU to meet the civil society groups.
President Obama did not name the opposition leader.
But in 2009 the then PM Raila Odinga cautioned the West against interfering in Kenyan affairs during an Africa Growth and Opportunity meeting in August 2009.
“Lecturing us on issues that deal with governance and transparency is in bad taste,” said the PM. Added Odinga: “The continent is still recovering from an era of dictatorship and tyrannical leadership that many African countries struggled hard to dislodge.
“We therefore don’t need lectures on how to govern ourselves… we only require lectures on how to trade not only with ourselves but with the rest of the world to enable us prosper,” Raila is quoted by Nation telling then US ambassador to Kenya Micheal Ranneberger.
In October 2009, Moses Wetang’ula, then minister for Foreign Affairs, lashed out at the US after it imposed a visa ban on a top government official. The official banned from entering the US was one of 15 the US has categorised as anti-reform. Wetang’ula, at a press conference, stated that the US should stop meddling in Kenya’s internal affairs and argued that the decision was a breach of diplomatic standards and the UN Charter.
The meeting between Obama and the opposition leaders yesterday touched on corruption and democracy, including electoral reforms.
The opposition presented the US leader with a memorandum of their wish list that sources said was on electoral reforms and alleged high-level corruption in government.
The meeting was held shortly after Obama’s public lecture at the Safaricom Arena Kasarani, where he urged Kenyans to stand firm and say “enough is enough” as regards high-level corruption.
Kalonzo after the meeting told the press that the opposition will this morning share with the nation the concerns they raised with the US leader.
Sources say the memo the opposition presented contained details of high-level corruption in the government.
“As the opposition we are very happy with the speech President Obama delivered to the nation asking Kenyans to say ‘enough is enough’ to corruption,” Kalonzo said, without elaborating.
“The speech was dear and it resonated well with we in the opposition about high-level corruption in government.”
He said in view of the speech President Obama delivered, they will this morning share with the rest of the country what is contained in their memorandum.
And on her Twitter account, Karua posted “Kwaheri ?@POTUS your visit brought learning and inspiration to all.”