The battle for political supremacy in Kenya is now being played out on the diplomatic turf as Raila Odinga and the ruling Jubilee party respond to a joint statement by 11 ambassadors including of the United States and the United Kingdom, on the prevailing tensions in the country.
Over the weekend, the ambassadors of Finland, Norway, Denmark, Australia, France, Netherlands, Sweden, Canada, Germany, United Kingdom and the United States issued a joint statement urging the Uhuru Kenyatta led government and the opposition led by Odinga to uphold democratic values.
They urged the government to ‘comply fully with court orders and protect all democratic institutions’, while the opposition ‘must accept the decision of the Supreme Court to uphold the election of October 26’ and accept ‘Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto as the legitimate President and Deputy President of Kenya’.
We want to tell them in clear terms that Kenya is an independent country and the problems of Kenya will be solved by Kenyans themselves. They can only be, but observers.
Odinga responded to the statement on Sunday while addressing residents in the capital Nairobi whose houses were razed by a fire last month.
Odinga accused the international community of serving self interests when they endorsed the August 8 and October 26 elections last year.
He advised the ambassadors to allow Kenyans solve their problems and stick to their role as ‘observers’.
“We want to tell them in clear terms that Kenya is an independent country and the problems of Kenya will be solved by Kenyans themselves. They can only be, but observers,” said Odinga.
Jubilee party applauds statement
Leaders from the ruling Jubilee party however welcomed the concerns of the foreign envoys that emphasised ‘recognition of Uhuru Kenyatta as the legitimately elected president of Kenya’.
Jubilee Party Secretary General Raphael Tuju, National Assembly Leader of Majority Aden Duale and Justice and other top party leaders said the envoys’ demands confirmed there was no place for the ‘people’s president’.
Raila Odinga ‘oath’ aftermath
The government of Kenya and the opposition have been at loggerheads since the January 30 symbolic inauguration of Odinga as the ‘people’s president’.
Opposition lawmakers have been arrested, had their passports and security detail withdrawn, the climax of which was the deportation of vocal lawyer Miguna Miguna to Canada.
Leading television stations were switched off the on the day of Odinga’s inauguration and government initially ignored court orders to reinstate their signals.
Odinga has also since called for fresh elections that he says should be held before August 2018.