13 October 2017

Kenya: Raila Odinga to Talk on Poll Row During His Visit to the UK

Photo: Laban Walloga/The Nation
Nasa leader Raila Odinga addresses a rally at Mama Ngina Drive in Mombasa on October 15, 2017.

Nasa leader Raila Odinga will on Friday afternoon give a lecture on the political situation in the country at a public forum in the UK.

Mr Odinga, who left the country for London on Wednesday night, will deliver the one-hour lecture titled "Kenya's Next Test: Democracy, Elections and the Rule of Law" at Chatham House in the English capital.

A statement signed by Mr Odinga's spokesman Dennis Onyango Thursday said the opposition chief would also hold talks with a host of UK politicians as well as the business community.

"Mr Odinga arrived in the UK today and is scheduled to meet leaders drawn from both within and outside government, business and politics," read the statement.

Early Thursday, Mr Odinga held talks with the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.

WISE COUNSEL

The talks, according to Mr Odinga's office, focused on the unfolding political situation in the country.

Mr Odinga posted a picture of himself and the head of the Anglican Church in the world on his Twitter account, saying: "I value greatly the wise counsel that Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, imparted when I paid a courtesy call on him this morning," read the tweet.

According to Mr Odinga's office, the archbishop, on whose request the meeting was held, expressed genuine worries about things in the country and wished Kenyans success in dealing with the challenges.

Mr Odinga also posted another picture of himself and former UN Deputy Secretary-General Lord Mark Brown with whom he held talks later in the day. "My meeting with former UN Deputy Secretary-General yielded valuable insights into Kenya's political situation," Mr Odinga stated.

ROY STEWART

Sources close to the Nasa leader revealed that he would also hold talks with the UK Minister of State for Africa Roy Stewart and former Secretary of State for International Development in the UK cabinet, Mr Andrew Mitchell.

The meetings, according to sources, will focus on his reasons for withdrawing from the October 26 repeat presidential election and his views on how the country can continue on the path of reforms.

The Nasa leader will also have a session with Kenyans living in the UK before flying back to the country on Saturday morning, according to Mr Onyango.

Mr Odinga's trip to the UK coincided with that of Nasa co-principal Kalonzo Musyoka who also flew out to the US on Wednesday night, just a day after they announced their withdrawal from the poll.

SURPRISE

Kitui Senator Enoch Wambua told the Nation Mr Musyoka was in the US to attend to what he termed a "personal matter" and will be back on Monday.

Mr Odinga's departure on Wednesday night caught many by surprise as it had been expected that he would travel on Thursday night.

Mr Odinga's adviser Salim Lone had said Mr Odinga would use the London forum to shed light on what he termed "diminishing space for free and fair elections in the country".

"He will be in London for a day-and-a-half," he said.

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