Kenya: BBI Team Will Deliver Needed Reforms, Says Odinga

Opposition leader Raila Odinga used his address at Chatham House in the UK to drum up support for the Building Bridges Initiative.

Mr Odinga, who spoke on the role of former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in mediation process that ended the 2007 post-election violence in Kenya, told the international community that the BBI will unite Kenyans and heal the nation from past injustices.

TRIBAL ANIMOSITY

"Dr Kofi Annan, who led the negotiations in 2007, gave recommendations on how Kenya can avoid tribal animosity during elections. Most of his recommendations have not been implemented. But we certain that the Building Bridges Initiative taskforce will come up with a roadmap on how to end tribal divisions," said Mr Odinga.

The 14 persons BBI team was formed following the famous May 9, 2018 handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Mr Odinga.

The Garissa Senator Yusuf Haji-led taskforce has been going round counties gathering views on policy and administrative reform proposals and is expected to handover a comprehensive report by October 23.

Mr Odinga rekindled horrific memories of 2007 post-election violence when he narrated how Kenyans turned on each other immediately after President Mwai Kibaki was announced winner of the presidential polls.

FAKE NEWS

"The chaos prompted UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown to call me at night asking me if I needed to be reconciled with Kibaki. I agreed.

"At first the Kibaki side rejected Annan until Mr Brown intervened," said Mr Odinga.

He narrated how Annan 'forced' Kibaki to agree on the contentious issues on the role of prime minister in the coalition government when they met at Harambee House.

The opposition chief also revisited the issue of fake news and how it was used to derail the 2017 polls.

The ODM leader cited the British consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, which he accused of spreading hate messages to tarnish his name during the 2017 polls.

NEGATIVE STORIES

"I have been a victim of these fake news. The international community has failed to rein in them," Raila told participants at Chatham House.

"Cambridge Analytica were running a platform where anytime you opened a page you would see my photo there with very negative stories. Once the campaigns were over, you could not see those pages, making it difficult to seek legal redress."

Raila said Cambridge Analytica, which specialises in data analysis, helped hijack Kenya's democracy.

The former premier asserted that social media outlets - Facebook, Twitter and even Google - facilitated the work of outfits such as Cambridge Analytica, and therefore were complicit in poisoning democracies.

The conference is in honour of the legacy of former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan.

WRONG RESULTS

Mr Odinga also lashed out at international observers of doing shoddy job.

He said during the 2017 elections in Kenya, the international observers ignored complaints raised by the opposition.

"We raised concerns that wrong results were being aired but the observers ignored and gave the election a clean bill of health," said Mr Odinga.

From London, Mr Odinga will travel to St. Petersburg, Russia for the St. Petersburg Economic Conference at the invitation of the Russian government.

He is expected to address Russia-Africa Business Dialogue forum on challenges and opportunities in global energy sector.

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