Is Raila’s USA Tour a ‘badge of honour’?

Tanzania’s Government rises above partisan domestic & regional politics to prove it is.

Hon Sumaye, Hon Odinga in Boston, together with Tanzanian US Embassy officials, flanked by Ambassador Charles Stith, Director of the African Presidential Centre at Boston University

Hon Sumaye, Hon Odinga in Boston, together with Tanzanian US Embassy officials, flanked by Ambassador Charles Stith, Director of the African Presidential Centre at Boston University

It is absurd to note the indifference exhibited by Kenya Government towards the honour shown to the country whose former Prime Minister Raila Odinga was invited on lengthy study tour coordinated by the African Presidential Centre at the Boston University in Massachusetts, USA.

The Tanzanian government has welcomed the fact that their former Prime Minister the Rt. Hon Frederick Sumaye was also similarly invited as his Kenyan counterpart. They went further and Tanzanian Ambassador in Washington actually attached a permanent diplomatic entourage led by the first officer to accompany their former PM at all official engagements, an acknowledgement of the significance the Tanzanian government views the invitation, and the potential benefits it carries for all Tanzanians.

It so happened that whenever diplomatic intervention was required for Hon Sumaye, the Tanzanian First Officer had to act for both his country’s former PM and Kenya’s former PM. For those in the know, diplomatic protocol can make a big difference in a foreign country.

The Kenyan government on the other hand, despite Hon Raila telephoning President Uhuru and informing him the background and the meaning of the tour, has shown no interest and the Kenyan Ambassador Jean Njeri Kamau has shown no interest whatsoever in the fact that a former prime minister of Kenya is in USA invited in that official capacity.

The Kenya government refuses to accept that the Prime Minister’s tour is an honour to Kenya and can work to improve Kenya’s battered image abroad as well as spur American tourism and other forms of trade into Kenya.

RELATED: US centre defends Raila invitation as ‘badge of honour’

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By phil Posted in kenya

5 comments on “Is Raila’s USA Tour a ‘badge of honour’?

  1. Adongo,
    You are completely right about the embassies. They have a poor history which has refused to go away. There are some ambassadors who try all they can to rise above this but majority are serving their pockets dont want anything to do with Kenyans citizens.

    But here is the ICC nigtmare that is eating into the current administration.

    Read more at: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?articleID=2000109047&story_title=icc-nightmare-has-robbed-kenya-of-its-western-allies

  2. Mmm,,,why bring issues of ICC in this matter???
    Secondly,,,Raila Odinga went to the US,,the
    way he does all the time, on his own.

    Did Uhuru Kenyatta stop him? No.

    So, how is Uhuru frustrating Raila Odinga????

    • Silas Kiema,
      Are you telling us that if you go abroad on your own then the embassy should not assist you?

      Are you also telling us that Raila is not a VIP and should not be treated as one therefore?

      Could you explain to me the work of our missions abroad if extending diplomatic niceties is not.

      The ICC is obviously a problem for the so called dynamic duo and that’s one of the reasons Kenya is sliding into the bottomless pit of poverty. How I wish we did not have the charges of murder, rape, deportation and torture on the heads of our principals. But again wishes are not horses.

  3. I find it a little ridiculous that Uhuru is doing all in his power to intimidate and frustrate Raila. The former PM is obviously a good will ambassador who is restoring some amount of confidence and trying to repair the tattered image of Kenya out there.

    Truth of the matter is that the ICC issue has completely put the do called dynamic duo out of step with the western countries. No Western leader would like to be associated with the two. Even taking a picture with them is a NO NO. This would be frustrating to any president. Its akin to being ejected from a members only club that you have paid members fee.
    Let’s all congratulate the FLOKE for finishing the London marathon. That was great at 50 years of age.

    Uhuru Kenyatta was in London to cheer the FLOKE. Interestingly he did not meet his counterpart the PM of Britain. The only government official he met was some MP. There is no way on earth a president would go to another country and fail being met by his counterpart there. This goes to show the kind of cold shoulder the dynamic duo have continued receiving from the western countries.
    They have tried the cold war tactics of going EAST to make the WEST come to them without success. Truth be told, Kenya need that west and cannot entirely rely on countries such as China. That’s what the duo have realized and are now doing everything under the sun to be embraced.
    It is against this background that one should see why they want to frustrate Raila. They are simply saying; if we are not invited by the west, Raila should not be. And if we are treated with disdain by the west, we will not extend any good treatment to Raila while he is in those countries. So while Tanzania embassy offers it’s former PM the status he deserves and even extends the same to the Kenyan former PM our own embassy does not care.

    It is this kind of behaviour from Kenyan missions abroad that have seen its citizens shun the embassies and only visit when they must renew their passports. Many a times the embassies have been used to spy on Kenyans than assist them. They have been ethicized and do not serve the interest of all Kenyans. If they can treat former PM so shabbily what about an ordinary Kenyan? When the former PM visits eg South Africa, Tanzania etc he is given a VIP reception, when he leaves or enters Kenyan he is treated like one who never served as PM and sacrificed so much for the country.

    • mzee,

      Kenyan missions abroad are a big embarrassment to Kenyan citizens. There is a reason for that. It is our history. For decades in the 80′s and 90′s Kenyan missions were operating like the Special Branch abroad. Here in Canada we got one Kenyan High Commissioner Mr. Nyamweya recalled by Moi because we held demonstrations against Moi in the High Commission offices and Moi got pissed that the government of Canada allowed us to do that. He complained and they told him to f off. So he recalled the High Commissioner in protest and we kept protesting against the dictator.

      There was a time embassy officials would visit students at York University particularly, here in Toronto and warn them never to meet or listen to Kenyan exiles in the city and never go to any event organized by them.

      Things only changed after 2002 Narc victory. The problem is the mindset of staff in these missions have never changed. They locked themselves up in those offices, hustle for money and are never involved with their communities. They seem terrified by the citizens of their country. We don’t miss them. When they bring trouble we just go the office and kick them.

      So I am not surprised that the Kenyan embassy staff in the US cannot comprehend that having Raila around can actually open some doors for them.

      The cold shoulder on Raila is part of the ugly background of our missions abroad. And of course it is Raila who drives people like Uhuru nuts just by being alive. But an occasion like this embassy staff should grab with two hands. We have issues with the US development agencies. Uhuru and his nut case security chaps have been fighting USAID in the name of paranoia and pettiness. Those folks do a whole lot of work down there. We need to mend those fences.

      Like I posted here before the Atlanta based Centre for Disease Control (CDC) which runs health facilities that actually work and they employ thousands of people across the country are switching their operations to Tanzania. There is a concerted effort to make them move their headquarters to Dar but keep running the projects they currently have in Kenya. In Nyanza they build their headquarters in Kisian and it is fantastic. But they operate in every county and are very innovative. We need to talk to the big folks running these things.

      These are the kind of things that the embassy officials should be briefing Raila and on and asking him to raise these issues and give them connections. These are doable things but at least you need some smarts and not bring tired tribal nonsense from Kenya. I also think Raila should have brought with him some of the good people down there working on these things.

      Raila’s close friend Oduor Ong’wen is a veteran and expert worker on development institutions and structures in East Africa. Bring a guy like that around and set some side meetings for them. I hope they are doing something like that. Our old soldier Job is there in Washington and he is as smart as they come on these things. They should have tapped on the expertise of people like that. We will find out.

      In the meantime Uhuru has to deal with his ICC nightmare:

      http://www.nation.co.ke/news/politics/ICC-orders-Kenya-to-report-on-Uhuru-wealth/-/1064/2282698/-/6xqdrdz/-/index.html

      The trouble with ICC is that they never relent. It goes on and on and eventually if you slip, your behind is in jail. There is a reason people are terrified of the ICC. Uhuru’s claim that the Kenyan laws prohibit him from disclosing his money movements is pure rubbish. Just a few days ago the CID was boasting how they had grabbed 20 bank accounts that they thought was being used to finance terrorism in Kenya. Many of those people whose accounts are being grabbed are Kenyans and the law does not prohibit law enforcement people from grabbing their accounts. Uhuru and Ruto are accused of killing thousands more people than these people. That was mass terrorism.

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