I’m not dying to visit the West, Raila Odinga says

Raila Odinga

Azimio leader Raila Odinga addresses a rally in Kitale town on February 26, 2023.

Photo credit: Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group

Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga has said he is not afraid of being banned from visiting any country overseas as long as they agree with the fact that Kenya’s problems must be fixed by Kenyans.

He said calls by Kenya Kwanza to the West and allied countries to ban him from stepping foot in their countries are acts of cowardice and mere hot air.

Speaking in Kitale town on Sunday, Mr Odinga said he doesn’t care if he will be banned from visiting any overseas country as is being agitated by the President William Ruto administration.  
“Article 34 of the Constitution gives Kenyans the freedom to express themselves and to picket and we shall fight for our rights whether they like it or not,” he said.
He told Western countries not to listen to such calls and that they should first ask themselves if those making such calls are legitimately in power.

IEBC servers

“Why are they afraid of having the IEBC servers opened? They know what is in those servers and the truth is we won the election free and square” he said.
He said his main objective is to have electoral injustices ended and ensure the will of the people is respected.

“We respect our friendly countries. We have had and shall continue having a cordial relationship with our friends, but they should also know that our internal affairs must be dealt with by ourselves,” he added.

He vowed not to back down until his victory is given back to him. This comes after President Ruto’s administration said it wants the West to impose sanctions, including a travel ban, against the opposition leader over his calls for mass action and rejection of his election win.

Destabilising the government

Legislators and politicians allied to the Kenya Kwanza administration have revealed a raft of actions that they want the United States, the United Kingdom and western countries to take against Mr Odinga, whom they accuse of destabilising the government.

Similar travel and economic restrictions have in the past proved to be effective in softening political hardliners who fear losing access to their overseas investments and access to advanced healthcare.

The government wants Mr Odinga banned from travelling to friendly Western nations should he proceed with his plans for mass action intended to force President Ruto out of office.

Mr Odinga has previously staged mass protests that have paralysed economic activity and caused loss of lives, forcing sitting governments into power-sharing negotiations, ceding ground to policy and legal reforms, as well as creating room for negotiated political solutions.

Mr Odinga on Wednesday announced that he will lead mass protests in 14 days if the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition’s demands for changes in the formula for choosing Independent IEBC members and lowering the cost of living are not honoured by the government.