Big names in Raila week-long US tour

Written by on 19 April 2022

Former Cabinet Ministers Martha Karua and Dr Sally Kosgei are among the high-profile leaders scheduled to accompany Azimio La Umoja-One Kenya Alliance presidential hopeful Raila Odinga on his tour to the United States.

Raila is scheduled to begin his week-long tour on Friday with the first stop-over being in Washington DC, where he will have an engagement with the Black Congressional Caucus before heading to Silicon Valley in San Francisco, California.

Also accompanying Raila are Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and his Kisii counterpart James Ongwae, Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang and Kathiani MP Robert Mbui.

The ODM leader is expected back in the country on April 29 to continue with his presidential campaigns.

His tour comes just a month after Raila toured the United Kingdom, where he met senior UK government officials, addressed some caucuses and met Kenyans in diaspora.

In February, Raila visited India and held talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.

International visits

In the same month, Deputy President William Ruto was also in the US, where he held talks with Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts and other US government officials.

Ruto also spoke at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, and at the University of Arizona’s Washington Entrepreneurship Hub.

The trips underscore the importance of the international community in the State House race.

They are also coming at a time when Kenyans in 12 diaspora countries are expected to vote. The US alongside the UK, Canada, South Sudan, Qatar, UAE and Germany are some of the countries where Kenyans will vote for the first in the presidential election on August 9. The seven countries join Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Africa that participated in the 2017 election.

According to Prof Macharia Munene, a former lecturer at the United States International University (USIU)-Africa and a political analyst, the two leading presidential aspirants have been making international visits and giving talks at respected think tanks to gain international acceptability.

“Though their role in Kenyan elections is indirect, they still play a significant part and that is why you have been seeing the two leading aspirants rushing to enumerate their policies to those think tanks and Kenyans in diaspora,” says Munene.

Sources at Raila’s office told the People Daily that the former premier may also have an opportunity to meet senior US State officials during his tour.

Sources say that the inclusion of Dr Kosgei, a one time Head of the Civil Service during former President Daniel arap Moi’s government, and an accomplished scholar on international relations, amplifies the significance that Raila has placed the role of the international community and Kenyans in the diaspora in his presidential campaigns.

This would be Karua’s first major international tour in the company of Raila since she joined the Azimio La Umoja-One Kenya alliance early last month.

The tour also comes at a time the alliance is rocked by fresh demands from former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka’s Wiper party that is agitating for the position of the Deputy President.

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