Raila Odinga vows deeper ties with US if elected

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition flagbearer Raila Odinga.

Photo credit: Jeff Angote | Nation Media Group

By Justus Ochieng’

Azimio la Umoja presidential flag-bearer Raila Odinga has concluded his visit to the United States with a promise to deepen existing bilateral cooperation.

Mr Odinga visited the State Department, where he held two-hour talks with Molly Phee, the assistant secretary of state for African affairs.

He commended the US government for its investment in health in Kenya.

“He notified the US government that he will be seeking their help to roll out radical reforms to the health sector, particularly the ‘Babacare’ programme if elected President,” read a statement from the ODM leader’s spokesperson Dennis Onyango.

Mr Odinga and Ms Phee reviewed the extensive bilateral strategic and global partnership between Kenya and the US and pledged to continue enhancing cooperation so as to improve the lives of citizens of both countries and the rest of the global community.

Ms Phee briefed Mr Odinga on the five core areas of Kenya-US bilateral cooperation: economic prosperity, trade and investment; defence; democracy, governance, and civilian security; multilateral and regional issues; and health.

“Noting that the multifaceted partnership between the United States and Kenya is rooted in shared values of democracy and strong economic and people-to-people cooperation and good governance, Mr Odinga promised to lead a strong campaign for democracy in Africa and lead a campaign against corruption in Kenya.”

On the August 9 General Election in Kenya, the two leaders agreed on the need for peace in the run-up to, during and after the polls.

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“Mr Odinga said he would not want to be an impediment to the march of democratisation in Kenya and pledged to do everything within his power to ensure peaceful elections,” Mr Onyango said.

The former Prime Minister, he noted, informed the US government that he intends to continue with the push started by President Uhuru Kenyatta for the inclusion of environment and climate change, financial services, and education, research and technology among the pillars of Kenya-US cooperation.

Recognising the important role that both countries play in promoting peace, stability and security in the Horn of Africa, the two leaders agreed to work closely in the war against terrorism, border and maritime security and environmental protection, he said.

Mr Odinga was joined at the State Department meeting by former head of Public Service Sally Kosgey, Prof Makau Mutua and MP Robert Mbui, the deputy minority leader in the National Assembly.

Mr Odinga later held a meeting at the White House with the National Security Council senior adviser for Africa, Dana Banks, and agreed on the need for peaceful elections in Kenya.

The former Prime Minister expressed confidence that he would win the elections and pledged to respect the outcome even if he loses. But he emphasised that he is going into the election to win.

At the meeting, Ms Banks said the US government is working to secure humanitarian assistance for those affected by drought and famine in the Horn of Africa. She also promised support for Kenya’s election process.

Mr Odinga was accompanied by governors Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega) and James Ongwae (Kisii), Dr Kosgey and Narc-Kenya leader Martha Karua.

Mr Odinga cut short his trip to the US early yesterday and was expected back in Kenya Wednesday evening to join his compatriots for the burial of former President Mwai Kibaki.

Source Nation Kenya

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