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Lawmaker Rejects Calls for Kenyan Leader’s Resignation

  • Peter Clottey

Kenya's Prime Minister Raila Odinga at the U.N. headquarters in New York, September 24, 2011.

Kenya's Prime Minister Raila Odinga at the U.N. headquarters in New York, September 24, 2011.

A leading member of the Orange Democratic Movement in Kenya’s coalition government has dismissed calls by a former advisor and opponents for the immediate resignation of prime minister Raila Odinga.

Ababu Namwamba, who is also a parliamentarian, said accusations being leveled against the prime minister are aimed at undermining Odinga’s credibility and popularity ahead of the next general election.

His comments came after Miguna Miguna, a former adviser to the prime minister, called for his resignation for what he says is Odinga’s abdication of his constitutional responsibilities. He also accused him of condoning graft.

But, ODM leading member Namwamba said the allegations should be rejected “with the contempt that it deserves.”

“We have information, and we have good reason to believe that Mr. Miguna is acting and working at the behest of the rivals of the prime minister who are determined to go to any extent to scuttle his presidential bid,” said Namwamba.

“It has been clear the kind of support he [Miguna] has received from within circles… desperate to paint the prime minister as bad… in the public eye,” he added.

In his newly released memoir, Miguna said he has evidence connecting senior officials of the prime minister’s ODM party to violence following elections in late 2008. The 30-day conflict left at least 1,300 people dead and over 600, 000 displaced.

Namwamba said Miguna is committing a crime under Kenyan law for refusing to divulge information necessary for the prosecution of alleged masterminds of the violence.

“In the Kenyan constitution, withholding evidence is a criminal offense. It amounts to aiding and abetting a criminal offense. And so the question is if Mr. Miguna is holding this evidence for crimes that were committed more than four years ago… what has been his motivation for withholding this evidence?” asked Namwamba.

“That is why it is our considered opinion that he has to be invited by the Kenyan security machinery to give this evidence, and he has to be invited by the ICC [International Criminal Court] to proffer this evidence, otherwise what he has done is sensationalism. It is fear mongering really and is something that should not go unpunished," said Namwamba.

Miguna left Kenya for Canada after launching his memoir and demanding the resignation of the prime minister. But Namwamba called for his extradition to provide the evidence he said he has about the post-election violence.

“He has sneaked out of the country which goes a long way to cast serious doubt not only about the veracity of his claims but also on the character of this man,” said Namwamba.

“I will urge the Kenyan authorities to extradite him back to Kenya so that he can take responsibility for his utterances and his publication.”