Kenya’s Prime Minister Raila Odinga has delivered a stiff admonition about the deepening humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe. Speaking Sunday in Nairobi, Odinga called for the immediate authorization of an African Union force to be sent to Zimbabwe. He warned that if no AU troops are available, a UN force should enter Zimbabwe to rescue hundreds of people being infected by cholera and dying of starvation. Sanitation and health care facilities in the southern African country have sharply deteriorated in the past four months, leaving close to 600 dead. From Nairobi, journalist Alex Chamwada of Kenya’s Citizen-TV says that Prime Minister Odinga’s remarks went far beyond his own personal views and clearly represented the views of his government.
“The timing for having issued the statement calling on the international community to intervene, calling for force where necessary, it’s had international ramifications. One is Prime Minister Raila Odinga, is an international figure now, and he’s a key player in the Kenyan government. And when he speaks, he’s speaking government policy. And it’s been well received among Kenyans. Kenyans are saying,’Zimbabwe has for a long time been abandoned by the international community.’ People have been wondering how come, when it happens to Kenya in the election crisis, everyone was coming to Kenya, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. How about Zimbabwe? Why is it being abandoned? So this statement from the Prime Minister Raila Odinga speaks volumes, not just in Kenya, but in the international community at large,” he said.