Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Obama's Kenya Connection, Part I

A Washington Times article on Sunday, ("Obama's Kenya ghosts"), reveals that Barack Obama has close links to a Kenyan opposition leader, Raila Odinga. Odinga had the backing Kenya’s Muslim leaders in the presidential election last December, though he went on to lose by more than 230,000 votes. Within hours of the loss, Odinga’s supporters commenced murderous attacks on their countrymen, including a massacre of Christians in the village of Eldoret on New Year’s Day, 2008. Fifty Christians were locked into their Assemblies of God church and burned alive, or hacked to death by machetes if they attempted to escape the flames.

According to Mark Hyman:

By mid-February 2008, more than 1,500 Kenyans were killed. Many were slain by machete-armed attackers. More than 500,000 were displaced by the religious strife. Villages lay in ruin. Many of the atrocities were perpetrated by Muslims against Christians.

Who is Odinga? He’s a member of “Parliament representing an area in western Kenya, heavily populated by the Luo tribe, and the birthplace of Barack Obama's father.” He represented the Orange Democratic Movement Party in last year’s election against the winner, re-elected President Mwai Kibaki.

According to Hyman:

This was not Mr. Odinga's first brush with notoriety. Like his father, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, the main opposition leader in the 1960s and 1970s, Raila Odinga is a Marxist. He graduated from East Germany's Magdeburg University in 1970 on a scholarship provided by the East German government. He named his oldest son after Fidel Castro.

Raila Odinga was implicated in the bloody coup attempt in 1982 against then-President Daniel Arap Moi, a close ally of the United States. Kenya has been one of the most stable democracies in Africa since the 1960s. The ethnic cleansing earlier this year was the worst violence in Kenya since that 1982 coup attempt.

Mr. Odinga spent eight years in prison. At the time, he denied guilt but later detailed he was a coup leader in his 2006 biography. Statute of limitations precluded further prosecution when the biography appeared.

Someone else backing him was Barack Obama. Dating back to 2004, Obama has had several personal meetings with Odinga here in the U.S. Then in 2006 Obama traveled to Kenya for six days to actively campaign on behalf of Odinga. Not surprising, Obama’s stump speech for Odinga included declarations that “Kenyans are now yearning for change.”

Obama denied that his reason for going to Kenya was to boost Odinga's campaign, "but his actions and local media reports tell otherwise."

Odinga also tried to deceive the public about his strong Muslim backing:

Mr. Odinga had the backing of Kenya's Muslim community heading into the election. For months he denied any ties to Muslim leaders, but fell silent when Sheik Abdullahi Abdi, chairman of the National Muslim Leaders Forum, appeared on Kenya television displaying a memorandum of understanding signed on Aug. 29, 2007, by Mr. Odinga and the Muslim leader. Mr. Odinga then denied his denials.

The details of the MOU were shocking. In return for Muslim backing, Mr. Odinga promised to impose a number of measures favored by Muslims if he were elected president. Among these were recognition of "Islam as the only true religion," Islamic leaders would have an "oversight role to monitor activities of ALL other religions [emphasis in original]," installation of Shariah courts in every jurisdiction, a ban on Christian preaching, replacement of the police commissioner who "allowed himself to be used by heathens and Zionists," adoption of a women's dress code, and bans on alcohol and pork.

President Kibaki attempted to meet with all opposition leaders in January 2008 in an effort to bring an end to the post-election violence. Odinga refused to attend. Eventually, Odinga’s campaign of violent opposition was rewarded when President Kibaki offered him the Prime Minister office—the No. 2 spot—in his government, in exchange for an end to the attacks. Odinga was sworn in this April 2008.

Continued . . . .

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